Friday, February 10, 2012

No First Amendment for Her

Crystal Dixon was the head administrator of human resources at a public university, the University of Toledo. Ms. Dixon raised controversy when she wrote a newspaper column stating her opinion that homosexuals do not need the protection of civil rights laws. Ms. Dixon is black, and her argument rested on the distinction between race and sexual preference, as well as on her own moral disapproval of homosexuality. Although she did not write the article in her professional capacity, the University of Toledo fired her. She sued, but Judge David A. Katz has now ruled that she did not have First Amendment protections from being dismissed because her job involved hiring and firing, although there is no evidence that she ever treated any employees or potential employees unfairly because of her views.

This seems to me a strange and dangerous decision. People have the right to hold their own views on morality. If a job requires them to keep these views quiet in order to carry out their tasks (as may sometimes be the case), still the job cannot encompass their entire lives. When a public employer dictates that these views cannot be aired outside of the job, though, the government attempts to define what kinds of moral views are correct or incorrect.

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