The American Philosophical Association currently allows institutions that prohibit homosexual acts among their faculty, staff, and students to advertise in 'Jobs for Philosophers.' A petition recently submitted to the APA alleges that this practice is inconsistent with the APA's anti-discrimination policy and calls for the APA either to "(1) enforce its policy and prohibit institutions that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation from advertising in 'Jobs for Philosophers' or [to] (2) clearly mark institutions with these policies as institutions that violate our anti-discrimination policy." We reject the suggestion that there is an inconsistency between the practice in question and the APA's anti-discrimination policy. Institutions can require their faculty to agree to abide by ethical standards that forbid homosexual acts while not ipso facto discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. The conceptual distinction between a certain kind of act and a disposition to perform that kind of act is one that no philosopher would fail to acknowledge in other ethical contexts. We fail to see why it should be ignored in this one. Historically, many of the greatest philosophers have argued that homosexual acts are morally objectionable. The position implied by the proposed policy--that this view is philosophically beyond the pale and should be stigmatized by the APA--is indefensible. Removing ads from these institutions from JFP would do a disservice to APA members by making it more difficult for them to learn about available jobs for which they might want to apply. It would also harm the profession by making it more difficult for institutions to find good philosophers. The present policies of the APA prohibit discrimination based on religion or political convictions. But the policy recommended attempts to segregate and penalize religious institutions for abiding by their long-standing and coherent ethical norms. Moreover, this policy would foster an environment that would encourage discrimination against philosophers whose religious, political, or philosophical convictions lead them to disapprove of homosexual acts. We therefore call upon the APA to reject the petition in question and to maintain its current practice without alteration. Sincerely, The Undersigned [All professional philosophers, including those affiliated with academic institutions or think tanks, independent scholars, and graduate students, are invited to sign.] Sunday, March 29, 2009: This petition has now been submitted to the APA.
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