My recent opinion piece in the Lincoln Tribune (read it here) explains why “sexual orientation” is not a protected nondiscrimination class. The article has elicited a comment from a reader that warrants my response.
The reader writes that religion would not be included in the list of protected classes if “immutable” characteristics were the only ones to be considered when creating a nondiscrimination protected class. Therefore, the reader points out, this logic cannot be applied to excluding sexual orientation from the list of protected classes.
While understanding the legal jargon behind protected nondiscrimination classes is complicated the matter of religion is very straightforward. Religious devotion does indeed change many times throughout a person’s life and is the one fluid protected status typically included in nondiscrimination provisions. However, it is included not because of its unchangeable nature, like race, age or gender, but because religious liberty is a constitutionally protected activity, and thus, holds a special, inviolate position in our legal system. Sexual orientation does not hold the same legal protection in our constitution, nor does it maintain an immutable characteristic, therefore, should not be included in the list of protected classes.