The American Philosophical Association rejects as unethical all forms of discrimination based on race, color, religion, political convictions, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identification or age, whether in graduate admissions, appointments, retention, promotion and tenure, manuscript evaluation, salary determination, or other professional activities in which APA members characteristically participate. This includes both discrimination on the basis of status and discrimination on the basis of conduct integrally connected to that status, where "integrally connected" means (a) the conduct is a normal and predictable expression of the status (e.g., sexual conduct expressive of a sexual orientation) or (b) the conduct is something that only a person with that status could engage in (e.g., pregnancy), or (c) the proscription of that conduct is historically and routinely connected with invidious discrimination against the status (e.g., interracial marriage). [Pruss's emphasis.]Pruss then claims that this policy actually protects certain instances of anti-gay discrimination, since some instances of anti-gay discrimination are normal, predictable expressions of adherence to certain religious faiths, and these faiths are also protected.
Now, I didn't read the 48 comments that follow the piece, so maybe somebody else made this point already. But the policy, as stated, does not have this implication. It goes on:
At the same time, the APA recognizes the special commitments and roles of institutions with a religious affiliation; and it is not inconsistent with the APA's position against discrimination to adopt religious affiliation as a criterion in graduate admissions or employment policies when this is directly related to the school's religious affiliation or purpose, so long as these policies are made known to members of the philosophical community and so long as the criteria for such religious affiliation do not discriminate against persons according to the other attributes listed in this statement.So although the APA's new policy protects against anti-religious discrimination, it does not thereby protect discrimination that has a religious basis. It makes an exception for cases where the normal, predictable behaviors are discriminatory in nature. When the normal, predictable behaviors violate the anti-discrimination policy, they are not protected.
More recently, Troy Nunley authored a guest post at What's Wrong With The World in which he objects to the three "integral connection" clauses of the policy. Since he takes them in reverse order, I guess I will too. The first clause says that:
(c) the proscription of that conduct is historically and routinely connected with invidious discrimination against the status (e.g., interracial marriage).Nunley's objection is that marrying white people, for example is not "integral" to being black. He asks what "makes marriage to a white woman “integral” to one’s status as a black man? Interracial marriage is not integral to any status I can think of."
Nunley's criticism here has to be that this is an unnatural way to interpret the expression 'integrally connected.' It cannot be that a university policy against miscegenation would not be discriminatory, or that the APA would be wrong to include such behavior in their anti-discrimination policy. So Nunley must be making the semantic point that this is an odd, unnatural way to understand what an integral connection is supposed to be.
If that's his point, then I guess I grant it, as far as it goes. Unfortunately for him, it does not go far. For however unnatural the resulting interpretation of 'integral connection' may be, the employment policy picked out is clearly discriminatory and immoral, and is clearly the proper target of the APA's anti-discrimination policy.
(b) the conduct is something that only a person with that status could engage in (e.g., pregnancy)Nunley objects:
That a status S is necessary for behavior B is a lousy justification for the view that the two are in any way “integrally connected.” True, only women can become pregnant. It is also true that only women can have abortions, engage in repeated acts of surrogate motherhood with perfect strangers, conceive octuplets through modern reproductive technologies, incestuously bear the child of a close blood relative and so on. Which of these is “integrally connected” to being a woman? Or consider a recent case in which a male fertility specialist secretly impregnated his clients with his own sperm rather than their husbands. Only a male could do such a thing, but is that (despicable) behavior “integrally connected” to his status as a male? I hope not.I am almost speechless. For one thing, it would be pretty bad for an employer to make not having an abortion, or not serving as a surrogate mother under whatever circumstances, or becoming an octo-mom, or what have you, a condition of employment. And it would be extremely bad for an employer to refuse to hire women because women sometimes have abortions, or serve as surrogates, or become octo-moms, or incestuous mothers. Such a policy would clearly be discriminatory and would rightly violate the APA's policy.
Moving on to the fertility clinic example. While I concede that only a man could secretly use his fertility clinic to impregnate women with his own sperm, Nunley must concede that anybody could secretly use a fertility clinic to impregnate women with sperm they didn't ask for. So it doesn't satisfy the APA's conception of integrality, because it's false that only men can engage in the relevant behavior. And if a fertility clinic used the possibility that a man would do this as an excuse not to hire men, I suspect that it would constitute discrimination. (Also, psychosis.) Moving along.
(a) the conduct is a normal and predictable expression of the status (e.g., sexual conduct expressive of a sexual orientation)Nunley complains about age: "it is predictable, normal and expressive of being an octogenarian that one walks slowly. But what’s so “integral” about that? As if a spry eighty year old is somehow wrapped in some inner conflict?"
For one thing, I don't see why Nunley thinks that inner conflict is an important part of the APA's conception of integrality. For another thing, it would clearly be wrong and discriminatory for a university to use slow walking as an excuse to not hire a qualified octogenarian in virtue of her octogenariosity. And this behavior would clearly violate the APA's policy.
Nunley also complains that "[a] predictable, normal expression of [political] affiliation is propagandizing. But is such conduct “integral” to being a Democrat? I suspect not." But again, if someone were to use the fact that the fact that the Democrat (or Republican; it doesn't have to be a Democrat) in question is prone to propagandizing as an excuse not to hire Democrats--particularly if the Democrat in question kept the propagandizing out of the classroom--that would pretty clearly be wrong, and would violate the APA's policy. So I don't get what the problem is supposed to be.
In sum, if Nunley's criticism is that the APA has foisted an absurd and philosophically indefensible account of integral connection on its membership, then I guess I agree but don't see why it's an important point. If the criticism is that the APA has foisted an absurd and philosophically (or morally) indefensible anti-discrimination policy on its membership, then the arguments do not bear this out.