- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

EEOC nod contested

“Safe schools czar” Kevin Jennings isn’t the only Obama appointee getting an earful from religious conservatives.

Gay rights activist Chai Feldblum’s nomination to become a commissioner on the five-person Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) board is also vehemently opposed by family-values groups.

Her nomination was passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last week and is now headed for a full Senate vote. Groups such as the Traditional Values Coalition, Focus on the Family, Liberty Counsel and Concerned Women for America are questioning things Ms. Feldblum, who is openly gay, has said in recent years about the usefulness of marriage and the way religious freedom is, in her view, at odds with sexual freedom.

One of the religious advocates’ biggest complaints is Ms. Feldblum’s support of a 2006 petition for Beyond Marriage, a group that advocates expanding the definition of marriage. “Marriage is not the only worthy form of family or relationship, and it should not be legally and economically privileged above all others,” the petition said.

The petition demanded that the government start recognizing nontraditional families, including “queer couples who decide to jointly create and raise a child with another queer person or couple, in two households” and “committed, loving households in which there is more than one conjugal partner.”

The latter statement prompted widespread criticism, leading the education committee’s Democratic chairman to bring it up in a hearing.

“That is polygamy to me,” said Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat, during her Senate confirmation hearing in November. “Can you please enlighten us as to whether you support polygamy or not?” he said, a question she was not afraid to answer as evidenced by her giggling into her microphone as the senator asked her about it.

She was ready for that question. In fact, the day before the hearing she sent Beyond Marriage a letter asking for her name to be removed from the petition.

Ms. Feldblum told Mr. Harkin that it was “mistake” to sign the document although she said she “agreed with the general thrust of the statement that we ought to support caregiving relationships.”

But the traditional values crowd has lots of other complaints. They also worry about advocacy for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Leadership in churches and Christian business owners should be very concerned about the Senate placing her on the EEOC and doubly so if ENDA passes, as the EEOC is the final arbiter of disagreements between employers and employees,” said a statement from the Traditional Values Coalition.

They fear the EEOC may be a “steppingstone” for a later appointment to the Supreme Court, too.

Predictions

Former Vice President Al Gore says the Earth’s polar ice caps may soon disappear completely because of global warming.

Mr. Gore, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, told listeners at the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen on Monday that he had spoken with polar scientists at the conference who told him that new data suggests “suggest a 75 percent chance the entire polar ice cap will melt in summer within the next five to seven years.”

Fact checking

The Associated Press wanted to assure readers that their reporters had thoroughly investigated 1,073 “Climategate” e-mails taken from computers at the University of East Anglia in a Dec. 12 story.

“The AP studied all the e-mails for context, with five reporters reading and rereading them about 1 million words in total,” it said. The article carried three bylines and concluded that although the scientists may have questioned global warming in private a “vast body of evidence” proves the world is warming because of human activity.

But five is still less than half the 11 reporters assigned to vet former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s memoir. A Nov. 13 “fact check” of “Going Rogue” carried one reporter’s byline but listed 10 other AP writers who contributed to the piece.

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@ washingtontimes.com.

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