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EEOC Nominee signed 'Manifesto' that Praised Polygamy

October 1st, 2009
Catholic News Agency (www.catholicnewsagency.com)

The manifesto’s signatories said they proposed a 'new vision' for governmental and private recognition of 'diverse kinds' of partnerships.

Washington D.C.(CNA) - A law professor nominated by President Obama to become a commissioner for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was a signatory to a radical 2006 manifesto which endorsed polygamous households and argued traditional marriage should not be privileged “above all others.”

Georgetown University Law Center professor Chai R. Feldblum, nominated as a commissioner for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), is listed as a signatory to the July 26, 2006 manifesto “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families & Relationships.”

The manifesto’s signatories said they proposed a “new vision” for governmental and private recognition of “diverse kinds” of partnerships, households and families. They said they hoped to “move beyond the narrow confines of marriage politics” in the U.S.

Describing various kinds of households as no less socially, economically, and spiritually worthy than other relationships, the Beyond Marriage manifesto listed “committed, loving households in which there is more than one conjugal partner.”

Same-sex marriage, the manifesto said, should be “just one option on a menu of choices that people have about the way they construct their lives.”

“Marriage is not the only worthy form of family or relationship, and it should not be legally and economically privileged above all others,” the manifesto continued. “While we honor those for whom marriage is the most meaningful personal ­– for some, also a deeply spiritual – choice, we believe that many other kinds of kinship relationship, households, and families must also be accorded recognition.”

The manifesto listed as one of its principles “freedom from a narrow definition of our sexual lives and gender choices, identities, and expression.”

It also charged that the political right enforces “narrow, heterosexist definitions of marriage.”

Other signatories of the Beyond Marriage manifesto included activists, academics, writers, artists, and clergy. The prominent names listed include Ms. Magazine founder Gloria Steinem, New York Times writer Barbara Ehrenreich, Catholic feminist theologian Mary E. Hunt, Tikkun Magazine editor Rabbi Michael Lerner, philosopher Judith Butler and Princeton University professor Cornel West.

President Barack Obama announced Feldblum’s nomination in a Sept. 14 statement, saying she and nominees to other agencies bring “a dedication and expertise in their fields that will serve this administration and the American people well.”

“As we work to advance equal rights, keep our nation safe and put our country back on a path to prosperity, I look forward to working with these fine individuals in the months and years ahead," the president said.

The White House’s statement noted that Feldblum has taught at the Georgetown University Law Center since 1991 and founded a program there to train students to become legislative lawyers. She also clerked for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun and helped draft the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

“She has also worked on advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and has been a leading expert on the Employment Nondiscrimination Act,” the White House’s Sept. 14 statement said.

The Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) would create a federal ban on workplace discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The EEOC is tasked with the enforcement of federal anti-discrimination law in the workplace. If confirmed, Feldblum would become one of five EEOC commissioners, who each serve a term of five years.

Feldblum’s nomination was sent to the U.S. Senate on Sept. 15.

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