Fwd: U.S. Court Allows Firing for Anti-Gay Remarks
Samuel Martin Ventola
samuelv at IX.NETCOM.COM
Mon Dec 1 13:51:51 PST 1997
I attach without comment the following Reuters news story.
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Approved: editor at clarinet.com
From: C-reuters at clari.net (Reuters)
Subject: U.S. Court Allows Firing for Anti-Gay Remarks
Organization: Copyright 1997 by Reuters ** via ClariNet **
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court let stand Monday a
ruling that San Francisco's firing of a human rights
commissioner for anti-gay remarks does not violate his
constitutional free speech rights.
The justices rejected an appeal by the Rev. Eugene Lumpkin,
the pastor of a Baptist church who was removed from the city's
Human Rights Commission in 1993 after he advocated violence
While serving as commissioner, Lumpkin during news media
interviews condemned homosexuality as a sin and quoted passages
in the Bible prescribing death for practicing homosexuals.
``It's sad that people have AIDS and what have you, but it
says right here in the scripture that the homosexual lifestyle
is an abomination against God,'' Lumpkin was quoted as saying in
a June 26, 1993 article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
After his firing, Lumpkin sued, alleging that his rights had
been violated and seeking to be reinstated and to get
In his Supreme Court appeal, Lumpkin argued that government
employees may not be fired solely for public statements about
their personal religious beliefs because, he said, ``The right
to religious belief and profession is absolute.''
The high court denied his appeal without any comment or
The justices left intact a U.S. appeals court ruling that
Lumpkin has a right to state his views, but that the First
Amendment does not ``assure him job security when he preached
homophobia while serving as a city official.''
The appeals court said the First Amendment does not require
the city to tolerate members of the human rights commission who
make statements contrary to the panel's goal of eliminating
prejudice and discrimination.
``Lumpkin's First Amendment rights may be trumped by
important interests of the city he agreed to serve,'' the
appeals court concluded in upholding a federal judge's ruling
for the city.
San Francisco urged the Supreme Court to deny Lumpkin's
appeal, saying there was no need to review ``legal conclusions
that are so obviously correct.''
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