Monday, October 04, 2004

Article 12 Controversy

I tried to post last night but my computer was being poopy, so...I didn't.

So I read today that Focus on the Family and the American Family Association are calling for a boycott of Procter & Gamble's two biggest brands -- Tide laundry detergent and Crest toothpaste. lol, boycotting P & G is like cleaning up Mt. St. Helen with a teaspoon--where to start and will it do any good? So why are they asking for a boycott?

Apparently, in 1993, there was an amendment to Cincinnati, Ohio's city charter to include Article 12, which states that "no special class status may be granted based upon sexual orientation, conduct or relationships." J(the actual wording is much hairier) This amendment was voted in (62% to 38%) pursuant to the passing of a civil rights ordinance by the City which made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of characteristics such as race, gender, age, religion, disability, Appalachian origin, or sexual orientation. The claim is that Article 12 excludes gays, lesbians and bi-sexuals from the protection from discrimination that is offered in the original ordinance.

Are you still with me? There's more.

What others are saying is that Article 12's function is NOT to leave gays vulnerable to harrassment, but to allow businesses to make their own moral decisions regarding how they will operate and who they will hire and offer benefits to. (e.g., faith-based organization refusing to hire gays because it violates their moral standards).

P & G is not the only organization or public official in support of the repeal. "Some are: the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, approximately 60 local religious leaders, the Cincinnati Mayor, The Cincinnati and the majority of City of Cincinnati council members." (this information from here). Yet nothing is said about the people of Cincinnati...what do they think, I wonder?

The existence of Article 12 has resulted in an estimated $40 billion in loss of profits. The American Library Association, the American Historical Association, and the American Speech and Hearing and Language Association have all declined to hold annual conventions in Cincinnati as long as Article 12 is in effect.

The concern of those supporting the boycott is that the repeal of Article 12, while not expressly offering special rights to gays, will pave the way to exactly that by removing this hurdle.


Procter & Gamble has stated that it does not support discrimination in any form and that the city's charter in its current form allows discrimination to occur. The company sent this explanation to its employees; there is some counterinformation attached.

So the issue is: should P & G be funding efforts to get Article 12 repealed?

My thoughts on this issue go beyond the boycott to the charter itself. The repeal does not inherently establish special anything for gays, lesbians or bi-sexuals. It simply falls silent on the issue. The site for the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce (link below) was compelling in the fact that it avoided inflamatory language and contained actual information. (surprise!) I think the repeal will go through because of its backing, though the boycott will cause headaches for P&G ppl.

The discrimination issue is about age, race, gender, disability...things you cannot control. Here they are talking about homosexuality. Your position on the issue will probably be decided on whether or not you believe that being gay falls under that category. But then again, it's illegal to discriminate on the basis of religion, so where does that leave us?

Personally, I will not participate in the boycott and do not think the repeal of Article 12 will be the downfall of the American Family. However, I'm glad I'm not a citizen of Cincinnati because this is a big hairy mess with many hot-blooded people willing to fight to the death to see his/her own cause succeed.

See Focus on the Family's call for boycott here.
See Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce's site and take on this process here. (Includes actual wording of current charter and that of proposed repeal).

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