Commentary : Irvine's Human Rights Ordinance : Yes: Passage of Measure N would put an end to special rights for homosexuals and lesbians.

Christina L. Shea is on the Steering Committee of the Irvine Values Coalition Citizens for Equal Rights.

In July of 1988 the mayor and the Irvine City Council enacted a human rights ordinance that has imbedded within its structure a clause referring to "sexual orientation." This Human Rights Ordinance, because of the inclusion of this clause, gives special legislative protection to the homosexual, bisexual and lesbian communities.

The law was passed in spite of an exhaustive yearlong study by the Human Rights Committee that found no discrimination in the city and without regard to the 300 concerned residents who attended the public hearings to voice disapproval of its passage.

Recently the Irvine World News stated: "Sadly the law--regardless of whether the authors were well-intended or simply pandering to a narrow political interest group--has indeed been divisive and expensive. It may yet . . . be litigious and destructive."

I agree it is unwise to pander to the "narrow political interest groups." Certainly qualifications for minority status, with its affirmative action implications, have always relied on two components: unchangeable attributes and proof of a pattern of discrimination that causes socioeconomic injury.

Roger Magnuson stated in the Hamline Journal of Public Law: "Historically, human rights ordinances have granted status for minorities that were generally unrelated to behavior, moral character or public health. One's racial heritage, for example, creates a true legislative status. Race tells us nothing about a person's life style or behavior."

Even the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have agreed with this statement when he said, "I have a dream my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Granting special protection for any particular behavior-based life style will eventually undermine the very core of the judicial system by removing its ability to evaluate a person's character based on his or her conduct. A recent example of this undermining effect transpired in Laguna Beach, which has an ordinance similar to Irvine's. A distraught mother and many angry Riddle Park area residents went to City Hall (their mayor is openly gay) and sought action on a case where the mother's 10-year-old son entered the public bathroom in Riddle Park and found three homosexual men engaged in public sex. Despite their protest, no action was taken.

Before we insulate any special interest group for special legislation we need to take into account its behavior. Recent studies generated by the AIDS epidemic reveal that homosexuality is characterized by a wide range of sexual perversions, varying degrees of promiscuity and a disproportionate percentage of sexually transmitted diseases.

The Orange County Health Department disclosed that more than 86% of all reported cases of AIDS in Orange County have as their origin the homosexual and bisexual communities. The reason that these statistics are so high is that the average homosexual who has been tested for and found to have AIDS has had approximately 100 different sexual partners per year before testing positive to the HIV virus.

Many homosexual groups lobby for political prominence by playing the "victim role." In the Oct. 9 issue of U.S. News & World Report, John Leo states, "More and more aggrieved groups want to magnify their victim status." Homosexuals seem to understand this clearly; that is why many homosexual activists have turned "gay bashing" into a media campaign.

Several openly professing homosexuals continually play the "victim role" on our own stage in Irvine. They express fears that if this ordinance is amended they will not be able to get adequate housing or jobs. This is completely unfounded. The gay community has not experienced discrimination in Irvine, as the Human Rights Committee study has shown. In fact, their standard of living is excellent.

Contrary to what the homosexuals want us to believe, they have gained more acceptance in the last 20 years in the United States than ever before. A Washington Post article (April, 1979) confirmed this point by indicating that "the homosexuals in our country have become a new 'power block,' a block that has both power and money."

As the homosexual community is quite aware, portraying itself as a victim can gain political and social recognition. This stance, however, can be deceptive and destructive to society.

William Allen, of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, commented recently at an Orange County symposium that homosexuals already have equal protection under state and federal laws--as individuals. But granting special protection to homosexuals as a group "dilutes the status of valid minorities." Measure N is not an issue of discrimination. This measure, if passed, will only return our city to where the law was one year ago, when we had no discrimination.

Support equal rights for all citizens, not special rights for a few. Vote yes on Measure N.

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