EEOC Nod Contested

Article excerpt

Byline: Amanda Carpenter, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

EEOC nod contested

Safe schools czar Kevin Jennings isn't the only Obama appointee getting an earful from religious conservatives.

Gay rights activist Chai Feldblum's nomination to become a commissioner on the five-person Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) board is also vehemently opposed by family-values groups.

Her nomination was passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last week and is now headed for a full Senate vote. Groups such as the Traditional Values Coalition, Focus on the Family, Liberty Counsel and Concerned Women for America are questioning things Ms. Feldblum, who is openly gay, has said in recent years about the usefulness of marriage and the way religious freedom is, in her view, at odds with sexual freedom.

One of the religious advocates' biggest complaints is Ms. Feldblum's support of a 2006 petition for Beyond Marriage, a group that advocates expanding the definition of marriage. Marriage is not the only worthy form of family or relationship, and it should not be legally and economically privileged above all others, the petition said.

The petition demanded that the government start recognizing nontraditional families, including queer couples who decide to jointly create and raise a child with another queer person or couple, in two households and committed, loving households in which there is more than one conjugal partner.

The latter statement prompted widespread criticism, leading the education committee's Democratic chairman to bring it up in a hearing.

That is polygamy to me, said Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat, during her Senate confirmation hearing in November. Can you please enlighten us as to whether you support polygamy or not? he said, a question she was not afraid to answer as evidenced by her giggling into her microphone as the senator asked her about it.

She was ready for that question. In fact, the day before the hearing she sent Beyond Marriage a letter asking for her name to be removed from the petition.

Ms. Feldblum told Mr. Harkin that it was mistake to sign the document although she said she agreed with the general thrust of the statement that we ought to support caregiving relationships. …