University Associate V-P of Human Resources Sues Over Firing Based on Anti-Gay-Rights Newspaper Article:

Here's the Complaint, in Crystal Dixon v. University of Toledo. Here's the article itself:

I read with great interest Michael Miller’s April 6 column, "Gay Rights and Wrongs."

I respectfully submit a different perspective for Miller and Toledo Free Press readers to consider.

First, human beings, regardless of their choices in life, are of ultimate value to God and should be viewed the same by others. At the same time, one’s personal choices lead to outcomes either positive or negative.

As a Black woman who happens to be an alumnus of the University of Toledo’s Graduate School, an employee and business owner, I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are "civil rights victims." Here’s why. I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a Black woman. I am genetically and biologically a Black woman and very pleased to be so as my Creator intended. Daily, thousands of homosexuals make a life decision to leave the gay lifestyle evidenced by the growing population of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex Gays) and Exodus International just to name a few. Frequently, the individuals report that the impetus to their change of heart and lifestyle was a transformative experience with God; a realization that their choice of same-sex practices wreaked havoc in their psychological and physical lives. Charlene E. Cothran, publisher of Venus Magazine, was an aggressive, strategic supporter of gay rights and a practicing lesbian for 29 years, before she renounced her sexuality and gave Jesus Christ stewardship of her life. The gay community vilified her angrily and withdrew financial support from her magazine, upon her announcement that she was leaving the lesbian lifestyle. Rev. Carla Thomas Royster, a highly respected New Jersey educator and founder and pastor of Blessed Redeemer Church in Burlington, NJ, married to husband Mark with two sons, bravely exposed her previous life as a lesbian in a tell-all book. When asked why she wrote the book, she responded "to set people free… I finally obeyed God."

Economic data is irrefutable: The normative statistics for a homosexual in the USA include a Bachelor’s degree: For gay men, the median household income is $83,000/yr. (Gay singles $62,000; gay couples living together $130,000), almost 80% above the median U.S. household income of $46,326, per census data. For lesbians, the median household income is $80,000/yr. (Lesbian singles $52,000; Lesbian couples living together $96,000); 36% of lesbians reported household incomes in excess of $100,000/yr. Compare that to the median income of the non-college educated Black male of $30,539. The data speaks for itself.

The reference to the alleged benefits disparity at the University of Toledo was rather misleading. When the University of Toledo and former Medical University of Ohio merged, both entities had multiple contracts for different benefit plans at substantially different employee cost sharing levels. To suggest that homosexual employees on one campus are being denied benefits avoids the fact that ALL employees across the two campuses regardless of their sexual orientation, have different benefit plans. The university is working diligently to address this issue in a reasonable and cost-efficient manner, for all employees, not just one segment.

My final and most important point. There is a divine order. God created human kind male and female (Genesis 1:27). God created humans with an inalienable right to choose. There are consequences for each of our choices, including those who violate God’s divine order. It is base human nature to revolt and become indignant when the world or even God Himself, disagrees with our choice that violates His divine order. Jesus Christ loves the sinner but hates the sin (John 8:1-11.) Daily, Jesus Christ is radically transforming the lives of both straight and gay folks and bringing them into a life of wholeness: spiritually, psychologically, physically and even economically. That is the ultimate right.

Crystal Dixon lives in Maumee.

The university apparently agrees that Dixon was fired because of the article, but argues that the firing was justified:

A letter from [University of Toledo President Lloyd Jacobs] to Ms. Dixon said her public position was in direct contradiction with university values and told her that her position "calls into question your continued ability to lead a critical function within the administration as personnel actions or decisions taken in your capacity as associate vice president for human resources could be challenged or placed at risk. The result is a loss of confidence in you as an administrator."

Ms. Dixon cited her 25-year career in human resources in which she has hired and recommended the hiring of both homosexual and heterosexual people based on their qualifications.

"To say that I cannot have a personal opinion regarding the practice of some humans and not be effective in my job as a human resources leader is preposterous given my track record for the past 25 years," she said.

Matt Lockwood, a UT spokesman, said yesterday the university welcomes dissent and input from others and the exchange of ideas, but her public expressions called into question her ability to do the functions of her job.

"Certain jobs within a public institution have restrictions on what those people in those jobs can express," he said.

The University of Toledo is a state-run university. Three questions:

(1) Is the University's position constitutionally permissible, on the grounds that "the employee's interest in expressing herself on this matter [was] not be outweighed by [some] injury the speech could cause to 'the interest of the State, as an employer, in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs through its employees'" (the so-called Pickering balance)?

(2) Is the University's position professionally and ethically proper, or should public employers -- and especially universities, even when it comes to administrative employees -- have more tolerance for public debate on such issues?

(3) If the University's action is proper, then it suggests that pretty much any public speech that suggests that homosexuality is immoral could lead to a public employee's being fired, at least if the employee does something related to human resources (which would presumably include employees who are simply middle managers, and not just vice presidents of human resources). After all, it's pretty clear that Dixon wasn't fired for some especially rude way of putting her views, and that she couldn't have avoided the firing by just using different words -- it was the public expression of the views that was the cause of the firing.

Given this, how should people who share Ms. Dixon's religious views, and who are trying to figure out how militantly to fight against pro-gay-rights causes, react? Of course, you might think the answer is "change your views, and accept homosexuality as perfectly proper." But let's assume that those who oppose homosexuality continue to disagree with you on that. What should a reasonable person in their shoes do, faced with the prospect that expressing their views -- and quite likely expressing any opposition to pro-gay-rights policies, when the opposition rests on a claim that homosexuality doesn't merit legal protection of various sorts -- is becoming a firing offense as to a large range of jobs?

It does seem pretty clear that at least some of the progress of gay rights -- not all, but some -- is coming at he expense of the freedom (whether or not constitutionally protected freedom) of people who hold anti-gay religious views. Doubtless many who support gay rights understandably think this a fair tradeoff, especially when the rights are the rights of public employees, which have long been constrained (and in my view quite reasonably constrained) in certain ways. But what should be the reaction of those who oppose homosexuality on religious grounds, and care a good deal about their and their coreligionists' ability to express their views and act in accordance with those views in their private lives?

Thanks to Religion Clause for the pointer.