published Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Unbridled discrimination

It is disappointing, but hardly surprising, that David Fowler, president of the biased Family Action Council of Tennessee, issued scathingly critical comments last week against BlueCross BlueShield for including gay, lesbian and transgender business owners among a list of minority businesses that it recently notified of opportunities to compete for the insurance giant's wide-ranging vendor contracts. The former state senator, after all, has made a point of attacking the constitutional due process rights of people with different sexual orientation. Earlier this year, for example, he persuaded the Legislature and governor to adopt a law prohibiting local governments from enacting ordinances to ban anti-gay discrimination by local employers.

What is surprising is Fowler's smugly sanctimonious criticism of Blue Cross for simply doing what federal law requires of the insurer -- and what humane consideration of other Americans automatically should compel -- in the way of non-discriminatory business conduct. Without such non-discriminatory policies, moreover, BlueCross could not compete for the broad scope of federal contracts it has long pursued for the administration of regional Medicare and Medicaid districts across the county. Such contracts have produced innumerable jobs and substantial business for the state's largest insurer, a non-profit whose health-insurance policies are vital to millions of citizens.

Would Fowler really want BlueCross to thumb its nose at constitutionally protected and federally mandated non-discrimination policies, and degrade its ability to provide broad health insurance benefits, simply to satisfy his organization's mean-spirited and purposefully discriminatory agenda against citizens and business owners who don't meet his narrow criteria for "family values"?

Well, yes. He makes no bones about his wish to exclude fair opportunity and humane consideration for other Americans. His agenda, which also promotes re-establishment of old and presently banned restrictions on women's reproductive rights, proves that.

Fowler's tirade against BlueCross is clearly disingenuous. He initiated his Family Action Council's discriminatory crusade his year to push a broader bill in the Legislature to prevent local governments not just from banning discrimination against gays, but also to prevent them from setting local standards higher than those of the state for health insurance, minimum wages and family leave.

Talk about family values. Many families merit, and would benefit significantly, from higher standards in all those areas. Yet Fowler's misnamed Family Action Council would follow the Darwinian national Republican agenda of restricting access to such constructive and humane efforts. This is not a true "family action" agenda; it is a business-backed agenda that is currently playing out in newly minted Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country.

It apparently has escaped Fowler's notice that average working families in Tennessee have seen their inflation-adjusted income decline, their health insurance whittled or abolished, their job opportunities diminish, and their family-oriented benefits stuck in the cellar for most of the past decade, thanks to regressive Republican opposition to equitable wages, education aid, tax reform and health care reform.

Fowler is mainly miffed that the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which initially supported his anti-family values bill, backed away from opposition to the bill in Nashville. That led to the bill being stripped to a mostly anti-gay bill, proving that gays are still easy to pick on.

Ironically, Fowler's Family Action Council's mission statement claims to promote and defend a culture that values "healthy families" and "communities (that) come about when basic values from the Bible are embraced." If Fowler and his organization judged different people less harshly and more deeply valued health care, reasonable job benefits for working families, and a caring, non-discriminatory approach to all citizens, they might learn how to live up to the group's name and appropriately pursue the council's mission.

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harrystatel said...

David Fowler - He's Not Blind, but He Does Need Glasses!

David Fowler took $10,000.00 in Tennessee Taxpayer money to study pornography.

"Little" David Fowler. Think about him -- 'cause he's thinking about you (in a creepy way).

Will David become the Grand Inquisitor looking for witch's marks? Will David bring back the rack and gallows for those cavorting with demons, succubi, and evil spirits (Dick Cheney and Henry Kissinger excepted)?

Watch for Ayatollah David at a bedroom window near you--God's own Peeping Tom.

September 14, 2011 at 6:30 a.m.
Ozzy87 said...

L4F, I'm intolerant to the blantant hypocracy of some conservatives. They claim they want less government in our lives, but then want to interject government in our most private decisions. They scream about the federal gov. programs one day and stick their hands out for federal relief funds the next. Perry claims that SS is s scam, but he didn't turn down the SS survivor benefits that helped him go to college. IF BCBS wants to have a more diverse group of suppliers, who told Fowler it is any of his business? Who appointed him overseer to tell private companies what anti discrimination rules they can establish? I thought conservative wanted less government interference in business.

September 14, 2011 at 11:45 a.m.
328Kwebsite said...

My guess is that the Republicans see a need to polarize their base after they have realized that their Tea Party franchise efforts have degraded their public image.

September 14, 2011 at 6:55 p.m.
timbo said...

Libertarians4Freedom... Although I agree with you most of the time, Republicans are just as guilty of interfering in our private lives as the democrats. Abortion is a prime example. If something inside you body isn't under your control, what is? Also, civil liberties aren't the Republicans or Democrats priority. When is is convenient they just ignore your rights.

Republican and democrats are progressives. They just spend money on different things but still want to control our lives.

328KWebsite.. You must be smokin something... The Tea Party won it for the Republicans last election. The Republican will kiss their ass from here to Market Street Bridge this time. You liberals live in a dream world.

September 15, 2011 at 4:46 p.m.
Ozzy87 said...

It's only bs to YOU because YOU'RE not the one being treated unequally. The Terry Schievo case comes to mind. Is that "limited government"? When YOU or anyone else pays my taxes and my living expenses, then you might have a say in WHO I marry. Untill that time it's nonya. Timbo you forget that if it was left up to conservatives on the Supreme Court CONSENTUAL SAME SEX RELATIONS IN THE PRIVACY OF YOUR OWN HOME WOULD BE ILLEGAL. And Perry is still a hypocrite. The same "I got mine, so scr*w you" crowd.

September 15, 2011 at 5:16 p.m.
timbo said...

Ozzy87.....A a true libertarian, which is the truest form of conservatism , wouldn't care who you slept with or who you married. I agree with you,the government has no business legislating morality . Most republicans are traditionalist, not conservative.

September 15, 2011 at 6:26 p.m.
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