Reporter fired for responding to pro-gay press release

Of course the Bible Brigade is going to jump on this as Christian martyrdom, but the evidence doesn’t bear that out.

Grard was fired by Bill Thompson, editor of the Sentinel and its sister paper the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, shortly after the Nov. 3 election in which Maine voters repealed a same-sex marriage law approved by the Legislature. Grard said he arrived at work the morning after the vote to find an e-mailed press release from the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C., that blamed the outcome of the balloting on hatred of gays.

Grard, who said he’d gotten no sleep the night before, used his own e-mail to send a response.

This is an obviously weak reason to fire anyone, much less an employee of 18 years (note: I heard 17 in an interview on the radio with Grard). The guy has no prior reprimands or anything else on his record. It would seem a massive over reaction by Bill Thompson.

I suspect the failings of the piss-poor newspapers in Maine is the big factor in all this: they need to cut expenses, so firing a long time employee with one of the surely higher salaries is one way to do it. But that isn’t to say the specifics of the incident are irrelevant. Grard shouldn’t have been responding to a press release from work, so he should get slapped around a little for that, but fired? Sure, he represented his employer unprofessionally, but so does the construction worker who doesn’t wear a belt. There needs to be some perspective here.

“They said the Yes-on-1 people were haters. I’m a Christian. I take offense at that,” he said. “I e-mailed them back and said basically, ‘We’re not the ones doing the hating. You’re the ones doing the hating.’”

Offense? That’s it? Grard should feel shame over his prideful bigotry. He’s an ignorant mook who doesn’t want a group to have rights, and he has no interest (or ability) to show how that group having rights would infringe upon his own rights. That’s the definition of a bigot. Reality is a bitch like that. But I would be more amenable to an argument that directly said he should be fired over his bigotry. That isn’t to say I would buy into it – I wouldn’t advocate firing a racist who was able to avoid adversely affecting his job (or the jobs of his coworkers) – but it would be more convincing than the one Bill Thompson is giving.

And of course the Yes on 1 bigots are the ones doing the hating – they aren’t even hiding it! The argument that wretched side put forth all summer and fall long was that homosexuality was a bad thing. (Oh, but not homosexuals! It’s just the key defining attribute of certain people they hate, not the people themselves! Scoff.) Their sole/soul (hardy-har!) motivation was that a harmless action between two consenting adults is evil, personal liberties be god damned. I would love to see the paltry response Grard had to offer up in defense. Perhaps someone can enlighten me – who, exactly, was trying to take away Grard’s or anyone else’s rights? Anyone? Bueller? …Bueller?

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