CounterPetition
February 26, 2009 — 10:56

Author: Andrew Moon  Category: Links News Religion and Life  Comments: 41

Alexander Pruss mentioned this counterpetition toward the end of the previous discussion, but I decided I’d put it up front for more to see.
The distinction the counterpetition strikes me as a relevant distinction; it’s actually the distinction I tried to make in the earlier discussion. Here’s what I said.
A school can have a policy against adultery without having a policy against those who have an orientation to act adulterously. Probably better, a school might discriminate against those who use pornography without discriminating against those who have an orientation to use pornography. (And the number of the latter is legion.)
But do such policies violate the spirit of the anti-discrimination clause as the original petition suggests? Consider the following scenario. Suppose the APA had a clause which said that you could not discriminate on the basis of whether or not you have an orientation to look at pornography. Now suppose a school has a policy which discriminates against those who view pornography. It’s not at all obvious to me that such a school would be violating the spirit of the APA clause which I am imagining.
Are there any disanalogies between my scenario and the current issue?

Comments:
  • Mike Almeida

    Andrew,
    What seems to get lost in these debates is that whether the discriminatory treatment is culpable (or not) depends exclusively on the basis for that discrimination. It does not depend on the description of the treatment. Singer, for instance, is fond of pointing out that discriminatory treatment of non-human animals (say, eating them or shooting them) that is based solely on the fact that they are non-human is culpable, since it is speciest. That is, you’ve got bad reasons for treating them that way. But that is consistent with there being some other, non-speciest, morally or legally relevant, reason for such treatment. After all, lots of people seem to think they have such reasons.
    I think this is important, since it seems obvious that to treat gay people differently simply because they are gay is culpably discriminatory or wrong. Being gay does not in itself give anyone a moral or legal reason for treating you differently. Similarly, treating people diffently simply because they engage in gay sex is culpably discriminatory. That too seems close to obvious. By itself, engaging is such sex does not give anyone a moral reason to treat you differently. But, again, this is consistent with there being some other basis–some basis that is morally or legally relevant–for discriminatory treatment of those who engage in gay sex. What might it be? I really don’t know, but it is likely to appeal to the natural or proper function of sex or the sex organs or maybe it would appeal to using people purely as a means. In any case, the point is that the very same treatment will be, given one basis, culpably discriminatory and given another, not. It depends entirely on the relevance of the reasons advanced. The same goes for discriminating against those who read or purchase pornography. We need to know the moral or legal reason for treating them differently before we can assess whether it’s permissible treatment.

    February 26, 2009 — 14:33
  • Jean Kazez

    A school makes refraining from gay sex a condition of employment. Heterosexual sex is permitted. You wonder whether or not that amounts to discrimination based on sexual orientation.
    Isn’t the answer actually obvious? The burden on the gay-oriented job holder to give up his sex life and relationship is obviously huge and not suffered by the straight job holder. Imagine just blue-eyed people were told they had to give up sex, as a condition of employment Are they being discriminated against based on eye color? Surely the answer is obvious.
    Someone forced into celibacy as a condition of employment is burdened in a serious way. And don’t say there’s no requirement of celibacy, since gay job holders can have opposite sex partners. Effectively there is, since if you’re orientation is gay, you’re not going to want an opposite-sex partner any more than heterosexuals want same-sex partners.
    It’s sad when philosophical training short circuits both common sense and empathy. Imagine being the gay person who must throw out his partner as a condition for getting a job, while his straight friends suffer no such burden. The notion that he shouldn’t feel discriminated against is simply absurd.

    February 26, 2009 — 16:25
  • Remember, though, that if the schools’ views of the matter are correct, then it is not a harm to have to refrain from homosexual relations, since according to these schools such relations are contrary to the virtue of chastity, and it is on balance a benefit for one’s employer to support growth in virtue.
    Moreover, these schools generally expect candidates to share their religious views. Thus, presumably typical candidates, whether heterosexual or homosexual, agree that homosexual relations are harmful.

    February 26, 2009 — 17:15
  • Andrew Moon

    All,
    The question I’m interested in (not that ya’ll don’t bring up interesting points) is whether these religious schools are violating the spirit of the APA anti-discrimination clause. It’s not obvious to me that it is.
    The argument’s an argument from analogy. In my pornography scenario, a university policy against pornography use would not violate a anti-discrimination clause protecting those with pornography-use-orientation. This scenario seems relevantly analogous to the current scenario, where there is a policy against homosexual acts and an anti-discrimination clause protecting those with homosexual-orientation. By analogy, as there is no violation in the former case, there is no violation in the latter.
    As is typical of analogical arguments, you can object by showing there is a relevant disanalogy, or you can say that university policies in my pornography clause would be violating the spirit of the discrimination clauses.
    Right, these schools might be culpable or at fault for other reasons, but if the above argument is correct, it’s not for the reason that the petition gives.

    February 26, 2009 — 18:42
  • Jean Kazez

    Andrew, My earlier comment did address your acts vs. orientation argument. Your pornography analogy didn’t strike me as worth directly responding to, with all due respect, because pornography use is so trivial compared to having a life partner. If somebody is told that, as a condition of employment, they must throw out their pornography collection, it’s one thing. Not fair or reasonable, I don’t think, but not at all like being told you must be celibate, not seek a life partner, or get rid of your life partner (etc) as a condition of employment. That, in effect, is what’s being asked.
    In addition, there was nothing in your analogy to capture the element of discrimination. In the pornography case, there’s nothing that parallels the way heterosexually-oriented job holders get to keep their partners.
    This analogy seems much more apt. Let’s say a college stops people with Jewish orientation from performing Jewish acts, as a condition of employment. No reading the Torah,observing the sabbath, etc. The orientation is allowed, but not the acts. Christians, though, get to have both the orientation and perform Christian acts. They can observe Christian holidays, etc.
    It would be dishonest for a Christian college to have this policy and it say it wasn’t discriminating on the basis of Jewish orientation. Ditto in the sexual orientation case.

    February 26, 2009 — 19:32
  • Dear Jean,
    Right, right, I actually gave a similar example as your Jewish example in the previous discussion. It’s a good example.
    Here’s what I think is going on. I think that the reason one has the intuition that one would be violating the spirit of the relevant anti-discrimination clause in your Jewish case is because there’s a prior belief that acting out one’s Jewish culture is morally good or at least morally neutral. On the other hand, the reason one has the intuition that one would not be violating the spirit of the relevant anti-discrimination clause in my pornography case is because there’s a prior belief that it is morally bad or at least a bit suspect.
    It seems, then, that where one’s intuitions lie on whether one is violating the spirit of the relevant anti-discrimination clause in the current case at issue is dependent on whether one finds homosexual acts to be morally good or morally wrong (or suspect). Does that sound right to you? That would explain the disagreements that are going on.
    From reading your comments, my sense is that you think that the performing of homosexual acts in certain circumstances (say, a loving relationship), is a moral good. That would explain why you have the intuitions you do about whether there is a violation of the clause. On the other hand, those making the counterpetition believe that the actions are wrong or prima facie wrong, or at least they think that it’s a live option that the actions are wrong or prima facie wrong. That would explain why they have the intuitions they do about the clause. As someone who spends a good amount of time studying and researching sexual ethics, I don’t find their view crazy.
    Whatever the case, I think I have a better idea why someone might think that the policies do violate the spirit of the anti-discrimination clause or not. It depends on whether the acts are considered to be wrong.

    February 26, 2009 — 19:49
  • Jean Kazez

    Andrew, Ahh…I looked at the previous thread, but didn’t read it. Hmm. The question (in this post) is when we’re discriminating on the basis of acts, and when on the basis of orientations. That matters, because the APA specifically says “no discrimination based on sexual orientation,” while the Christian colleges talk about acts.
    My point is that the distinction doesn’t seem to hold up. When homosexual acts are forbidden, people with that orientation are denied the chance to have partners, while people with the other orientation are not. People are treated differently based on their orientations. So the college policies do offend against the APA policy.
    It’s true the colleges do let gay people into their gates and don’t force them into rehab or something. Maybe that makes some people think the orientation is accepted, if not the acts. I don’t think this is the right view, though, as to whether the orientation is treated discriminatorily. If people with the orientation are given a huge burden (no partners), and others are not, that strikes me as discriminatory. It’s like letting gays in the gates, but making them wear hair shirts..but much worse.
    The APA doesn’t forbid all forms of discrimination–like discrimination against pedophiles. Not all forms of discrimination are bad. But if it says “no discrimination based on gay-straight orientation” then I think that does imply there mustn’t be hair shirts for gays, or no partner rules, or any other burden not imposed on straights.

    February 26, 2009 — 21:36
  • We might still disagree (and we might still be missing each other a bit), but I think we made some progress. Pretty good for a blog discussion on this sort of topic, eh? =)

    February 26, 2009 — 21:41
  • Clayton Littlejohn

    Reflect on the words of the greatest legal mind of our times, Justice Antonin Scalia:
    I turn next to whether there was a legitimate rational basis for the substance of the constitutional amendment — for the prohibition of special protection for homosexuals. It is unsurprising that the Court avoids discussion of this question, since the answer is so obviously yes. The case most relevant to the issue before us today is not even mentioned in the Court’s opinion: In Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), we held that the Constitution does not prohibit what virtually all States had done from the founding of the Republic until very recent years — making homosexual conduct a crime. That holding is unassailable, except by those who think that the Constitution changes to suit current fashions. But in any event it is a given in the present case: Respondents’ briefs did not urge overruling Bowers, and at oral argument respondents’ counsel expressly disavowed any intent to seek such overruling. If it is constitutionally permissible for a State to make homosexual conduct criminal, surely it is constitutionally permissible for a State to enact other laws merely disfavoring homosexual conduct. And a fortiori it is constitutionally permissible for a State to adopt a provision not even disfavoring homosexual conduct, but merely prohibiting all levels of state government from bestowing special protections upon homosexual conduct.
    But assuming that, in Amendment 2, a person of homosexual “orientation” is someone who does not engage in homosexual conduct but merely has a tendency or desire to do so, Bowers still suffices to establish a rational basis for the provision. If it is rational to criminalize the conduct, surely it is rational to deny special favor and protection to those with a self-avowed tendency or desire to engage in the conduct. Indeed, where criminal sanctions are not involved, homosexual “orientation” is an acceptable stand-in for homosexual conduct. A State “does not violate the Equal Protection Clause merely because the classifications made by its laws are imperfect.”

    February 26, 2009 — 22:44
  • I think both sides have been a little silly through this whole thing. On the one side, there can be excellent reasons for a Christian college (or any other sort of college that has as part of its distinctive character certain relevant features) to expect faculty to show themselves to be exemplary not merely in the classroom but as general role models. Likewise, refusing to distinguish orientation from activity, or recognizing morally relevant differences between the two, seems as silly to me as refusing to distinguish capacities and exercises of those capacities.
    But on the other hand, I think it’s very clear that ‘sexual orientation’ is extremely ambiguous in ordinary discourse, and ordinarily does cover both orientation in the proper sense and activity in conformity with it. (Actually, I think it’s so multiply ambiguous as to be virtually a useless term, but that’s another argument.) Further, in ordinary cases we don’t require discrimination to be against identity directly in order to be counted as discrimination against identity. If one were to say that a policy allowing a person to be fired for being pregnant is not discriminatory against women because a woman doesn’t have to get pregnant, that is obviously using ‘discrimination’ is a much narrower sense than it is usually used. Moreover, it seems to me very unlikely that when the policy was put into place the terms were expected to be taken in the narrower sense. Such policies as are being criticized are contrary to APA policy; one can attribute this either to an insufficient precision in the policy or to the inadequacy of the policy itself, if one wishes to do so, but I really don’t see any sense in trying to argue that the APA is consistent here.
    After all, this is the APA we are talking about; if its policies were consistent, precise, and rational, that would be surprising, because it rarely happens.
    In any case, the policy should be enforced; and if people don’t like that, they should go through the ordinary process of trying to persuade people to change it.

    February 26, 2009 — 22:46
  • Andrew:
    While I essentially agree with you, it is important to remember that many people think discrimination need not be intentional. (This point was made today by a commenter on my blog.) It’s pretty clear that the Christian colleges are not intentionally discriminating by homosexual orientation. (Quick argument: The colleges would have the same policy even if none of their faculty and administrators believed in the concept of sexual orientation.)
    But perhaps there is such a thing as unintentional discrimination–an action or policy whose effect differentially disfavors a protected group without sufficient justification. For instance, while a policy requiring faculty to run a six minute mile as a condition of employment might not intentionally discriminate against the physically disabled, it would differentially disfavor the physically disabled without a sufficient justification.
    Now, myself, I really don’t like this kind of a notion of unintentional discrimination. I see discrimination as essentially an intentional activity, though perhaps not self-consciously such. (One probably can unconsciously intend. But the onus of argument is on those who accuse someone of unconscious intentions.)
    But apparently a lot of people like this kind of a notion, and it is possible that the APA’s policy meant it. So a further argument is needed to take care of the accusation that the policy differentially disfavors a protected group without sufficient justification.
    Let me try to supply some thoughts in that direction. As a warm-up, start with the case of Dr. Jones. Dr. Jones works among an underprivileged group, providing gratis a treatment for tuberculosis that he justifiedly believes to work. He has taken due care to follow the scientific literature, but his library was missing a recent issue of an important medical journal, in which there was an article showing that the treatment on balance harms patients. Dr. Jones then has a justified false belief that he is providing a benefit to members of the underprivileged group, but in fact he is harming them. Now, it would be very strange to say that the activity which he engages in, at significant personal cost and with a justified belief in the benefit of, in order to help the underprivileged is in fact discriminatory. Even if one has a concept of unintentional discrimination, that concept should not be stretched to include Dr. Jones’ case.
    So, suppose we grant that Dr. Jones is not discriminating. Then, I think, we need to say this: if we want to we say that an activity is unintentionally discriminatory against members of G because it differentially disfavors members of G without sufficient justification, a justified belief that the activity actually benefits members of G at least as much as it benefits others, when due care was taken in the formation and maintenance of the belief, ought to yield as “sufficient justification”, even if the belief is known by the experts to be false.
    If this is right, then if the policy-makers at these institutions exercised due care in the formation of their belief that same-sex sexual activity is on balance harmful to the agents, and if the belief was justified, there was no discrimination. For the policy was justifiedly, after due care, thought to be at least as beneficial to the members of G as to others.
    Now, we don’t know either way whether the policy-makers exercised due care–that just requires too much empirical data that nobody has gathered. What about the second half of the above condition? Was their belief justified? I don’t know–that depends on the particular case. The only way I could see, apart from careful interrogation of officials (which has not, as far as I know, been done) to settle the question would be to give an argument that one couldn’t be justified. But unless the APA has taken itself to have settled the question whether it is possible to be justified in orthodox Christian belief, and settled it in the negative, then the APA should not take a stand there. And surely the APA should not officially take a stance on this question of religious epistemology–such questions are still being hotly debated by the experts in the field, and it is by no means clear that there is a settled view against such justification.
    On the other hand, maybe one wants to bite the bullet and say that Dr. Jones was discriminating or, more plausibly, his activity was discriminatory. If one does that, and still have the APA rule that the Christian colleges are acting in a discriminatory way, then the APA has to take an official stance on whether abstinence from same-sex sexual relations is a harm or benefit to the abstainers. This question continues to be discussed among the philosophers working in the relevant field (viz., sexual ethics), and the arguments on neither side seem to have carried the day in some clear and uncontroversial way. It would appear just as inappropriate for the APA to take an official stance on the question as it would be for the APA to come out officially and state that it has been settled that the law of excluded middle holds. (I expect a majority of APA members accept LEM–and I think are right to do so–but in the debate in the relevant subfield of philosophy of logic that view has not carried the field in a clear and uncontroversial way.)

    February 26, 2009 — 23:24
  • Wes

    Maybe a little off-topic…
    At the time I am writing this comment, there are 49 signatures on the counter-petition. Of those, 26 are not listed in the APA member database and 8 are anonymous. Should the APA, a private organization supported by membership dues, pay attention to the wishes of non-members over members?
    [Alex, are you not a member of the APA? You didn’t come up in the database.]

    February 27, 2009 — 5:52
  • Andrew Moon

    Question for advice:
    I’m still trying to figure out what I think about whether signing is the right thing or not. A good friend of mine has recently urged me not to sign the petition, primarily out of prudential grounds. Basically, signing would decrease my chances of getting a job at a secular university.
    Does anybody disagree with this? Is that a good reason not to sign? Given that Leiter’s recently just had a “let’s watch and see who signs!” post on his blog, I wonder if it’s true that it would decrease my chances of getting a job. If anybody has any thoughts on this, especially older or more experienced philosophers, that’d be appreciated!
    (btw, my not responding to anybody’s comments doesn’t mean I didn’t appreciate them or find them interesting. I just don’t have much to add! I found Alex’s comments especially helpful.)

    February 27, 2009 — 11:51
  • Clayton Littlejohn

    I would think that prudential considerations give people a reason not to sign unless they have a desire only to work with those who have the sort of moral views that would encourage one to sign that document. It’s common knowledge that these views strike many in the profession as being confused and a sign of both moral and intellectual failing and few in the profession seem willing to endorse them (54 at last count). I’d also add that those who sign this seem to some to be insufficiently concerned with being sensitive to homosexual colleagues and students. There’s a potential moral reason. I’m not a homosexual, but I would have a hard time being a friend or close working partner with the sort of person who was willing to be so insensitive to my close friends in such a public way. Andrew, I hope you aren’t giving serious consideration to signing that absurd petition and I’d like to think that you’re a decent enough chap that you aren’t refraining for purely prudential reasons.
    Incidentally, Mike Otsuka laid down an interesting challenge for fans of the act/orientation distinction who hope to use that distinction to show that these schools aren’t discriminating in an objectionable way. (I had some disagreement with Mike over at Leiter’s blog. I thought that it was a horrible idea to play up the act/orientation distinction for roughly the reasons Kazez and Norcross have been pressing for quite some time but thought that the APA ought to come out and say it. He thought it was such a bad idea that the APA shouldn’t lower itself to responding. Now there’s this rival petition floating around and maybe that’s a game changer.) I’m assuming that his challenge is a challenge to all actual and most potential signatories think they can deal with. I’ll post it here for those of you who didn’t see it on Leiter’s blog:
    Suppose that a university (or college) does not merely prohibit ‘homosexual acts’ but also explicitly prohibits those with a gay or lesbian sexual orientation from membership in their faculty. Suppose that it does so on religiously-rooted grounds akin to those that Pope Benedict has enunciated, in his ‘Instruction concerning the criteria of vocational discernment regarding persons with homosexual tendencies’, against the admission into a seminary or ordination of those who have ‘profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies’: namely, that such tendencies are ‘objectively disordered’ and such people, by virtue of this tendency, ‘find themselves, in fact, in a situation that gravely obstructs a right way of relating with men and women’.
    Would you maintain that such a university ought to be permitted to advertise in Jobs for Philosophers and therefore object to the APA’s present policy, which prohibits ads from universities that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation?
    Or would you maintain that, even if Pope Benedict’s grounds are sufficient to justify an exclusion from the clergy on the basis of sexual orientation, such grounds are not sufficient to justify a university’s banning the employment of a university teacher on the basis of sexual orientation?
    If you would maintain the latter, then why don’t you adopt a similar stance towards those universities that ban faculty from engaging in homosexual acts?: i.e., even if there’s sufficient reason to exclude those who engage in homosexual acts from the clergy, such grounds are not sufficient to justify a university’s banning the employment of university teachers who realize their homosexual tendencies within, say, the privacy of their own homes.
    There are, I realize, a number of distinctions one might draw between homosexual orientation and homosexual sex. One might maintain, for example, that the latter is immoral whereas the former is not – it is merely an ‘objective disorder’ which cannot be helped.
    But surely the fact that one is ‘objectively disordered’ in a manner that ‘gravely obstructs a right way of relating with men and women’ might provide grounds against being hired, even if one cannot help this ‘disorder’. Even though it cannot be helped, a person’s schizophrenia might so ‘gravely obstruct[] a right way of relating with men and women’ that this person could not effectively serve as a university teacher, which would provide sufficient grounds against hiring him.
    One might concede that if someone had an objective disorder that gravely obstructs a right way of relating with men and women, that would be sufficient grounds for not hiring this person. But one might reject, as unreasonable, Pope Benedict’s claim that a homosexual orientation constitutes such a disorder. One might do so even if this belief is deeply rooted in religious tradition and held by a religious authority whose teachings are supposed to be followed by millions of Americans.
    But if one does that, what is to stop others from rejecting, as unreasonable, the claim that there’s something morally wrong with having sex with a member of the same sex?
    _____________
    Thoughts? I wouldn’t sign that petition until I thought I had a good response to Otsuka’s challenge.

    February 27, 2009 — 13:23
  • Matt Hart

    Clayton,
    I’d jump out at step 1) – a university who hired teachers in accordance with the Pope’s strictures would be fine.
    Also, Andrew wouldn’t be being insensitive to homosexuals by signing that petition, precisely the opposite: he would be helping them realize that what they are doing is wrong. That’s a good.

    February 27, 2009 — 15:50
  • Andrew Moon

    Hi Clayton,
    Thanks for the thoughts. I didn’t read the discussion at Leiter’s blog, but from what I read in your excerpt, I can’t see what the challenge precisely is. Yes, a university that banned those with homosexual orientation as in Otsuka’s case would be violating the clause.
    I guess I don’t see how he gets from there to the position that universities which ban those who act homosexually are violating the clause.
    Maybe there’re two questions. There’s the question of whether those universities are discriminating in an objectionable way, and there’s the question of whether those universities are discriminating in a way that violates the clause. I guess I’ve been thinking mostly about the latter. I don’t think it’s obvious that they’re doing the latter for the reasons I’ve mentioned above via my analogical argument. (See my first comment on this post and my response to Jean.)

    February 27, 2009 — 16:55
  • Clayton Littlejohn

    Andrew,
    The core of the challenge is to answer these questions while holding onto either:
    (a) it is morally acceptable to discriminate against behavior but not orientation;
    (b) it is consistent with the APA’s policy to discriminate against the one but not the other.
    Would you maintain that such a university ought to be permitted to advertise in Jobs for Philosophers and therefore object to the APA’s present policy, which prohibits ads from universities that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation?
    Or would you maintain that, even if Pope Benedict’s grounds are sufficient to justify an exclusion from the clergy on the basis of sexual orientation, such grounds are not sufficient to justify a university’s banning the employment of a university teacher on the basis of sexual orientation?
    I saw your response to Jean and saw that you never really addressed her analogical argument. Since her analogy seems closer to the case at hand, I’ll just say that I find her argument convincing. I’m more moved by her example than yours, so my response is either that yours is a weak analogy or I’d just accept the conclusion of your argument. Maybe you can tell me why that’s bad. If I had to pick between saying:
    (i) A school that refused to hire women who refused to pee standing up violates the APA’s actual policy;
    (ii) A school that refused to hire men who used porn violates your imagined policy;
    I’m more confident that (i) is true than I should say that (ii) is false.
    At some point, wouldn’t it be a good idea for someone to look at the way this stuff has played out in the law? My hunch is that if you fire someone for acting like a homosexual and the orientation is protected by law, you are about to enter a world of hurt. I could be wrong, but if I’m not I think this matters to the debate. Presumably, what gets covered by protection of orientation is determined by the community means by the relevant terms, not what philosophers with axes to grind hopes that it means.

    February 27, 2009 — 17:37
  • Clayton Littlejohn

    I was about to chastise Matt for not offering an argument, but he was kind enough to share his “reasons” at Leiter’s blog. Here, be enlightened.
    1) You could argue that disgust (in appropriate conditions) is a good guide to what’s wrong. Who doesn’t believe that?
    [Let’s take a poll. I don’t believe that.]
    2) You could argue that homosexuality is a radically inferior sexual mode – men are driven to penetrate for example, but in homosexual sex, only one person penetrates the other – and to consistently prefer an inferior sexual mode over a superior one is sexually perverse, and that perversities are bad.
    [I’m honestly hoping that this one comes in for discussion. I’ve asked and some friends of mine say they take turns penetrating each other. Sometimes, one just wishes to be penetrated and the other does the penetrating. This isn’t a mystery to me, I used to prefer pitching to wearing the cathcher’s mitt and trying to deal with curves and knucklers. Question. Are you assuming that all heterosexual couples are into punting? I haven’t met many that do this, are you assuming that in properly functioning heterosexual sex both sides get their turn at penetrating and being penetrated?]
    3) You could also argue that homosexuality has a lot in common with established sexual malpractices like paedophilia – peadophiles, like homosexuals, often come from broken homes, have social problems etc. – and thus get a sort of inductive argument for the immorality of homosexuality.
    [A sort of inductive argument … you were trailing off there at the end. You could argue that people who come from broken homes and have social problems often go in for therapy, so I guess that’s immoral? Let me ask you, Matt, do you really believe that you’d get as much emotionally out of sex with children as you would with a relationship with another adult of the same sex? That’s sad/scary.]
    4) Finally, there is also the appeal to authority. You argue that God exists, that Christianity or whatever is the most plausible of the world’s religions, and that the Christian God says it’s wrong. God knows better than we do, so we should trust him. (A corollary of this is that if you want to argue that homosexuality is obviously right, then you are going to have to argue that Christianity is obviously false. Good luck!)
    [If you could show me that God said that homosexuality is wrong, I’d believe it. But, good luck showing that. The corollary is not that to show that homosexuality is permissible you have to show that the Christian God is a myth, you can just show that whatever else the Christian God might have done, it didn’t mean for us to take some of the bits in the Bible all that seriously. That’s not an uncommon view. But, I confess a bit of a bias here as I don’t think God cares about a woman’s cycle and when during it a heterosexual couple is having sex.]
    Even if you ultimately disagree with these conclusions, the fact is they represent plausible lines of argumentation. Who gives the APA the right to decide which arguments are good and which aren’t?
    Yeah, who gives the APA the right to convene as a group and say that these ‘arguments’ notwithstanding we’ll protect homosexuals from discrimination? I think you should stop abusing the word ‘plausible’.

    February 27, 2009 — 17:56
  • Jean Kazez

    Andrew, As you are pondering whether to sign this counterpetition…
    Why would you want to? Let’s say that you have misgivings about homosexuality. If it’s really a serious moral disorder, why would you want to accept the APA’s policy against discrimination based on orientation (as the counterpetition seems to)? Would we really want people with a “deep moral disorder” teaching ethics classes and interacting with young, impressionable students?
    On the other hand, if you’re a person of better sense, you don’t in fact see gay people as suffering some deep moral disorder. You might, though, still think it’s sort of just a semi-bad thing, like wanting to look at pornography, to use your example. But if it’s not so very bad,then why force a gay person to suffer a life of solitude, as a condition of employment? Isn’t it more important for gay people to have companionship, even if it means doing something just sort of bad? Why come to the defense of Christian colleges?
    Then again, you might be a person of very good sense, and see no problem with the orientation at all. Then it becomes very hard to see any basis at all for Christian colleges to want gay people to refrain from gay acts. It look like a completely arbitrary policy, however much venerable philosophers once supported such things.
    In short, I don’t see what “take” on homosexuality could make a reasonable person want to support this petition.

    February 27, 2009 — 18:43
  • Matt Hart

    Hi Clayton,
    I don’t think you really believe disgust isn’t a good guide to what’s wrong. Suppose A is mercilessly battering B. You will be horrified and intervene (I shall assume you are a brave fellow). Don’t you think your horror is appropriate? Suppose the philosophical climate was so bad that no-one could think of any reason why battery would be wrong. Do you think your disgust wouldn’t count for anything? Another example: people are disgusted by accounts of the holocaust. When I read the accounts I find the suggestion that the relation between my disgust and the atrocities is purely accidental to be radically implausible – disgust seems a very appropriate reaction indeed.
    My second line of argument was admittedly unclear. I meant to say something like the following: men desire to penetrate, women desire to be penetrated, and these desires have strong biological and psychological grounds; consequently, male homosexual intercourse necessarily involves one partner going against desires that have strong biological and psychological grounds (they can’t both penetrate at the same time). That strikes me as a clear defect of sexual mode.
    As for the inductive argument, well, clearly the connections have to be relevant. And nothing I have said entails that homosexuality is as bad as pedophilia. You’re going to have to join the dots for me on that one.
    you point out the possibility of a liberal take on the scope/nature of divine inspiration. I don’t find it very plausible, but I’m happy to restrict my claim to conservative Christianity.

    February 27, 2009 — 19:51
  • Andrew Moon

    Clayton,
    Alright, I hope this comment makes some progress.
    My explanation (in my February 26, 2009 7:49 PM) for the difference in the intuitions between the porn case and the Jewish case is that one has different intuitions about whether the relevant acts are right or wrong.
    So what do you think about the following?
    1) if act A is morally wrong, then (if there is a policy discriminating against those who do A but not against those who have an orientation to A, then such a policy does not violate the spirit of an anti-discrimination clause which protects those who have an orientation to A).
    2) if act A is morally good, then (if there is a policy discriminating against those who do A but not against those who have an orientation to A, then such a policy does violate the spirit of an anti-discrimination clause which protects those who have an orientation to A).
    (1) explains why a policy discriminating against those who do commit adultery, steal, and (perhaps) look at porn does not violate the spirit of the relevant anti-discrimination clause.
    (2) explains why a policy against those who do act out their Jewish culture or Asian culture or whatever does violate the spirit of the relevant anti-discrimination clause.
    Furthermore, those who are inclined to think that homosexual acts are good (you, Jean, and many others) will think that the policies violate the anti-discrimination clause. People who are more open to thinking that there is something wrong with homosexual acts (me, Alex Pruss, and some others) are more open to thinking it does not violate the relevant policy.
    What do you think?

    February 27, 2009 — 20:18
  • Andrew Moon

    Jean,
    Well! You kindof stacked the deck against me. Who would want to pick an option that would make them not be a person with “good sense” or “better sense”?!
    “But if it’s not so very bad,then why force a gay person to suffer a life of solitude, as a condition of employment? Isn’t it more important for gay people to have companionship, even if it means doing something just sort of bad? Why come to the defense of Christian colleges?”
    Alright, this is something that’s been underlying the tone of many of your comments, and what I say might help explain the difference of where we’re coming from. I have a good number of good friends (and those who aren’t friends but whom I know of) who choose not to act out their homosexual orientation because of conscience’s sake. They think that it’s not right to act that way. Yet, they are very happy, they find much meaning, joy, and purpose in life, and they find much freedom in not living out their homosexual lifestyle. This is because they know that they are doing the right thing. (You will disagree; you will think that they don’t “know” but merely “believe” that they are doing the right thing.) These points don’t make a difference to the central arguments of this post, but it will help shed some difference on where we’re coming from.
    I’m thinking about whether those schools are in fact violating the discrimination clause. And I have some inclination to think that they’re not violating it for the reasons I’ve given. (I’m not convinced that what ya’ll have said defeats my reasons; I’m not convinced the other way either!) So I guess that’s why I might come to the defense of the Christian schools.

    February 27, 2009 — 20:31
  • Gordon Knight

    There are two different issues here. There is the moral issue: is it right to discriminate against homosexuals in hiring. It seems some disagree here, but I think this is obviously correct.
    But there is also the question of whether the APA should penalize institutions who hold the mistaken (to me) belief that homosexual conduct is wrong. I don’t see why someone could not accept the second, in the interest of pluralism, and yet deny the first point.
    If the policy is simply to asterisk institutions that so discriminate, I don’t see the harm. It seems just a matter of truth in advertizing. I would not support any more draconian measures, however.

    February 27, 2009 — 20:46
  • Jean Kazez

    Andrew,
    Suppose, on biblical grounds, that eating lobster is sinful. The craving for it is bad, but even worse is acting on the craving. I am a Jew stranded on an island with nothing to eat but lobsters. My craving to eat them is bad (let us grant), but should I die rather than eat them? I would think not, since while eating lobster is bad, so is dying. (And the bible does look at commandments as being non-absolute in that way.)
    Analogously, as a religious person you might believe that homosexuality is forbidden and sinful. Maybe it’s something like eating lobster, or worse, or a lot worse, but surely not like pedophilia, since it involves consenting adults. But what if someone’s only way of attaining the very great good of life-long companionship is by committing that sin? Even a Christian college that disapproves of homosexuality might have good reason to allow people to indulge in it, on grounds that it’s their only route to the great good of having a partner.
    So I think you’re wrong to think that based on finding homosexuality sinful (which I don’t but I guess you do), you automatically have a good reason to think colleges are entitled to prohibit it. The problem is the failure to think about what sort of a sin it is, and just how great a good it is to have a partner.

    February 27, 2009 — 22:18
  • Clayton Littlejohn

    Andrew,
    I don’t think that will work:
    So what do you think about the following?
    1) if act A is morally wrong, then (if there is a policy discriminating against those who do A but not against those who have an orientation to A, then such a policy does not violate the spirit of an anti-discrimination clause which protects those who have an orientation to A).
    2) if act A is morally good, then (if there is a policy discriminating against those who do A but not against those who have an orientation to A, then such a policy does violate the spirit of an anti-discrimination clause which protects those who have an orientation to A).
    I think it’s morally wrong for people to teach their children that homosexuality is immoral and to indoctrinate them with the sorts of beliefs that make that daft belief stick. However, I think it’s clearly discriminatory to discriminate people who _do_ this even if a discrimination policy focuses just on religions _belief_. I don’t think you disagree. I don’t think it’s morally wrong for people from different faiths to marry, but I think there may well be people of faith who disagree with this. They know full well that in spite of their moral beliefs about these mixed marriages a policy that protected freedom of conscience would in this case protect acting in the ways that they regard as immoral.
    Again, it would be good if someone actually looked up what protection of orientation amounted to in the real world as my bet is that it means something that you think it doesn’t. I suspect that when this sort of thing gets hashed out in the courts (e.g., in employment cases) a protection of orientation is, inter alia, a protection of action. My guess is that if I was wrong about this, it would be easy to demonstrate this and someone would delight in doing this for me. The only thing I’ve found is Scalia suggesting that you shouldn’t protect the orientation when that orientation inclines people to engage in illegal acts of sodomy. And, as we all know, he’s a pretty great legal mind so maybe that is the standard view in legal circles. I’d think that those were the circles where we should be looking to see how the act/orientation distinction plays out in these situations.

    February 28, 2009 — 10:26
  • Jean Kazez

    it would be good if someone actually looked up what protection of orientation amounted to in the real world as my bet is that it means something that you think it doesn’t. I suspect that when this sort of thing gets hashed out in the courts (e.g., in employment cases) a protection of orientation is, inter alia, a protection of action.

    Clayton, I’m wondering the same thing. I have a friend who’s a lawyer at the EEOC and plan on asking. In any event, when the APA said no discrimination based on sexual orientation, I don’t think they envisioned there being a distinction between inner orientation and outer acts. I’m pretty sure they were simply trying to protect the rights of gay people to receive the same treatment as everyone else.

    February 28, 2009 — 10:58
  • Mark Murphy

    Clayton,
    You suggest that we inquire further into how protection of orientation works in legal contexts. Is there good reason to think this is the way that we ought to construe protection of orientation in this case? In thinking through this discussion I realize that I don’t have much of a sense on the appropriate interpretive rules regarding APA norms. I guess the assumption is just that the Wheaton et al. policies fall under the ‘plain meaning’ of the rule; but you’re suggesting that we should refer to the legal meaning, something like that. I just don’t know what the right way to think about this is.

    February 28, 2009 — 11:33
  • Clayton Littlejohn

    Mark,
    I don’t have views on the proper interpretation of these norms either, but I think it would be an interesting thing to investigate. If we were to discover, for example, that when states prohibit discrimination on the basis of orientation and this is taken to cover discrimination on the basis of behavior, that might be taken as evidence about meaning. If we were to discover that, say, an employer who fires an employee for engaging in homosexual sex acts could be terminated for this reason is nevertheless in compliance with the anti-discrimination laws that protect orientation this might be taken as evidence of meaning. As an anti-individualist, I think we don’t always get to mean what we mean to mean. Bracketing that, suppose we were to discover two things. First, that anti-discrimination laws that mention orientation but made no explicit reference to conduct were consistently interpreted as covering (or not covering) conduct. Second, that this was something known to those who drafted the APA’s anti-discrimination statute. These discoveries would, I think, give us a good sense of what it would take to conform with the statute as written. Like some in the Leiter thread, I find it perfectly natural to take these policies as protecting conduct but I also think that certain empirical facts could support one side over the other.

    February 28, 2009 — 14:27
  • mr.midnight

    If I owned a business, I’d discriminate in my hiring practices, quite reasonably I think, against non-sober alcoholics. The view of those who are supporting the original petition appears to be (and someone please correct me if I’m wrong about this) that I would thereby discriminate against an alcoholic who has been sober for ten years. Isn’t this just absurd? Maybe this question has been answered somewhere–I haven’t read all the different threads around the web. If so, I apologize. Also, I should stress that this is simply a counterexample to the claim, which a number of the supporters of the petition have made, that you can’t discriminate against behavior without discriminating against those oriented towards that behavior. I am not claiming any similarity between alcoholics and homosexuals.

    February 28, 2009 — 14:48
  • Clayton Littlejohn

    The view of those who are supporting the original petition appears to be (and someone please correct me if I’m wrong about this) that I would thereby discriminate against an alcoholic who has been sober for ten years.
    You are wrong about this because there is nothing in the APA’s policies concerning alcoholics. I’m sure that this doesn’t really answer your point, but I’m not entirely sure what your point was supposed to be. The position of those who signed the petition is not that it is impossible to discriminate against behavior without thereby discriminating against an orientation to engage in that behavior, but that such a distinction is neither here nor there when it comes to determining whether a school is conforming with the APA’s policies concerning sexual orientation.
    I have a question about Feser’s position. Since it is not a petition for APA members only, is there really any difference between his petition and, say, my petitioning Wheaton and the rest to change their hiring practices? What’s the point?

    February 28, 2009 — 15:54
  • Jean Kazez

    Clayton (and anyone else who’s interested), You and I were wondering how these things are understood in legal contexts. I asked a friend at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission what she thought about the act vs. orientation distinction, and (fyi) she said–

    You philosophers with your crazy questions! [sic] I don’t have much legal advice on this one because the federal laws (that my agency enforces) do not protect workers based on their sexual orientation. Yes, under federal law, you can tell someone, “I won’t hire you because you are gay.” But certain cities (180 in 2006) have such laws and many states (15 in 2006) prohibit such discrimination.. ENDA, the federal law against sexual orientation discrimination (spearheaded by Ted Kennedy) has been stuck in Congress for years. That will mean it’s against the law everywhere, and people will be able to prosecute it in federal court.
    Here’s a side note: Under federal law, religious institutions are exempt (not covered by the anti-discrimination laws) when it comes to its treatment of employees who can be viewed as performing religious functions including teaching religious tenets. This has even been extended to a choir director in one case. So, for example, a conservative or orthodox synagogue can exclude employees in a teaching capacity who intermarry; or Catholic religious institutions can exclude people from teaching religious material at their institutions unless they agree to not have sex outside of marriage, or not use contraceptives, and it seems that they could fire such people once they do intermarry, get pregnant out of wedlock, or admit to using contraceptives.
    As to the sexual orientation vs. actual sex — I personally don’t see a difference. It’s still sexual orientation discrimination. In my job, we always look for evidence of discriminatory “animus,” and that litmus test contract sure seems to be a subterfuge, what we term a “pretext” for hiring discrimination. What about if Exxon said, we’ll hire you knowing that you’re Islamic but you have to sign this contract that you won’t go to an Islamic events, won’t worship at a mosque, won’t go to an Islamic food store, won’t host an Islamic wedding, won’t wear a hijab. Requiring someone to sign that would be viewed as discriminatory hiring practices based on religion.

    I think the real question is whether the APA intended that religious institutions be exempt from its anti-discrimination clause (see her second paragraph). The act-orientation quibbling probably really is a red herring (see her third paragraph).

    February 28, 2009 — 16:28
  • mr.midnight

    Clayton,
    The view that behavior-discrimination need not involve orientation-discrimination is explicitly rejected by a number of parties to this debate. Maybe you agree with me instead of them. If so, I’m glad to hear it. It is, however, difficult for me to see how you can interpret the APA policy as protecting homosexuals from behavior-discrimination if you don’t think behavior-discrimination must involve orientation-discrimination. Are you thinking of the “spirit of the policy” point? Or do you think that there is some reason that in this case (though not in general) behavior-discrimination entails orientation-discrimination?
    I agree with you about Feser’s petition. It probably won’t have any effect on anything.

    February 28, 2009 — 17:13
  • mr.midnight

    “What about if Exxon said, we’ll hire you knowing that you’re Islamic but you have to sign this contract that you won’t go to an Islamic events, won’t worship at a mosque, won’t go to an Islamic food store, won’t host an Islamic wedding, won’t wear a hijab. Requiring someone to sign that would be viewed as discriminatory hiring practices based on religion.”
    If there were a bizarre policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of orientation towards Islamic behavior, Exxon would not be in violation of that policy. It would, however, be in violation of policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of religion. That’s possible because being a Muslim is not the same as being oriented towards Islamic behavior. Exxon would in this case be discriminating on the basis of religion because, unlike being oriented towards Islamic behavior, being a Muslim necessarily involves behaving in certain ways. Analogously, a policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation does not, it seems to me, prohibit discrimination on the basis of homosexual behavior.

    February 28, 2009 — 18:06
  • martin

    Jean, the Exxon religion analogy you quote doesn’t work in my opinion.
    It assumes genital sexual activity is intrinsic to identity.
    There are behaviors that intrinsic to a Muslim identity. It is important to list them just to accept that being Muslim is SOME thing and not another thing.
    But do people of any sexual persuasion HAVE to use their genitals sexually? Is is the vocation of a homosexual person to have sex in the same way a Muslim must perform the Haj?
    This kind of question begging as to the meaning of sex characterises much of the arguments I’ve read on the Leiter blog.

    February 28, 2009 — 19:36
  • Jean Kazez

    Martin,
    My EEOC friend’s point is relevant to the orientation-act distinction. Whether the case at hand is about Muslim orientation or sexual orientation doesn’t matter.
    Her point is that courts look at behavior rules as pretexts to exclude people with the orientation linked to the behavior. So a business that rules out hijab and going to mosques, but not being Muslim, might be charged with discriminatory hiring practices (on the basis of religious “orientation”), because the behavioral rule is likely to be a pretext for keeping out people with Muslim orientation.
    Likewise, a school that hires gays but rules out gay behavior might plausibly be seen as using the behavioral rule as a pretext to keep gays out.
    (Could it really be true that Christian colleges are perfectly happy to have gay philosophers on campus, teaching ethics classes and potentially influencing students–despite their “deep moral disorder”? Not too likely.)
    In any event, I think my friend’s discussion helps me see the APA’s dilemma. It needs to decide whether to take the federal stance that religious institutions can do what they want. Or they need to clarify that they do hold religious institutions to their policy against discrimination. But the policy can’t be read as protecting just orientation, and not rights to behave according to one’s orientation. That’s a false distinction, not recognized by courts that deal with discrimination issues every day.

    March 1, 2009 — 8:48
  • Andrew Moon

    “Could it really be true that Christian colleges are perfectly happy to have gay philosophers on campus, teaching ethics classes and potentially influencing students–despite their “deep moral disorder”? Not too likely.”
    Jean,
    Unfortunately, I’m been super busy this weekend, so I haven’t been able to keep up w/the blog. But I think many Christian colleges would be happy to have philosophers who are committed to following Jesus and who are restraining from acting homosexually out of conscience’s sake. I guess, once again, our backgrounds may influence our beliefs about this.
    Just for an example, I can list several homosexually oriented friends who were prominent, active student leaders in the Christian fellowships I was involved in during college. (This includes ministries on three different campuses.) One of these was a ministry staffworker. This sort of thing is not uncommon. Again, these people found deep freedom in not acting out their homosexual orientation, and many, I would say, found a deeper companionship and communion with God. (Or so I say. You can see how we come from different vantage points.)
    So in response to your question, I think it is likely. However, I’m not saying that all Christian colleges would be happy, and you must’ve gotten a negative impression of Christian colleges from the past to have the negative impression you do. I guess I’ll say that I don’t think the answer to your rhetorical question is at all obvious. I do hope you have gotten your impression of Christians and Christian colleges from Christians and Christian colleges directly, and not from media portrayals of Christians and Christian colleges.

    March 1, 2009 — 9:12
  • Jean Kazez

    My comment about people finding “deep freedom in not acting out their homosexual orientation” was either rejected or Andrew’s busy. So…that’s enough of that. It’s been interesting.

    March 1, 2009 — 21:41
  • Hey Jean,
    I never rejected that comment (and I doubt Matthew would), so I don’t know what happened. If you’d like, you can post it again. (I am busy, though! But I don’t see your comment.)

    March 2, 2009 — 10:59
  • Jean Kazez

    Never mind, just as well. At a certain point, each side knows what the other will say, anyway. So will leave it at that!

    March 2, 2009 — 12:43
  • Eric Rasmusen

    The distinction between “sexual orientation” and “sexual behavior” is
    absolutely crucial, and I was thinking on blogging on this myself, so
    I read this with interest. I see that the lawyer quoted above didn’t
    understand the distinction. I too would like to know if city
    regulations do.
    Someone commented:
    “If I owned a business, I’d discriminate in my hiring practices, quite
    reasonably I think, against non-sober alcoholics. The view of those
    who are supporting the original petition appears to be (and someone
    please correct me if I’m wrong about this) that I would thereby
    discriminate against an alcoholic who has been sober for ten years.
    Isn’t this just absurd?”
    That’s right. I’m sure Christian colleges are happy to hire people
    with homosexual orientation who are strongly opposed to homosexual
    behavior. The former alcoholic is the best crusader against drink, and
    it is common to encounter reformed homosexual pastors who specialize
    in work with homosexuals. If anybody finds a case where a strong
    advocate of anti-sodomy laws is denied a job because he used to
    practice sodomy, please let us know.
    In fact, orthodox Christian belief is that everyone has a “sin
    orientation”; it is just that some of us control our outward behavior
    better than others do. This is really the same as the idea that we
    are all potential criminals— murderers and thieves, for example—
    but some of us, including most people with college degrees, are
    better at restraining themselves in light of their material incentives
    and the chance of getting caught.
    There is something I don’t think any other commentor has mentioned:
    the “legislative history” of anti-discrimination rules. If a judge
    were to rule on whether the rule were literally against homosexual
    orientation or were against orientation and behavior, he would first
    look at the text. The text is clear— it’s just orientation— but
    commonly even a fair-minded judge wouldn’t stop there. He would go
    on to look at intent and at whether the words had a broader meaning
    in the particular context. A big part of that is to look at
    legislative history. If *everyone* in the debate over enactment– both
    proponents and opponents— talked as if the words included behavior,
    then it would be reasonable to read the words that way. If everyone
    just talked about orientation, or, even better, proponents explicitly
    said that the rule was written purposely to allow discrimination
    based on sexual behavior, then the words ought to be read literally.
    (If the legislative history is mixed, then it isn’t much use.)
    I could be wrong, but I bet most anti-discrimination rules were
    enacted by means of arguments based on orientation, not behavior. If
    so, it’s not fair to switch the meaning afterwards to include
    behavior. An argument such as “we shouldn’t allow discrimination on
    the grounds of characteristics a person can’t alter” argues for a
    rule against orientation, but implicitly concedes that discrimination
    on behavior is okay.
    To be sure, forbidding sodomy hurts people who are tempted by sodomy
    more than those who are not, and in that sense discriminates on the
    basis of orientation. But that is a false sense. It is equivalent to
    saying that forbidding sexual harassment, or even rape, discriminates
    against men, and so a university should not punish it if they have a
    policy against sex discrimination.
    In the courts, the “disparate impact” argument is treated in
    complicated ways, and in ways that are different depending on the type
    of discrimination. Race effects are scrutinized much more closely than
    gender effects, for example.
    I’ll repeat what earlier comments said: If anyone knows what courts
    have said on whether the term “sexual orientation” includes “sexual
    behavior” please let us know.

    March 2, 2009 — 20:09
  • Clayton Littlejohn

    The distinction between “sexual orientation” and “sexual behavior” is absolutely crucial, and I was thinking on blogging on this myself, so I read this with interest. I see that the lawyer quoted above didn’t understand the distinction. I too would like to know if city regulations do.
    I can’t see how someone could tell from the quotation above that the lawyer “didn’t understand the distinction” between sexual orientation and behavior. Perhaps the lawyer understood the distinction quite well while having no idea as to why anyone would appeal to this distinction in this context. That is, I think, the more generous way of reading this comment.
    Remember that in debates about interracial marriage there were those who tried to defend Virginia’s laws who conceded that it would be illegal to have laws that discriminated on the basis of an immutable characteristic such as race while insisting that it was consistent with this to have laws that discriminated against behavior (e.g., the behavior that individuals engage in when they marry or try to marry someone from a different race). That distinction didn’t persuade the majority in Loving v. Virginia (good thing, right?) and it wasn’t because the court didn’t understand the distinction between behavior and immutable characteristics. That distinction did little work because it didn’t seem that taking account of this distinction and using it in drawing up laws would serve any legitimate interest of the state.
    Back to the case at hand. It may well be that from the perspective of the relevant Christian institutions there is some legitimate purpose that is being served by drawing a distinction between orientation and behavior. (We don’t hate the gays, but their ways…) But, it seems that from the perspective of most members of the APA (and perhaps a critical mass of members of the APA) this distinction between behavior and orientation does not serve any legitimate purpose. It seems that the purpose of drawing this distinction is to justify the imposition of a code of conduct the imposition of which we (or, many of us in the APA) find morally objectionable. [[Note, there are two issues here. The first has to do with the moral status of homosexual behavior and the second has to do with responses to that behavior. The APA could condemn the way that some focus on that behavior as a condition of employment even if it is an open question as to whether homosexual conduct is morally permissible much in the same way that I think I coherently can say that it is immoral to raise children to have certain moral beliefs (e.g., the moral belief that it is wrong for people to engage in homosexual sex) and also say that it is wrong to discriminate against people who have the (unfortunate) religious and moral beliefs in light of which this is obligatory or permissible.]] Maybe the APA can’t stop these institutions from imposing codes of conduct the imposition of which is regarded as morally objectionable, but to the extent that these institutions have the right to engage in discrimination that the members of the APA widely regard as objectionable the APA should have similar rights to say that these institutions cannot have it both ways. You can’t both say that you want to discriminate against behavior in ways regarded by the members of the APA as objectionable and use the APA’s publications to advertise without some sort of sanction.

    March 2, 2009 — 23:13