Email Scandals, Gay, Gay Marriage, Midsize Firms / Regional Firms, Religion

Senior Lawyer Unleashes ‘Old School’ Homophobic Rant, Hits ‘Reply All’

The last few years have helped me get very used to the passive-aggressive bigotry that homophobes still think they can get away with. “Just believing” that marriage is between a man and a woman conveniently leaves out the stunning antipathy to gay love and civil rights… but it doesn’t sound as “hateful” as it is. And the idea that gay marriage can somehow threaten straight marriages sounds more stupid than bigoted, even though it’s both.

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to search very long for harsh anti-gay rhetoric. But in the refreshingly genteel environment of educated society, old-school, anti-gay hate speech comes off as particularly harsh.

Old-school, anti-gay hate speech captured over law firm email is downright surprising given the current environment. But then again, bigoted statements that a senior lawyer sent out to all attorneys at a law firm come back all the way around to “incredibly stupid.”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this stupid, bigoted, dumbass, hate-filled, verbal feces slathered all over law firm email is… quaint.

For reasons that remain unclear, Becker & Poliakoff senior attorney Walter Kubitz took time out of his busy Monday morning to share his views on the Florida same-sex marriage case, Brenner v. Scott. I don’t know why Kubitz was moved to speak on the matter given that he works out of Becker’s Virginia office and it doesn’t appear that Becker was involved in the case in any way.

But opine he did, and he sent his thoughts to the whole law firm — a firm of more than 170 lawyers and other professionals that presumably includes gays and lesbians who do not want to practice in a hostile work environment. Here’s the email:

Subject: New Decision: Same Sex Marriage (Brenner v. Scott)
Date: Mon, Aug 25, 2014 7:18 AM

The issue having been raised, permit me the liberty to reply, lest my usual silence be taken as assent.

Judge Hinkle says that the Florida ban on same-sex marriage violates the 14th Amendment Due Process and Equal Protection clauses. However, there is not a shred of historical evidence that either of those clauses was ever intended to legitimize homosexuality.

Judge Hinkle and others like-minded have effectively amended the Constitution by judicial fiat. This is a blatant usurpation of power reserved to the States and to the people in violation of the 10th Amendment. The better handling of the issue is as exemplified by Baker v. Nelson, 409 U.S. 810 (1972), in which the U.S. Supreme Court refused to overturn a Minnesota ban on same-sex marriage “for want of a substantial federal question.”

Adding insult to injury, Judge Hinkle invokes our founding fathers as though they would have approved of his ruling. Not so. In his 1796 farewell address then-president George Washington spoke of morality as being indispensable to our societal well-being.

Today’s reckless trashing of morality has been damaging on many fronts. For one, there has been a significant increase in sexually transmitted disease over the past few decades, with the gay plague of AIDS being a classic example.

We would do well to heed the Proverbs 11:21 warning of our ultimate Judge: “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.” In other words, popularity does not trump peril.

Homosexuality, clearly condemned throughout Scripture, is especially perilous in that it tends toward the “reprobate mind” as spoken of in Romans 1:18-32 that makes its participants all the more hardened in their ways. The message to the homosexual, as to all, is “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found . . .” (Isaiah 55:6).

Wally Kubitz

Is this 1982? Was this email written on a typewriter? Does Tom Hanks have to come to your house and sing? “For one, there has been a significant increase in sexually transmitted disease over the past few decades, with the gay plague of AIDS being a classic example.” Calling AIDS the “gay plague” is a classic example all right — the classic example of something a rank idiot says.

You know what, this isn’t an email about gay marriage. This is a freaking departure memo. Or at least it should be. I reached out to Becker & Poliakoff’s managing shareholder, Gary Rosen, specifically asking if Kubitz represented the views of the firm, and if not what kind of discipline the firm intended to take against their colleague. A tipster told me that Rosen “will certainly be super crazy over this.”

Here’s the response from Rosen:

Thank you for your inquiry. This is an internal matter for Becker & Poliakoff and it has been dealt with as such. We have no further comment.

Given that this man spewed hate speech over firm email, one might expect a more public response from management. Let’s hope that men and women of conscience take note before applying to Becker & Poliakoff. As the man says, the wicked shall not be unpunished.

All bigotry is not created equal. This is not a run-of-the-mill “gay people are icky” email of tripe. There are levels to this issue:

  • Bigot Level 0: Regular a$$holes who say things like “no homo.” Self-loathing “I’m STRAIGHT GODDAMN IT” gay people. People who feel “confused” when they meet a gay person without their flame on. These people probably don’t need to be fired, so much as educated.
  • Bigot Level 1: People who think they are just a$$holes but actually prejudge entire groups of people based on their sexual preferences. These are the f**kers who think that gays can’t fight or play football. These people should never be allowed to hold any real power. These people are defendants in discrimination lawsuits. There are a lot of these people.
  • Bigot Level 2: A “higher power” tells them to hate or disrespect gay people. Usually that higher power is some idiot on TV mangling a few lines in a really old story book. These people can be hard to deal with because they can sound “nice” — to the extent that promising eternal damnation for people that make different life choices passes as “nice” in this country. Whether or not to fire these people depends on their particular job. If they are an agent of the state and their views inform how they carry out their public functions, they need to go. If they are private persons selling delicious chicken sandwiches… well, all you can really do is boycott or enjoy their product shamefully in private where no one can see your hypocrisy.
  • Bigot Level 3: PEOPLE WHO MESS WITH SCIENCE. At the point where you are inventing pseudo-scientific fantasies to support your bigotry, or twisting known facts in furtherance of your bigotry, then you HAVE to go. You are dangerous. There can be a debate, I guess, about what an invisible man in the sky will punish us for. There can be no debate about WHAT CAUSES AIDS. Not in twenty-f**king-fourteen. People this bigoted have no discretion and have no judgement that can be trusted.

Becker & Poliakoff seems to be dealing with a Level 3 lunatic. Contrary to what Walter Kubitz might have learned while an undergrad at Bob Jones University, gay people do not bring about AIDS. Or earthquakes or floods or cataclysmic events that turn people into salt. PEOPLE DON’T GET TURNED INTO SALT. Kubitz is a freaking IP lawyer who is in the “Emerging Technologies Practice Group.” The guy who thinks AIDS is the “gay plague” like some did in the 70s works with “emerging technology”! You can’t make this stuff up. Kubitz should send this email as a cover letter to Orson Scott Card.

Let’s hope Becker not only “handles” the problem, but sends around an apology for letting this guy turn firm email into a homophobic newsletter.

UPDATE (8/27/2014, 2:05 p.m.): The firm claims it has taken “immediate and severe” action against Walter Kubitz — but the exact nature of that action remains unclear.

(hidden for your protection)

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