I am sure this will be spun as more evidence of an anti-homosexual agenda, but something is bothering me about this:
The Justice Department has barred a group of employees from holding their annual gay pride event at the department’s headquarters, the first time such an event has been blocked by any federal agency, gay rights leaders said today.
Justice Department officials told the group, called DOJ Pride, that it could not hold its annual event at the department because the White House had not formally recognized Gay Pride Month with a presidential proclamation, Marina Colby, a department policy analyst who is president of the group, said. The group represents several hundred gay and lesbian employees at the department.
“This sends a real chilling message to Justice Department employees who are gay and lesbian,” said David Smith, a spokesman for Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest gay advocacy group.
“This says, `You’re not welcome,’ ” Mr. Smith said. “It says that employees can celebrate Asian-American heritage month, and Hispanic heritage month and so on, but you cannot.”
Why the hell are government assets being used for ANY of these celebrations? And if they are going to let there be Asian-American Heritage month, I agree with DOJ Pride, let them have Gay Pride month. But here is a better suggestion- GET RID OF ALL OF THEM and get back to work.
A factual correction: Government assets would not have been used at the celebration that was planned by DOJ Pride. The event, as with the past years’ events, would have been held off-hours (from 6:30 to 8:30 pm), and would be supported entirely by membership dues.
The other events—the Asian-American heritage celebration et al.—did entail government funds and did occur during the work day.
Then what do they want if it is all their money- just rent a banquet hall and have it. And get rid of all the other ones unless they want to do it the same way that DOJ Pride is doing it. I think it is unfair to let one and not the other- my point is to get rid of all of them.
I understand your position. I just wanted you to be aware that your critique—that DOJ Pride was attempting to use government assets—applied much less than you seemed to think.
Missed your first question. DOJ Pride wants the same access to use the main hall that all the other groups have had—to be treated the same as every other group of employees. (As background, the Main Hall has been used for all sorts of staff-run events in the off-hours.)
Steph- and under the circumstances that have gone on, they should be allowed to- DOJ is wrong to exclude DOJ Pride. However, next year, NO ONE SHOULD have any of this.
CAN OF WORMS: OPENED!
It’s a reasoned principle—not one I necessarily agree with (I tend to think that people work more efficiently when they feel like accepted members of the workforce, and that celebrations such as these, when held effectively, can help with that), but it’s reasoned.
Lest you think it’s all celebrations around here, most of us attorneys here, in my experience, work at least 50 hours a week, with no comp time.
But I don’t want to open up the can of works of whether the benefit of short celebrations should be used to balance off these costs to employees, or what. After all, I’ve got work to do. :) Like I said, I just wanted to correct a factual error.
Steph- I agree with you, it is helpful to employee morale. Why can’t they all do it like DOJ Pride?
Because Leif Erikson day is important!
Not sure why they can’t all do it like DOJ pride, but it sounds like DOJ has a lot more of these than other agencies and branches.
Most of us have one picnic a year, and that’s about it. As to the U.S. House, I don’t know if we get any government money, but the event is at least partially employee-funded.
I’m not sure if it’s that much more than at any other place. I’m on several government employee email lists, and I keep seeing similar events at various other agencies as well (most notably the State Department).
As for these celebrations, I’m pretty lukewarm about them. But I do like seeing consistency and fairness, and that’s not what I see here.
Just to note, the DOJ is way too big to have one single celebration. (I forget how many people are employed, but I’ve heard that its more than any other agency.) Hell, we can’t even fit all of my division (the Environment Division) into the Great Hall, and we’re one of the smaller divisions.
Point taken. We don’t have a House-wide event either; individual portions of the staff do, like the IT department, etc.
But we don’t have anything along the lines of “So-and-so Heritage Festival.” Must be an executive branch thing.
All of which studiously avoids the real issue – the cold breath of religious fundamentalism seeping through the Federal Government…
Or at least, the cold breath of “why in the hell are we allowing any of these groups to use government assets?”
At most, you could make a case that the DOJ draws the line where it comes to forming groups based on sexual preference. I doubt that DOJ Swingers Club, the DOJ Going It Alone Foundation, or the DOJ Pedophilia Society would have similar access. Would you harbor similar outrage if it happened to a group founded on sexual differences that wasn’t gay?