Sunday, December 5, 2010

Lawrence Holmes: Havertown's Moral Tutor

Haverford Township Commissioner Larry Holmes responds to my Nov. 19 column about his effort to create a local Human Relations Commission to combat the imaginary problem of anti-gay discrimination in the township.

Holmes writes:
When governing bodies declare that such discrimination is wrong, several things happen. People who suffer actual discrimination have an avenue of relief; people who look to their elected officials for leadership and example see a clear illustration of it; and, finally, people who are gay have the positive reinforcement of their leaders standing up for them and declaring that discrimination of that nature is wrong. Whether people suffer real discrimination or not, they have the confidence to know they live in a society that may not be perfect in its practices, but strives toward perfection in its goals.
First of all, who looks to a bunch of township commissioners for "leadership" on anything, let alone to be their moral tutors and punishers if they don't live up to their liberal ideas of who should qualify for special protections under the law?

Contrary to what Mr. Holmes says, It actually matters whether gays are actually suffering discrimination to determine whether a law is actually needed.

As I pointed out in my column, Swarthmore Borough passed such an ordinance and created such a board three years ago. In that time, not a single complaint has been made. Swarthmore mayor Susan Smythe admitted to me that the ordiance they passed and the Human Relations board they formed turned out to be "a solution in search of a problem."

But it worse than that. Holmes' proposal is an act of moral grandstanding. He fancies himself to be "example" for his constituents to follow. I very much doubt Haverford residents elect their township officials to be their moral tutors. They elect them to get the cops paid, the streets cleaned and all that other boring stuff. They certainly don't elect them to be avatars of identity group politics.


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