In 2002, the Christian support ministry, Parents and Friends of Ex-gays (PFOX) applied to the National Education Association for a booth in their annual convention exhibit hall. Despite having space at the convention and initially cashing the PFOX check for the application fee, the NEA rejected the PFOX application. The NEA said PFOX’s views of sexual orientation were at odds with those of the NEA.
Given that the NEA is based in Washington DC, PFOX filed a discrimination complaint against the NEA with the DC Office of Human Rights. The basis of the alleged discrimination was the sexual orientation of the members of PFOX. To support its action, PFOX relied on the fact that in DC, sexual orientation is included in the Human Rights Act. The definition of sexual orientation in the DC HRA is
“Sexual orientation” means male or female homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality, by preference or practice.
In May, 2005, the DC OHR ruled that there was no discrimination in the NEA action. However, with an appeal from PFOX, the OHR allowed a review. After another denial, PFOX filed suit in the Superior Court of DC in May, 2008. On June 26, 2009, Judge Maurice Ross affirmed the decision of the DC OHR that there was no probable cause for PFOX’s discrimination complaint. According to Ross, the NEA had not unlawfully discriminated against PFOX by excluding the group from the NEA exposition hall.
Despite losing the case, PFOX issued a press release claiming victory. In his ruling, Judge Ross evaluated the claim of discrimination in light of the DC statute. Ross found that ex-gays are covered by the DC law due to the inclusion of sexual orientation. Ex-gay as a term did not need to be included in law since the term, however defined, relates to an adult sexual practice or preference. Continue reading “PFOX: What’s good for the District of Columbia is not good for the nation”