Tuesday Watercooler: Supreme Court divided on discrimination
This morning’s discussion in the Supreme Court kinda scares me … a lot. The case, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, is a fight over the right to discriminate, and, of course, money.
“Hastings College of Law, which is part of the University of California, has a general policy barring student groups that receive official recognition and university funding from discriminating,” the American Civil Liberties Union  explains. “The Christian Legal Society is a student club that requires its members to sign a Statement of Faith that, among other things, rejects homosexuality as inconsistent with Christian values. CLS is ineligible for official recognition and university funding at Hastings because of its membership requirement, although it is otherwise free to meet on campus.”
Essentially, no gays equals no money. That math seems simple, right?
Now, here’s the scary, though somewhat ironic, part: The right-leaning justices seem to think this is discrimination.
“It is so weird to require the campus Republican club to admit Democrats,” Justice Antonin Scalia said, The Republic reported . “To require the Christian society to allow atheists not just to join, but to conduct Bible classes, that’s crazy.”
Let’s break this down: Essentially, it’s discrimination not to allow a group to discriminate. Um, WTF?
Thankfully Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor inserted some logic into the discussion citing what would happen if women and minorities were banned.
“What is wrong with the purpose of a school to say, ‘We don’t wish (to recognize) any group that discriminates?’ ” Sotomayor asked.
While the current justices battle it out over discrimination, a separate battle looms for potential Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
The big question seems to be about her sexuality. Is she gay? Well, around the Harvard campus, that appears to be an open secret. It’s not hard to find sites calling her a lesbian .
But whether she is gay or straight should not be the issue. If she is gay, she is making a huge effort to keep it quiet – an Internet finds her personal life is strictly under wraps. What is at issue is her stance. Her lack of actual judicial experience leaves little written record of her opinions.
If she is in fact nominated, as can be inferred from the over-the-top “She’s not gay” denials emanating from the White House, much will be made of her anti-Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell stance. Shortly after taking over as dean at Harvard, Kagan shot an e-mail to students over having military recruiters on campus.
“This action causes me deep distress. I abhor the military’s discriminatory recruitment policy,” Kagan wrote. She called DADT “a profound wrong — a moral injustice of the first order.”
She is standing up for the LGBT community and has done so in the past. If she wants to hide in the closet, fine by me. But if that closet starts impeding a potential justice’s judgment, I’ll be the first in line to out her.
Speaking of standing up for rights, New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center refuses to be intimidated after staff discovered a torched rainbow flag last wee k.
“The act of hate demonstrated outside the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in the Village is unacceptable,” Christin Quinn said in a statement. “I was angered and deeply disturbed when I heard someone would go to such great lengths to burn a rainbow flag and pin it to the outside of the building.”
In response, the Center plans to unfurl a new 20-foot flag on Wednesday that will drape the building.
“We invite our straight allies to stand with us to demonstrate that LGBT safety and rights are not just an issue for LGBT people. Our city is strong and we need to come together to show that we cannot be intimidated,” the Center said in a message posted on their website.
And in another example of standing up for rainbow rights, the Tennessee teen who was reprimanded  for wearing an “I (heart) Lady Gay Gay” T-shirt, with the help of the ACLU, convinced school officials the T-shirt was acceptable.
The ACLU told The Chattanoogan  they have assurances from the school it will not censor gay fashion.
“Students not only have a First Amendment right to be out at school, but the right to an education free from discrimination and harassment,” Tricia Herzfeld, ACLU of Tennessee staff attorney, told the newspaper. “We applaud the school for recognizing this and taking steps to ensure that they are providing a safe and equal learning environment for all students.”
I (heart) teens who stand up for fashion.
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