Monday, April 19, 2010

Litigation involving Hastings Law School and "Christian Law Group" reminds one of Boy Scout case

The Washington Post has a constructive editorial “Politically correct, legally wrong: Why the law school’s nondiscrimination policy runs afoul of the Constitution” on p A14, Monday April 19, link here. This concerns the no-discrimination policy at the University of California, Hastings School of Law. The Christian Law Society (CLS) refuses to admit to membership people who engage in disqualifying acts, “sexual contact outside of God’s design for marriage between one man and one woman, which includes acts of fornication, adultery, and homosexual contact.” Follow the old-fashioned logic: you must engage in traditional marriage to enjoy the “fruits” of life, partly because you must share some of the risk (before responsibility) of bringing new life into the world. That actually was the Vatican position (except for priests, you know). A lot of us broke free from a world dominated by that kind of “thinking.” It's interesting (and disturbing) how the CLS can take an innocuous argument against gay marriage and use it to justify all anti-gay exclusion.

There is litigation over this, and it does seem that the Hastings College’s policies are so monolithic as to make some voluntary association, guaranteed by the First Amendment, meaningless. We saw this before with the Boy Scouts case which went to the Supreme Court.

Sometimes I have to deal with a moral certain paradox: if there did not exist rules and challenges and uncertainties, freedom would become “meaningless.”

Later:

The New York Times has a different slant in its editorial, "A Case of Discrimination", link here.  The Times writes "Students at Hastings who want to join together in more exclusive arrangements are free to do so. They can form unofficial student groups. But Hastings is right that groups that bear its imprimatur, use its name and logo, and receive public funds must not discriminate."

Media reports on the Supreme Court arguments today point to sharp divisions among the justices.

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