Friday, October 20, 2006

Pro-Marriage Message at Root of Employee's Dismissal

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A Virginia man has allegedly been fired from his job for supporting a state ballot initiative defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Luis Padilla was reportedly terminated from his employment at a Cargill Foods plant in Harrisonburg because of a written message on the rear window of his pickup truck that read: "Please, vote for marriage on Nov. 7." That is the day when voters in Virginia will be considering a proposed amendment to the state constitution protecting traditional marriage.
According to the Daily-News Record in Harrisonburg, Padilla -- who worked in Cargill's human resources office -- was dismissed for insubordination when he refused to remove the message, which company officials could be considered harassment. He apparently had removed the sign when first requested, then later posted it again and parked his truck outside the company parking lot. The newspaper report indicates the former Cargill employee was trying to reach an accommodation with the company about the message when he was fired.
The Family Foundation of Virginia sent a letter to Cargill, calling for Padilla's reinstatement. However, the large private company has denied the request, saying "Cargill is not required to allow Mr. Padilla to impose his beliefs on his co-workers." Victoria Cobb, executive director of the Family Foundation, says Cargill is engaging in viewpoint discrimination.
"We are seeing something that is starting to happen across America and even here in Virginia, where political correctness has run amok. That's the simplest way to put it," says Cobb. "The legal letter that we have received back from Cargill's legal department has basically said that they have these 'Valuing Differences' initiatives and they have this 'Everyone Matters' policy; and yet, apparently, Mr. Padilla's views are not respected."
Cobb believes Padilla, a father of two who is a native of Honduras and is in America on a work permit, is the victim of viewpoint discrimination and is being denied his right to free speech.
"If nothing else, even if there is not legal recourse the way we'd like for there to be legal recourse, there is absolutely a sense that this is intolerable behavior from a company," Cobb states. She also feels it is "devastating to our democracy" when there are individuals who believe, like Cargill, that simply posting a sign in a car window constitutes "imposing" one's beliefs on others.
"It is abundantly clear that those who seek to impose same-sex 'marriage' on society are not at all interested in tolerance of other viewpoints," says Cobb in a press release. "And they are willing to go so far as to destroy a man's family and take his livelihood to get their way."
A spokesman for the Family Foundation-affiliated Valley Family Forum echoes those sentiments. "This action exposes the hypocrisy of people who claim to stand for 'tolerance' but who instead do all they can to silence all opposing views," says Dean Welty. "In this case, those who accuse Mr. Padilla of 'harassment' have themselves become the 'harassers."
According to Cobb, who is also a spokesperson for the group, Padilla has not yet decided whether to file a lawsuit against Cargill, noting Virginia law gives employers a great deal of latitude when it comes to firing employees. She says she is hopeful legal action will not be necessary and, toward that end, encourages Cargill to reinstate Padilla immediately.
On Election Day 2006, voters in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin will consider constitutional amendments declaring marriage to be only the union of one man and one woman. The president of the group Americans for Truth believes the amendments should pass with little difficulty in five of those eight states.
"Arizona and Wisconsin are more of a battleground," Peter LaBarbera asserts, "and then there's a special situation in Colorado where there's a pro-domestic partner initiative that was very smartly, by the way, put up by homosexual activists. So those are the three states to watch. I think the rest of the states will pass handily."
In the case in all of the 20 states where a marriage amendment has been adopted by voters, the average approval rating has been 68 percent: SEE CHART

So, my question is if 40% of the country has passed inititives to ban same-sex "marriages" via a vote from the people, and marriage has been understood and governed by our countries laws to be between a man and a women, why is it so awful for Mr. Padilla to express his views on normative practices?


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