Contact: Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays, 804-453-4737
BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md., Jan. 19, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- Testifying before the Baltimore County (Maryland) Council, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) has asked Councilmember Tom Quark, the sponsor of a proposed sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination bill, to include former homosexuals in his legislation.
"Councilmember Quark's legislation must specifically include former homosexuals to ensure non-discrimination against unpopular minority groups like the ex-gay community," said Grace Harley. "No councilmember should vote for this bill if it excludes former homosexuals. Ex-gays like me deserve the same equal rights that gays enjoy. We urge Quark to include all minorities in his bill, and not just favored groups."
Below are excerpts of Harley's testimony:
"Councilmember Tom Quirk, as the sponsor of Human Relations Bill No. 3-12, which would protect sexual orientation and gender identity or expression from discrimination, I ask that you include ex-gays in your legislation. The bill defines 'sexual orientation' as homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality. Your current definition is not broad enough to cover all individuals from discrimination because the definition does not specifically include former homosexuality. Ex-gays are discriminated against not because they are now heterosexual, but because they are former homosexuals.
"Each year thousands of men and women with unwanted same-sex attractions make the personal decision to leave homosexuality. However, there are others in society who refuse to respect individual self-determination. Consequently, formerly gay men and women are reviled simply because they dare to exist.
"Two years ago PFOX sued the Washington D.C. Office of Human Rights because it refused to extend protection to former homosexuals under the city's sexual orientation non-discrimination law. So now former homosexuals are entitled to the same legal protections as others and recognized as a protected class under D.C.'s Human Rights Act.
"Baltimore County should do the same and extend sexual orientation protection to the ex-gay community. If you can provide protection to people who change their gender, then you can certainly provide protection to people who change their sexual orientation. All it takes is to add two words, 'former homosexuality,' to the bill's definition, to ensure protection from discrimination for everyone and not just some. Councilmember Quirk, I know you can do this because you believe in diversity and safety for us all."
(Baltimore County Councilmembers: Tom Quirk, Vicki Almond, Todd Huff, Kenneth N. Oliver, David Marks, Cathy Bevins, and John lszewski at 410-887-3196)