Ladies, I think it’s time we had a talk. I know you’re probably feeling good about yourselves lately. The U.S has just had a record number of females elected to both chambers of the legislature. Plus, we had back to back female Secretaries of State. Guess what? Iowa says no to your aspirations toward equality. At least the Iowa Supreme Court does anyway. According to a report by the Associated Press:
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A dentist acted legally when he fired an assistant that he found attractive simply because he and his wife viewed the woman as a threat to their marriage, the all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled Friday.
Here are the basic elements of the case. Melissa Nelson worked as a dental hygienist for 10 years for Dr. James Knight. Despite her exemplary work record and putting up with what most would described as numerous instances blatant sexual harassment, she was fired. Instances such asking his employee about her sexual frequency:
He also once allegedly remarked about her infrequent sex life by saying, “that’s like having a Lamborghini in the garage and never driving it.”
Simply amazing! But Dr. Knight was just getting warmed up. Continuing to class up the his business just before he fired Mrs. Nelson:
But in the final months of her employment, he complained that her tight clothing was distracting, once telling her that if his pants were bulging that was a sign her clothes were too revealing, according to the opinion.
So let me get this straight. Some pervy wanker can sexually harass a woman in the workplace and then fire her for threatening his marriage? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! Responsibility is supposed to reside with the individual. Children blame other people for their bad actions. Adults do not. You don’t get to fire people because you can’t keep it in your pants. At least not in the sane world. It’s like watching Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy only without any comedic satire whatsoever.
The most ridiculous part of this entire enterprise (outside of the ruling of course) is that there was literally no intimate contact between the parties. The AP continued:
Knight and Nelson – both married with children – started exchanging text messages, mostly about personal matters, such as their families. Knight’s wife, who also worked in the dental office, found out about the messages and demanded Nelson be fired. The Knights consulted with their pastor, who agreed that terminating Nelson was appropriate.
Clearly Dr. Feelgood wanted to screw this woman, but she was having none of it. This entire insanity began when his wife found innocent text messages in the doctor’s phone. They were neither planning a romantic getaway nor sexting each other. Not that she should be fired even if they did have an affair. But thanks a lot, Iowa Supreme Court. Now lechers all over the Hawkeye state can fire their employees if their marriages are threatened–whatever the hell that means–because their inability to handle their own sexual impulses is totally not their fault. And a special shout-out goes out to the pastor who also counseled this “man” to fire a woman who’d done nothing wrong. After all, “Bros before Hos” was the conclusion to Jesus’ first sermon.
Progress is often times uneven. Case in point, we have the state of Iowa, where my wife grew up. Iowa is a fascinating place. It’s pretty progressive, except when it’s not. For example, gay marriage was legal in Iowa three years before it was in New York. But on the other hand, Iowa elects politicians like Chuck Grassley, who once famously said that Obamacare was a secret plot to kill Grandma. And the conservative backlash against the gay marriage decision actually ripples out to decisions like this — after that ruling in 2009, NOM poured buckets of money into ousting three of those justices, including lone woman and Chief Justice Marsha Ternus, the following year when they came up for a re-election vote. Local politics matters, and outsized external influence into state politics matters as a consequence — each of those justices lost their seat by a by a tiny 1% margin. Let’s be clear — this week’s insanity was a unanimous ruling and may very well have passed under the former court makeup just as well. But as we keep letting giant conservative organizations push influence into states and communities, we set ourselves up for rulings like this.
So ladies, before you start feeling too good about equality between the sexes, remember one important thing: When you’re fired in Iowa, it won’t be because of gender discrimination. It’s because you’re irresistible. Now know your role and get back in the kitchen. And for God’s sake quit ruining marriages by actually leaving the houses and entering the workplace.
*Fun Fact: Gay marriage actually came to Iowa much earlier. Back in 1993 the young lady who’d grow up to be my wife and her little sister performed a marriage ceremony for their male guinea pigs Cocoa & Mr. Tame. I hear the service was quite lovely. True story.