Friday, June 16, 2006

EPA under fire for holding Pride events

The Washington Blade reports that conservative groups are flooding the EPA with email and phone calls in an attempt to force them to cancel planned events commemorating [EPA] Gay and Lesbian Pride Month during June. As good as these events sound—the first was a talk by actress, writer and producer Sheryl Lee Ralph on the subject of AIDS on behalf of the National Minority AIDS Council; the next is planned to be a talk by Gilles Marchildon, executive director of Equality Canada—I, too, wonder if this is a good use of tax dollars.
more . . .

While I would not begrudge Federal employees perks comparable to those in the private sector, (though perhaps I should, since Federal employees' compensation is 93% more than private sector employees), this seems to go well beyond that. My employer has not, nor have any of my past employers, declared June Gay Pride month; and I have never been invited to talks about AIDS and marriage equality on the company's dime. But it doesn't stop there . . .
[The Bush administration] has agreed to sponsor a wide range of events representing other minorities and causes. Among them have been African-American History Month, Save Your Vision Week, and Leif Erikson Day, which honors the memory of the 11th century Scandinavian explorer.
And, it is not just at the EPA where such perks are provided:
Between a half dozen and a dozen agencies were expected to sponsor or host Gay Pride events this month. Among them, he said, were EPA; the Departments of Agriculture, Transportation, State, and Justice; the National Institutions of Health; and the U.S. Bureau of the Census.
In the private sector generally this type of event, if held at all, would have some tie-in to a business purpose. How about a seminar on public choice theory, instead?

Those conservative groups should be working to save the taxpayer dollars spent pandering to African-Americans and Scandinavians, too. By singling out gays, they just prove their bigotry.