Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Names of gay city employees may be released

Seattle City Light employee Philip Irvin wants the names of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) city employees who are members of a city-sponsored club working on issues of concern to their community.

The City of Seattle concedes that they may have to release the names. Members of the LGBT club have sued to keep their names from being disclosed. They claim there is no legitimate public interest to granting Irvin's request and will infringe on people's privacy.

Irvin claims to have been discriminated against because of his conservative anti-LGBT views. He once attempted to form a city-sponsored group for "ex-Gays."

A city light veteran, who is heterosexual and spoke on the condition of anonymity, told this writer that it is not a matter of discrimination but honoring a city ordinance and internal employee policy that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation among other protected groups. Irvin's actions are contrary to this ordinance and policy which puts him at odds with his co-workers.

King County Superior Court Judge John Erlick could decide the case on Thursday.

My two cents... Irvin's request amounts to harassment. What legitimate purpose could releasing the names serve other than to invite discrimination upon these people or, potentially, "out" them to family, friends and, even, their churches. I don't think a closeted Mormon would be received well by his elders after being "outed".

I don't see the public benefit from knowing the sexual orientation of the person on the other end of the phone line at the City Light customer service call center. All I care about is that the person is knowledgeable enough to answer my questions, take my payment or update me on an outage in my area.

Maybe Irvin should stop meddling in the affairs of his co-workers and go start his "ex-Gay" group somewhere else.

The courts would be wise reject his request.

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