The gay political group Log Cabin Republicans demanded Monday that an appointee of the Bush administration reinstate references to sexual orientation discrimination that were removed from the Office of Special Counsel's Web site. "The action by the special counsel constitutes a dramatic rollback of basic protections," said Patrick Guerriero, Log Cabin's executive director. "It's a sad day when we see protections taken away that have been guaranteed since the mid 1970s."
Scott Bloch claims that the statute, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of conduct, is unclear, and he had it removed in January while under review. One provision bans discrimination against federal employees if their off-duty conduct does not affect job performance. It has been interpreted in the past to cover cases in which they suffer discrimination for being gay.
The decision by the Office of Special Counsel marks a clear breach of a specific promise made to the Log Cabin Republicans by the Bush campaign during the 2000 election. "As part of Log Cabin's decision to endorse Bush, the campaign pledged to Log Cabin that nondiscrimination policies for federal employees would be respected," Guerriero said. "Log Cabin would not have endorsed Bush without this promise. We ask the Bush administration to remain true to their word."
In a statement Bloch said he was "unaware of any binding precedent which would justify extending enforcement beyond the express language of the statute on conduct." He said the office's policy interpretation began only five years ago, during the Clinton administration, according to The Washington Post.