by Peter Sprigg
December 19, 2012
The restrictions on freedom imposed by pro-homosexual political correctness grew tighter this week. A 3-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the University of Toledo’s 2008 firing of Crystal Dixon for writing an opinion piece questioning comparisons between the civil rights movement and the homosexual movement.
Dixon was Associate Vice President for Human Resources, and had been promoted several times and received excellent performance appraisals in the years she had served at the University of Toledo. All that changed, however, in April of 2008. First the editor of the Toledo Free Press published a rather simplistic opinion piece saying that he has friends who are gay, and therefore does not understand why anyone would oppose the “gay rights” agenda. Dixon wrote her piece in response, and it was published on April 18, 2008.
Dixon, never identifying who she worked for, began by affirming that “human beings, regardless of their choices in life, are of ultimate value to God and should be viewed the same by others.” This could hardly be taken as endorsing “discrimination” against anyone.
Dixon then went on:
As a Black woman who happens to be an alumnus of the University of Toledo’s GraduateSchool, 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.
In contrast, Dixon wrote, “thousands of homosexuals make a life decision to leave the gay lifestyle.”
Dixon concluded with a statement of her religious convictions:
There is a divine order. God created human kind male and female (Genesis 1:27)… . There are consequences for each of our choices, including those who violate God’s divine order… . 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.
Dixon’s immediate supervisor immediately told her that people had complained about what she wrote. Three days later, Dixon was suspended; on May 12, she was informed that her employment was being terminated.
With the help of the Thomas More Law Center, Dixon sued. Citizens do not forfeit their constitutional rights when they become employees of a government agency (such as the University). While private employers have more discretion in terms of what conduct they permit or prohibit, public employers are bound to respect the exercise of constitutional rights unless it interferes with the individual’s job or the mission of the institution.
Crystal Dixon’s case appears to be a clear violation of her right to free speech. She expressed her personal and religious opinion on an issue of public concern in a forum unrelated to her work, and did so without identifying her employers. For her to be fired under these circumstances would appear to be a clear case of “viewpoint discrimination,” which the law does not permit.
However, the Court of Appeals accepted the University’s argument that her statements did interfere with her work, reasoning that they call into question her commitment, as a Human Resources officer, to enforcing non-discrimination policies that include “sexual orientation.” Yet Dixon had not criticized or even commented upon these university policies, and had never been accused of failing to enforce them. (Her only comment about the university in the opinion piece was one defending its efforts to equalize benefits for all employees.) The record even showed that Dixon had personally hired homosexual employees.
In the brave new world of pro-homosexual political correctness, it is not enough to do what the PC police demand. One must also say and even think the right things, or one’s career may be in jeopardy.
What really lost at the Sixth Circuit was freedom. That much is Crystal clear.