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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Official Says Law Doesn't Cover Gays

Official Says Law Doesn't Cover Gays: "If a federal manager fires, reassigns or takes some other action against an employee simply because that employee is gay, there is nothing in federal law that would permit the Office of Special Counsel to protect the worker, Bloch testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs subcommittee on oversight of government management, the federal workforce and the District of Columbia. 'We are limited by our enforcement statutes as Congress gives them,' Bloch said, responding to a question from Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.). 'The courts have specifically rejected sexual orientation as a class protection.'"
One is struck by the possibility that Mr. Bloch is really as badly educated as he appears. The very idea that he is limited as he indicates is to completely disregard the existence of administrative law. Suppose that the man is truly limited in this fashion, but if so, why has no one noticed before now? The Office of Special Counsel has been working along these lines for years and suddenly, here comes a new way of understanding law? As I understand it from my layman's view, there are three branches of law: statutory, administrative and common. The first is established by statute, or law, passed by the legislature. The latter is law as determined by the judiciary as they move between the statutes and the Constitution. The middle term is the law of the administrative branch as it seeks to implement many of the more general edicts passed by the legislature.
Congressman Barney Frank: "Congressman Barney Frank today expressed his outrage at the blatant refusal of President Bush's appointee to the Office of Special Counsel, Scott Bloch, to carry out the policy that President Bush has publicly proclaimed of protecting federal employees against discrimination based on their sexual orientation. Mr. Bloch had previously raised doubts about his willingness to do this, but in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on the federal workforce, he made clear that he planned simply to disregard the President's commitment to fairness in the federal workplace. 'Many of us who disagree with President Bush on a wide range of issues were pleased when he announced that he would adhere to the policy set forward by President Clinton to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workforce,' Frank said. 'In fact, when this policy was challenged after its promulgation by President Clinton in 1998, the House voted by a 252 to 176 majority to affirm it. President Bush's continuation of this policy marked an important step in establishing a consensus on basic fairness in the United States. What Scott Bloch has done now is to shatter this agreement that employment in the federal workforce should be based solely on merit, and he has also unfortunately raised questions about the sincerity of President Bush's commitment, since he is a Bush appointee to the position which enforces this. It is essential that the President act promptly to do what is necessary to see that the policy he has announced is in fact enforced by his appointee.'"

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