Ask the White Guy: LGBT Rights Are Human Rights

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.


Question:

As an active-duty member, there are items in the magazine that I personally can’t do, such as condone or support gay/lesbian lifestyle. We are still “don’t ask, don’t tell” … There are many good articles regarding race, gender and ethnicity, but I just can’t support the other.

Answer:

The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is an executive order from President Clinton’s administration. From the recent Human Rights Campaign debates, I’m pretty sure if a Democrat is elected president, LGBT people will be allowed to openly serve. This is a trend that is reflected in corporate America–more than half of the Fortune 500 companies now provide domestic-partner health benefits.

We recently asked several chief diversity officers in a roundtable discussion about “backlash” to partner benefits. All responded in the same vein: “This is how we do business; if you don’t like it, then you shouldn’t do business here.” You’ll see the responses in our Nov./Dec. 2007 issue of DiversityInc magazine.

Right now, you have the option to not “support” LGBT human rights, but that could change in a little more than a year. Considering history shows that limiting human rights has not proved to be a sustainable policy, I suspect that one way or another, you will find yourself in a military that is compelled by law to respect the orientation of the Americans who chose to serve their country.

By the way, it’s grossly insulting to call someone’s orientation a “lifestyle.”

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