Fair. Balanced. American.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Witness testimony for ENDA

At the committee hearing on September 23, 2009. The speaker: William N. Eskridge John A. Garver Professor of Jurisprudence, Yale Law School.
Even when they are not so explicitly set forth as they were recently in the Colorado campaign, these anti-gay tropes—immorality, predation, and disruption—still motivate state officials to discriminate against sexual and gender minorities. I shall close my testimony with my own case.

I was denied tenure at the University of Virginia School of Law in 1985 based in part on my sexual orientation. Although I was one of the law school’s top teachers, had engaged in first-rate institutional service (including very successful two years as chair of the clerkship committee), and had written several articles, congressional testimony, and two co-authored books, my petition for tenure was rejected, based upon the recommendation of the appointments committee. There is good reason to believe that the committee’s recommendation was tainted.

For one thing, the committee chair never provided me a copy of the procedures that apply to tenure cases, including the requirement that I be appraised of a likely negative recommendation so that I could appear before the committee to answer questions. Instead, the chair appeared in my office the morning after the committee’s primary meeting and subjected me to a tantrum. With clenched fists and a beet-red face, the chair of the committee threw a tantrum that included a string of accusations, such as “stabbing me in the back” and behaving in the treacherous manner that he and his colleagues ought to have expected of a “faggot.” Apparently, the chair thought I had complained to the dean that he had been derelict in following the established law school procedures and that I was sneaking behind his back to discredit him. In fact, I remained utterly clueless as to what those procedures were and was reduced to tears as the chair of the committee spat on me and called me dirty names. During this tirade, the chair of the committee never shared with me his committee’s reasons, their recommendation, or the news that I had a right to appear before the committee. Nor did he share this information with me thereafter.[...]

Affording a federal cause of action, ENDA would offer LGBT public employees more options for discovering the underlying reasons for job discrimination against them. ENDA would also provide incentives for the states to educate supervisors about the facts regarding sexual and gender minorities, as well as the costs of homophobia.

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