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In a country that doesn't (officially) recognize state-sponsored religion, whose Constitution says "all men are created equal," where bigotry and bias are abhorred — why do otherwise intelligent and sensitive people feel they can engage in hate speech against gay people?

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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Be Careful What You Ask For

I don't understand this club's ultimate argument. They are saying they ought not face discrimination from the University -- but are more than happy to engage in discrimination against another group. If the University relaxes its non-discrimination statement to allow them to exclude gays, what would stop them from relaxing it to oust them?

Furthermore, if the club finds its guidelines in an orthodox interpretation of the Bible, I expect none of the members will eat shrimp at club gatherings, wear clothing made of mixed fibers nor allow any female members to speak up when they assemble.

Campus Club Seeks Right to Exclude Gays


December 28 -- A legal confrontation is playing out as a student organization seeks official recognition and money from a state-run university even though the students plan to exclude non-Christians and gays.

A group of Christian students at Arizona State University's law school formed a chapter of the Christian Legal Society, a national organization that unites Christian lawyers and law students for fellowship, mutual legal support, meetings and Bible readings.

After the university refused to recognize the group, the society's national headquarters in Washington, D.C., drafted a lawsuit challenging the university over its anti-discrimination policies, a move that echoes similar and sometimes successful efforts across the country.

In the lawsuit, the society argues that the members at Arizona State have a constitutionally protected right to organize and receive university recognition under the 1st and 14th Amendments....

Exclusionary Position


Based on their interpretation of biblical passages on homosexuality, members draw the groundwork to exclude practicing homosexuals from membership. In the federal lawsuit, lawyers from the Christian Legal Society spell out their position.

The society at "ASU interprets its statement of faith to require that officers adhere to orthodox Christian beliefs, including the Bible's prohibition of sexual contact between persons of the same sex," the suit says.

"A person who engages in homosexual conduct or adheres to the viewpoint that homosexual conduct is not sinful would not be permitted to become a member or serve as an officer" of the group at Arizona State, the suit adds.

It goes on to say that a person who has engaged in homosexual acts but has "repented" or people who may have homosexual inclinations but do not act on those inclinations would be eligible for membership.

M. Casey Mattox, litigation counsel for the Christian Legal Society in Washington, said the group asked Arizona State to exempt the chapter from having to comply with university policies that required non-discrimination against people on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation.

Nancy Tribbensee, a staff attorney for the university, said Arizona State will not comply with the society's request. "We are aggressively defending" the non-discrimination policy, she said.

Tribbensee said the university was drafting its response to the society's complaint, which is due to be filed by Friday....

Following Scouts' Lead

Richard Myers, a professor at the Ave Maria School of Law, a Roman Catholic institution in Ann Arbor, Mich., likened the society's legal argument to those used by the Boy Scouts of America. He referred to a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) ruling that the organization had the right to exclude homosexuals from being scoutmasters.

"It is kind of standard for these kinds of exceptions," he said. "If they [universities] apply it only to religious groups, they have a slam-dunk case. This group [CLS] provides a different perspective and should be allowed to do so."

But other lawyers say that giving public money to a group that discriminates is illegal and morally wrong.

"They are forcing taxpayers to underwrite discrimination," said David Tseng, a Washington attorney who has specialized in non-discrimination law. "The endorsement of discrimination is appalling," he said.

Tseng, formerly executive director of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, said the use of public money was the crucial factor and that tax money should be spent to advance the public good.

The members of the Christian Legal Society "have the right to meet and to organize, but the example we are setting for students is that bigotry is acceptable," he said. "They are using the mantle of religion to mask a very blunt objective, that is to deny equality." -- Chicago Tribune National Correspondent Vincent J. Schodolski

Read the entire article here --> http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=2027&ncid=2027&e=4&u=/chitribts/20041228/ts_chicagotrib/campusclubseeksrighttoexcludegays

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