This past Tuesday at noon the General Services Committee heard the presentation of both Tony Stewart and Christie Wood with the Human Rights Task Force as they proposed that the City of Coeur d'Alene adopt an anti-discrimination ordinance that would endorse the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender agenda. At the same meeting I gave the following 15 arguments. I wanted all of you to see these items before the City Council votes on the ordinance.
I would like to say that I do not believe Coeur d'Alene is a racist, bigoted, or homophobic city. Nor am I! I believe we should love all people equally and give the same respect due to every resident that we would like from others.
The proposed ordinance does not give equal rights to all. It protects the "so-called" rights of one group at the expense of others.
Here are a few points to consider:
1) Passing this ordinance will send a message to the city and the surrounding areas that we are or were a discriminating city.
Recently we were asked about our discrimination policies by the Western Orthopedic Association. President, Dr. Ellen Raney sent a letter this past April to Mayor Sandi Bloem asking for information that points to local efforts to promote the inclusion of racial and ethnic diversity. She successfully gained the opportunity to host the event without this newly proposed ordinance.
Our city has been successfully recovering from the reputation of being a racist community. Mayor Bloem told the Cd'A Press that she is grateful that stigma which North Idaho has been associated with has been overcome. She also added, "I feel grateful this community has taken a strong message against hate and bigotry."
The request for this ordinance will revive the national stigma associated with North Idaho.
2) This ordinance imposes upon the rights of one party or group in order to provide rights to another group or person, and therefore does not protect the rights of all people groups in Cd'A.
The 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America protects religious freedom, and "...prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion," or "impeding the free exercise of religion..."
The 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States says, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States..." and in the "Due Process Clause," the United States Supreme Court in Meyer vs. Nebraska declared that United States citizens are free "to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally to enjoy those privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men."
Applied to the Christian for example, I would point out that Christians are not to be "unequally yoked" (2 Corinthians 6:14). This ordinance would force a violation of the Christian standard and conscience by forcing the Christian citizen to submit to a law requiring the employment of, or housing of persons of conflicting values. This is a violation of our Constitutional rights.
The proponents will suggest that the ordinance will protect "religious institutions", however, I will point out that it does not protect the rights of individual "religious" citizens.
3) This ordinance violates the religious freedom of individual citizens, from at minimum, the three major world religions causing those very citizens to violate their rights of conscience and good faith in their religious faith.
It is not the place of the State or City to force a morality - or immorality - upon society. There may come a day when another group, for instance, a religious group may come and demand that we enforce their "morality." For example: Islam and their Sharia Law.
4) This ordinance overlooks the Idaho Statute Title 18 (Crimes and Punishments), Chapter 66 (Sex Crimes 18-6605) that clearly states, "Every person who is guilty of the infamous crime against nature, committed with mankind or with any animal, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not less than five years."
This law has been supported and is in effect per the, "Idaho Statutes and Constitutions" updated to the web July 1 each year. This statute is current through the 2012 legislative session.
To define "against nature" I will cite Romans 1:26-27. It says, "God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise, also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful..."
According to the Idaho Supreme Court an "infamous crime against nature" is defined to include anal sex, and sex with an animal.
Although the United States Supreme Court in the 2003 case Lawrence vs. Texas struck down the sodomy law in Texas and, by extension, invalidated sodomy laws in 13 other states. This ruling does not mean that sodomy laws are gone. The law itself remains on the books in Idaho and is still used to enforce "infamous crimes against nature" related to bestiality, public homosexual sex, et al. The fact that the law itself remains as Idaho law is cause enough to disallow this proposed ordinance. It is in contradiction to Idaho law.
This week's Cd'A Press article about our own Sheriff's Department's discontinuation of support for their Boy Scout Troop highlights the hypocrisy of this ordinance. Will our city council endorse an ordinance that directly contradicts Idaho State law?
5) This ordinance creates the potential for more lawsuits, fines, and imprisonment, thus burdening the community, our court systems and incarceration facilities.
6) This ordinance will add additional burden to our law enforcement personnel and associated departments by requiring police enforcement of the ordinance.
7) This ordinance moves our city, and culture from so called toleration to endorsement of what is considered "against nature", and tears away at the traditional model of sexuality established from the foundations of the world, and that which is naturally understood by the procreative result of sexual union.
8) This ordinance moves the State of Idaho one step closer to endorsing same sex marriage. Marriage is and should be defined as the union of one man and one woman. This has been the model since the beginning of time.
9) This ordinance will bring unintended consequences that may provide serious health complications.
Example: A friend recently donated plasma and several of the health screening questions were intended to isolate behavior that might make one's plasma unusable. Questions included concerns about blood transfusions, drug use, and piercings within a certain period of time, contact with prostitutes, etc. One of the revealing questions was whether you had had any sexual contact with another man even once in the course of your life. In other words - that it is unhealthy and therefore a risky activity. Good science recognizes this. This ordinance could make it a crime to ask this or other questions and would be the cause of health concerns to others in the community.
10) This ordinance creates a defendable opportunity for pedophiles to prey on young children of the opposite sex.
Example: The ordinance's gender identity and gender expression language would allow men to be able to use a woman's restroom (and vise versa) in "public accommodations" based upon their subjective sense of whether they are male or female allowing for male pedophiles to have a defense for using a girl's bathroom. The security of locker rooms, dressing rooms, bathrooms and other separate facilities are all compromised.
The locker room issue became a problem in the Stephen to Stephanie trans-sexual case in the late 1990s at our own Cd'A Police Department.
11) This ordinance fails to apply the same standards of desired generosity and hospitality to groups outside the LGBT community that don't share the same lifestyle choices and convictions.
Are the members of the LGBT community willing to honor our convictions to the same extent they want us to honor theirs?
12) A threat has been made that should this ordinance fail to pass there would be severe national repercussions negatively affecting Coeur d'Alene. Does this suggest that those pushing for this ordinance will bully the city should the ordinance fail to pass?
13) The Idaho State Legislature has declined to consider a similar statewide measure for seven years in a row. Is there wisdom in understanding why the legislators have made this decision? The legislators have taken a stand to hold into law the "crimes against nature" statute.
14) This ordinance will polarize the community and will create an ongoing backlash.
15) This ordinance has or will cause those who are non-supportive of the ordinance to be seen as an enemy of kindness. Indirectly, this is a form of intimidation. None of those who are non-supportive want to be viewed this way. Therefore many are willing to go along to protect themselves from the intimidating repercussions. This should not be the product of this ordinance or its promotion!
I ask that you consider these points and speak up against this proposed ordinance. This ordinance does not protect the rights of all. It protects the rights of a few at the expense of others.
Submitted with love for every man, woman and child here in Coeur d'Alene and our surrounding cities.
Paul D. Van Noy is pastor of Candlelight Christian Fellowship and president of the Coeur d'Alene Ministerial Association.