Sunday, May 08, 2005

When is discrimination OK?

It is difficult to answer when discrimination is and is not OK. You are stuck between "never", "always", and "when I feel like it". Unsurprisingly, and perhaps sensibly, the courts have gone for the "when we feel like it" option which enables them to do the politically appropriate and personally comfortable thing.

The cases in point are "Boy Scouts of America vs Dale", which says that the Scouts can discriminate against gays, and the Law Schools (what, universities again!) vs the Solomon Amendment, which is arguing whether or not the Federal Government can withhold funds from Law Schools which discriminate against the military by not allowing their recruiters on campus.

The problem is that those who do not want the Scouts to be able to discriminate would like to see Law Schools discriminate because of their idealogical biases. And vica versa. The result is likely to be a tangle of legal reasoning, all of which could more simply and accurately be boiled down to "when I feel like it".

Personally, I take the "always" discriminate side. If the Scouts want to discriminate against gay people they should be allowed to do so -- and suffer the approbriam that such action would engender. Moreover if Law Schools want to deny the military, that's fine, but the Government is likewise free to distribute Federal funds as it pleases. It's not like Law Schools do not have other sources of money, and it's not like lawyers who want to join the military can't pick up a phone and call recruiters directly.


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