Imagine in the place where you live a government employee, through the course of his employment, obtains your personal information and then divulges that personal information to an evangelical Christian church, perhaps his own.
Imagine then that the church contacts you with concerns about your soul.
How would you feel? Disturbed? Upset? Afraid?
More below the fold.
Today in the San Francisco Chronicle comes a story about a transgendered woman, Amber Yust, 23, who, responsibly enough, went to the California Department of Motor Vehicles in San Francisco to register her sex change from male to female. In the process of transitioning from one gender to another, registering your correct gender with your local DMV ought to be the least psychologically painful thing that a transgendered person does. You probably wait in line, fill out some papers, drop a fee to the state, and off you go. Done.
Not for Ms. Yust. After DMV employee Thomas Demartini finished helping her complete her DMV transaction with him, Demartini crossed a line. A big fucking obvious legal line. His employer's response was essentially to shrug its shoulders.
Some time after the transaction at the DMV, Demartini (confusing homosexuality with transsexuality) sent Ms. Yust a letter that said in part that homosexual acts were "an abomination that leads to hell."
Fired on the spot, you ask. Ha! No, Demartini was not fired and the DMV is not saying what, if anything, they have done to him after they learned he took someone's personal information from work and essentially bullied that person by foisting his religious beliefs onto that person (it's apparently not the tax-paying public's business, but rather a "personnel matter").
If only the shit stopped there. It didn't:
The same day, Yust said, a DVD arrived from a fundamentalist church warning of eternal damnation for anyone "possessed by demons" of homosexuality. The DMV employee's letter had referred her to the church's website as a source of "critical information for your salvation."
Feeling emboldened that he was able to get away with attempts to harangue/convert others to his way of seeing the universe by trampling on the law with no ramifications from his government employer, Demartini, according to a lawsuit filed by Ms. Yust, went ahead and refused to process another transgender woman's name-change application in August of 2009, allegedly telling this woman, "God will send you to hell."
In Ms. Yust's lawyer's words (from the San Francisco Chronicle):
the DMV "should have fired this guy the first time, and they left him in a position where he could harm people."
He said disclosing personal information from DMV records violates state privacy and civil rights laws and can be grounds for criminal prosecution.
The Transgender Law Center is assisting with Ms. Yust's lawsuit.