Friday, June 03, 2011

The Right Decision with a Wrinkle

A decision by a federal judge made a lot sense to me but it troubled me at the same time.  Judge John Coughenour ruled that the National Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance was within its rights to establish qualifications for their gay baseball tournaments.   The judge said the association could use First Amendment provisions to limit the number of straight players in their games and more that they could define what those terms meant for purposes of establishing qualifications.  The current rules now limit teams to two "straight" players.   Evidently one of the teams in the tournament had a couple of players who had had relationships with both men and women.   So ultimately the dispute was about how "gay" some of the players were.   From my perspective the NAGAAA has the right to do exactly as the judge ruled they did - to define the terms of their association, so long as the definitions do not violate broader constitutional guarantees.

All that sounds absolutely correct.  But it seems to me that if the case had been heard in a California court there would have been an extra wrinkle to the issues under review.  Under California law it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of "sexual orientation" - wouldn't that mean that the NAGAAA could not legally limit the number of heterosexuals on a team?

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