.- The Truro Fire Department Board of Fire Engineers cleared all charges of bias that were filed against an EMS volunteer because he had signed a petition against same-sex marriage.
Former Truro Selectman Paul Asher-Best had charged Rescue Chief Leo Childs of being biased against homosexuals because he signed a petition in favor of a referendum on the gay marriage issue.
Asher-Best argued that, given Childs’ position against same-sex marriage, Childs would not treat a gay or lesbian patient the same way as he would a heterosexual patient.
However, despite his attempts to explain, Childs lost his position.
Recently, the board decided to clear Childs after a comprehensive investigation found that he has always used a professional, caring and compassionate approach with all of his patients and “treated his patients in a dignified manner.”
“We believe that the accusation … is completely unsubstantiated,” the board wrote in its May 19 decision. “As a trained firefighter and paramedic, he has always answered calls from the public without any bias, may it be racial, religious, social or for sexual orientation.”
Maggie Gallagher, president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, treated the issue in her May 30 column, titled “Gay marriage creates new conflicts for neighbors.” She spoke with both parties and fleshed out their points of view.
Childs, who had been volunteering for nearly a decade, said he tried to explain to Asher-Best his position in favor of a referendum. "I'm more concerned that a special interest group with a strong lobby would be able to influence a judge in our state,” he told Gallagher. “I wouldn't have a problem with it if it passed on the referendum.”.
Asher-Best, who has lived in a homosexual relationship for 27 years, told Gallagher this case reminds him of the attitudes that were prevalent prior to the civil rights movement with regard to race.
“Paul Asher-Best is no villain,” Gallagher remarked. “He's a good man with a bad idea: People who disagree with him on gay marriage demonstrate irrational hatred toward gay people. After all, that is what the Massachusetts high court actually ruled.”
Gallagher observed that “two ideas are clearly now on a collision course” in American society. The first is that the unions of husbands and wives are special. The second is that “there's no difference between same-sex and opposite-sex couples, and only hate-filled bigots think otherwise.”
“In Massachusetts, the second idea is now the official view of the law,” Gallagher stated.
“Childs is one of the first casualties of this new conflict. But as our senators debate a Marriage Protection Amendment June 5, they should be forewarned: If they leave marriage to the courts, he won't be the last,” Gallagher warned.