Monday, March 07, 2005

The Self-Immolation of Mike Rogers, Phase I

Over on, Mike Rogers is currently blowing a gasket over House Representative Mark Foley's vote in favor of the Workforce Investment Act, which would allow religious organizations that receive federal funds to operate job training programs to discriminate on the basis of religious grounds in hiring their own employees. Some gay groups have also gotten upset over this particular provision, the theory being that this would allow discrimination based on religious objection to sexual orientation.

(My response: Indeed it does -- as well as allowing discrimination based on someone else's religion, lifestyle, whatever. Besides, look on the bright side -- it's now legal for gay churches to discriminate against straight people, if they so choose.)

The entertaining thing about all of this is that Foley actually has a superb record, according to HRC's 2004 scorecard -- a rating of 88, which is better than five, equal to one, and worse than only one of Florida's 7 Democratic House Representatives. Foley voted against both the Federal Marriage Amendment and the Marriage Protection Act and supported ENDA and hate crimes legislation. Of course, none of those make any difference if you're a Republican; that was John Aravosis's theory for "outing" Foley last summer, purportedly based on information from Foley's former aide, Kirk Fordham -- who told the Washington Blade that he had never even spoken with Aravosis.

As I've posted before, neither Aravosis or Rogers have any trouble with protecting closeted gay staffers of Democrats and Democrats themselves who vote FOR the FMA and MPA, or other antigay laws, nor did they bother to "out" a single person on the Kerry campaign, which agitated for state constitutional amendments banning gay marriage and whose candidate wouldn't actually VOTE against the FMA out of fear for how that vote would appear. The anti-Foley diatribe underscores the obvious -- the outing campaign has nothing to do with gay rights.

I have titled this post "Phase I" because I believe that it is only the beginning. With the recent court decision that bloggers are not protected by shield laws that prevent journalists from being required to provide their confidential sources, Mike Rogers's days of being able to post "anonymous" sources without proof are numbered -- and his attempt to hide behind RAW STORY as a "journalism" site for its protections should be about as effective as Jeff Gannon's attempt to hide behind Talon News. The embarrassment of his going after a Republican with a better gay-rights record than most Democrats should assist greatly in drying up what funding streams and public support he is receiving from gay-left groups worried about their public image.

Sit back and enjoy; I've got the popcorn.

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