As proponents of a statewide nondiscrimination law gathered last night with some of Utah’s most prominent companies to cheer on the cause, one business leader told The Salt Lake Tribune:
“We’re trying to attract people into this great state,” said Tim Sullivan, president and CEO of Ancestry.com, which has 900 Utah employees, during a forum on the proposed legislation. “We do find perceptions outside the state that make it difficult in particular to recruit gay or lesbian employees.”
First, does Ancestry.com specifically recruit gays or lesbians? In other words, does Ancestry.com have someone in its human resources department who actually thinks, “Okay, we still have 10 gay and lesbian slots to fill in our hiring this month”? Or do people think (as seems to be the case with other professions such as fashion design or entertainment) that homosexuals just have a knack for family history? Hence, Ancestry.com seeks them out? (By the way, does Ancestry.com ask job applicants if they’re gay or lesbian? And, if not, how would they know?)
Second, homosexuals’ sexual relations are about as posterity-ending as human beings can get. All of us have ancestors; a growing number of us lack posterity. True, the company name is Ancestry.com, not Posterity.com. But why is it good business, even if it’s seen as compassionate personally or a reasonable business practice within an office culture, to not only celebrate but perhaps give preferential hiring treatment on the basis of human behavior that puts an end to the family tree?
I should note that, of course, as a private business, Ancestry.com can do what it wants in these matters. That’s its prerogative. And I support that prerogative.
I just think it’s queer that a private business champions using the force of law to accomplish what it would never think of imposing on other businesses privately. Surely Ancestry.com wouldn’t pay a visit to, say, Chick-fil-A and aggressively lobby that company to hire homosexuals (which is the net effect of these nondiscrimination ordinances). Nor, I presume, would Ancestry.com appreciate a visit from Chick-fil-A representatives lobbying them not to hire homosexuals. But Ancestry.com seems to have little hesitation to use the force of law to do so.