Monday, May 21, 2012

Wonder what Jones Walker clients think about Leviticus?

When Rep. Andy Gipson (R-Braxton) is not attempting to reenact the Babylonian Exile at the state legislature, he serves as Special Counsel for the regional corporate defense firm, Jones Walker.  This rather innocuous fact has taken on greater significance in light of Rep. Gipson's interesting homily on homosexuality.

On its website, Jones Walker provides an index of its "Representative Clients," a list that touts some of the more gay-friendly employers in corporate America.  Take, for example, General Electric Company, an organization that has formed a GLBTA Alliance to "attract, develop, and retain gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender employees."  You will also find Chevron Corporation, the first major integrated energy company to include sexual orientation in its nondiscriminatory policies and offer domestic partner benefits to its employees.  The list also includes Sodexo, a leading integrated food company that, in 2009, was named one of the top ten employers for the LGBT community by DiversityInc.  This is to say nothing of those companies on the list who have adopted strong anti-discrimination policies like Devon Energy Corp. or Tulane University, a school with an Office of Muticultural Affairs that welcomes members of the LGBT community to campus.  

These companies may be interested to know that one of their lawyers has gone public with a rather different view on equality and such.    


Kingfish said...

So now we are trying to get people fired because of their political views?

Hmmm.... interesting coming from somone defending a killer up in Greenwood.

Cottonmouth said...

That's quite a non sequitur,even for you, James.

Kingfish said...

The fact is, you are trying to create problems for him in his private sector job based upon his religious or political beliefs. Period.

I thought lawyers were supposed to support concepts like freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, that sort of thing. You can't handle losing to him or beating him in the political field. No, you have to go after his job and I write this as someone who opposed him on his two main bills this year.

Justin said...

Does freedom of thought and freedom of conscience apply to bigotry and misinformation? After all, the dude thinks that gays spread disease at a higher rate than heterosexuals.

People have used religion to support their bigotry in the past - i.e. christianity's explicit support of slavery. Why should he be allowed to do it now?

He's an at-will employee, I presume. Being punished or fired for being a bigot is capitalism at its best. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion doesn't mean you get a free pass to spout bigotry with no repercussions.

Cottonmouth said...

Rep. Gipson is free to believe whatever he wishes and to shout those beliefs from the roof tops. Heck, I'll even do him the favor of making sure everyone hears him. If his beliefs are incompatible with the stated policies of his emploer's clients and it causes him grief at work, that's his problem, not mine.

You sound a bit like one of the folks who shout "freedom of speech!" anytime someone loses their job for using offensive language over the Wal-mart PA.

yocona said...

"The fact is, you are trying to create problems for him in his private sector job based upon his religious or political beliefs."

Representative Gipson created his own problems when he aired his caustic commentary on Facebook.

Furthermore, his are not "religious or political beliefs." For Gipson--and for many of our state legislators--his religious beliefs ARE his political beliefs.

There is no room for theocracy in democracy. If our elected officials are not smart enough to understand this, then we all need to know about it.

EAB said...

Kingfish, I think we'd all agree that Gipson would -- and should -- have been fired in a hot second if he'd written a similar Facebook comment about interracial marriage.

It's not like it's any big surprise that Gipson is morally opposed to homosexuality. Everyone who's heard him talk for more than about 30 seconds could have guessed that, including his employers and colleagues at Jones Walker. But what's happened here is that he deliberately turned his private bigotry into a public scandal, thereby embarrassing the whole state.

Gipson is a lawyer and prominent politician. He has almost certainly had some media training, and the first rule of media training is that you can't be misquoted on the things you don't say. It wasn't like this was something that just slipped out over drinks at Parlor Market, either, or that he made a bad response to a reporter's question. He deliberately took to Facebook to comment on Obama's announcement, apropos of absolutely nothing. This scandal is entirely of his own creation.

He should have known better to begin with, and his subsequent statements have only made the problem worse. If he'd apologized in the beginning, this never would have become a national story. He handled it very badly indeed, and now he has to live with the fallout.

Bottom line, the problem isn't just his bigoted political opinion, but that he was very, very stupid about how, when, and where he chose to express it.

Bill Dees said...

Here's another bottom line: What do you call people, like Gipson, who seek to impose their religious beliefs on everyone by force of law? The Taliban.