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Just Sayin': 'Conscience rule' could hurt LGBTQ

A person hold a LGBT flag during a

A person hold a LGBT flag during a ceremony at the Stonewall National Monument in Manhattan marking the first time the LGBT flag will be displayed permanently on a New York City flag pole on Oct. 11, 2017. Credit: Charles Eckert

As an Episcopal priest, an American, a Long Islander and a happily married man, I believe in respecting the dignity of every human. At the Church of St. Jude in Wantagh, where I am rector, we strive to remain apolitical and to simply preach and live the Gospel; however, occasionally there is a change in policy that greatly affects the dignity of our nation’s citizens.

Now the Trump administration has strengthened the “conscience rule” for health care workers, giving a physician or other health care provider permission to deny life-saving treatment to individuals who are LGBTQ. According to commonly held statistics, it would affect approximately 4.5 percent of Americans. This includes my husband and me.

The Episcopal Church, along with my parish, believes this policy change goes against what Scripture teaches and what basic human dignity demands. This change is inhumane, ungodly and against core American values.

I encourage all Long Islanders to stand on the side of respecting the dignity of every human and to express outrage about the indignity of this regulation change.

The Very Rev. Christopher D. Hofer,


Job-application box should be banned

Today, 1 in 3 Americans has some sort of record for arrest or conviction, according to the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy organization. Many are neighbors, family members and friends, but they may not be our co-workers. Why? Because of a question on a job application that asks, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”

For those 70 million Americans, this yes-or-no check box could stand between a fresh start or a further life of crime.

A bill proposed by DuWayne Gregory, presiding officer of the Suffolk County Legislature, would bar employers in Suffolk from inquiring about an applicant’s history of arrests or criminal conviction until a conditional job offer is made. Eliminating that question from initial applications could give someone with a criminal record a chance at an interview before being automatically judged for his or her past.

The law would not apply to most law enforcement or fire rescue and emergency services jobs description was updated after consulting with a Gregory aide.

Fourteen municipalities in New York State, including New York City, have banned the box for government jobs.

Studies show that employment reduces recidivism, creating safer communities, healthier families and stronger economies.

Megan Millan,


Editor’s note: The writer is pursuing her master’s degree in social work at Stony Brook University and has worked with Gregory on the legislation.