Legalizing discrimination against LGBT people, by individuals and organizations employed or funded by the government, is a reflection of moral decay within our society.

An amendment approved on July 11 by the Republican majority in the House Appropriations Committee to the 2019 funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education does just this. The approved amendment allows federally funded child welfare placing agencies to discriminate against children in their care and qualified prospective parents based on sexual orientation, gender identity and religion.

Allowing people and organizations receiving taxpayer funds to discriminate against a segment of the population they view as immoral, based upon an immutable characteristic having nothing to do with character and integrity, couldn’t be more reprehensible. While people may differ in opinion as to what is sinful and immoral, such things are always based upon actions and behaviors — not unalterable traits.

This seemingly endless mistreatment of LGBT people is based upon a sincerely held religious belief that their sexual orientation and gender identities are preferences or choices, which is contrary to uniform findings from professional mental health, medical and scientific organizations. What is unethical and immoral is denying people justice, fairness and rights because of who they are, irrespective of what they do. As Pope Francis purportedly said, earlier this year, to an abuse survivor in a private meeting, “God made you this way and loves you this way, and the pope loves you this way.”

An article published by Science Daily in June titled “Psychological Adjustment, No difference in outcomes for children of same-sex versus different-sex parents,” states: “most studies have found no difference in child psychological adjustment or in the quality of parenting and family relationships for gay or lesbian parents, compared to heterosexual parents.”

As a mediator and a conflict resolution consultant, I am having an incredibly difficult time understanding why it’s acceptable for the government to use taxpayer money to fund organizations that discriminate against children under their care and qualified prospective parents when LGBT people pay an equal share of taxes. This type of absurdity is destined to occur when people refuse to separate the person from the behavior.

Who’s engaging in unethical and immoral behavior by punishing individuals for entering into committed relationships with other consenting adults, rather than living their entire lives alone and celibate?

As a mediator, when dealing with conflicts involving differing values and moral differences, it’s essential to develop mutual understanding and respect between all the parties. But how do you develop mutual understanding and respect when one side views a person’s sexual orientation as a “sin” and therefore insists on trying to change it? How do you develop such things when one side falsely links pedophilia to a person’s sexual orientation, when all the credible research reflects that gays are no more likely to molest children or be sexually attracted to them than are straight people? The only research reflecting otherwise falsely assumes that a person who molests a child of their same sex is gay.

International mediators Tracy Allen and Eric Galton state, “The way we change our minds on moral issues is by interacting with others, especially because we are not good at seeking evidence that contradicts our beliefs.” That’s how you gain emotional self-awareness.

As an example, consider a statement made by the Rev. Rob Schenck, a once militant and very self-righteous evangelical minister who recently stated in an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross,  “I can certainly speak for myself in those times and say that I was not the most self-aware. I really didn’t understand myself.”

Time will tell whether Congress will pass a version of the 2019 funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education which includes the amendment legalizing discrimination against LGBT people by recipients of taxpayer money. If it does, it would be a reflection of moral decay within our society and goes against the very principles which led to the creation of our great nation. 

Mediator Mark Baer is a Pasadena attorney who focuses his practice on conflict resolution and mediating divorces and child custody cases, among other types of family and interpersonal conflicts.