Thursday, June 24, 2010

Of Boy Scouts and Pride Parades

A Philadelphia jury yesterday determined that the city could not evict the Boy Scouts from their city-owned offices because of the Scouts' anti-gay policies (as has been reported as Towleroad and other sites).

Which has spurred Timothy Kinkaid from Box Turtle Bulletin (a great site if you haven't checked it out already) to lament over the fact that the gays "can't even buy a right." I agree with Kinkaid that it's disappointing and frustrating that homophobic preachers want to go to pride festivals and pass out leaflets telling gay people that they are going to hell. I agree that it's maddening when a jury refuses to apply the anti-discrimination laws of a city in a way that makes any logicals sense. But I don't think things are as bad as he makes them out to be.

As I said yesterday, the First Amendment protects speech we might find abhorrent, but that's actually a good thing. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it's one of the reasons we have pride events enough to worry about crazy preachers coming in to rile us up. And while the Boy Scouts case is disappointing, it is heartening to know that it was the City of Philadelphia that attempted to evict the Boy Scouts for their discriminatory practices. And it was eight members of the jury that got it wrong in allowing the discrimination to continue on the taxpayers' dime. We ought to know by now that equality in the courtroom isn't coming from the jury box; it's coming from the bench.

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