Social Worker Told He Must Support Gay Rights

A social worker at a Maine high school has been told that its part of his job to advocate for gay marriage, after he appeared in a video commercial opposing it. The social worker, a man named Don Mendell, has had two complaints filed against him by colleagues and the Attorney General has even gotten involved, ordering him to turn over a transcript of the commercial and copies of his letters to the editor to the Office of Licensing and Registration. Here is more from a local Maine news site:

In her letter to the Licensing Board, Ann Sullivan stated that she believed Mendell was in violation the Code of Ethics set down by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

Her complaint stated, “While Mr Mendell is entitled to his own personal opinion he does not have the right as a licensed social worker to make public comments that can endanger or promote discrimination.” Further, she states, “Don Mendell has a long history of being unsupportive of GLBTQ [gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender/questioning] issues.”

Sullivan also asserts that Mendell’s opposition to the Maine Marriage Equality law helps contribute to an environment of negativity that already exists among students.

Jones’ letter of complaint states, “Mr Mendell has been engaged in extensive political action that, in my opinion, violates a number of social work ethical principles. He has appeared in political ads that promote his own personal religious agenda. He has written letters to the editor of the Bangor Daily News that have been published that demonstrate prejudice towards homosexuals. The scope and breath (sp) of his discriminatory activism appears to affect at least the following principles.”

Here is what Mendell is saying in response:

In a letter dated November 20, 2009 to Complaint Coordinator Neumann, Mendell states, “I urge the Board to dismiss this baseless complaint that is nothing more than an attack by someone who disagrees with the viewpoint I advocated publicly in a statewide political campaign.”

Mendell continues, “She [Sullivan] is asking the Board to act as a political censor and wield the ethical principles of the social work profession as a weapon to punish people holding viewpoints on public issues with which she disagrees. This Board should soundly reject her invitation to violate the First Amendment.”

Mendell contends that Sullivan’s complaint is based on hearsay and unverified conjecture, and that she can point to no incident in his professional capacity as a social worker.

Further, Mendell notes, “Ms Sullivan believes that speaking in favor of redefining marriage is totally acceptable and would not violate ethical principles, showing she is urging this Board to skew ethical standards in favor of one side of the political debate.”

Referring to Sullivan’s charge that social workers should act to prevent and eliminate discrimination, Mendell states, “The complaint assumes that traditional marriage laws are inherently discriminatory, a much debated and controversial conclusion that has been rejected by many state and federal courts around the nation, as well as the voters in 31 states. The voters of Maine rejected the notion that defining marriage as one man and one woman is discriminatory. I cannot be in violation of the ethical standards for social workers when I advocate in favor of the very policy the State of Maine has on marriage, and has had since its first days as a state in the Union.”

Mendell concludes by stating, “This board should have no part of this politically-motivated effort to misuse the Code of Ethics to demonize a fellow social worker holding a different view.”

One thing we can’t figure out is why the social worker profession deems homosexual men and women as oppressed minorities in need of protection. They certainly are in a position to advocate for their rights, whatever those may be. As this report notes, the average income of gay couples is 60 percent higher than average U.S. households. Of course, the Left cares less about how oppressed a group may be and more about how said oppression can become an opportunity for more government intrusion.

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