Friday, September 19, 2008

Since when is the ACLU against free speech?

The American Civil Liberties Union filed an official complaint on behalf of two gay men who were called names at a McDonald's in Louisville, Kentucky. The group has cited the city's "Fairness" ordinance as grounds for the complaint:

Louisville has a local human rights ordinance which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public accommodations such as restaurants.

Now obviously the McDonald's in question has pretty low employment standards if they have a cashier who calls customers names--for whatever reason. But since when does the ACLU file complaints against someone's exercise of free (albeit hateful) speech? The ACLU has always defended any kind of expression on the grounds that, however distasteful it may be, it is protected under the First Amendment.

This is an issue that, if it involved any other issue than gay rights, the ACLU would be defending the McDonald's, not the two gay men. The ACLU has defended the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi party.

Either the ACLU is misinterpreting the Fairness Ordinance, in which case their complaint will have not effect, or they are interpreting it correctly, in which case the ordinance violates the First Amendment (at least according to the groups traditional interpretation). In either case, it makes you wonder why the group is going back on its previous commitment to free speech.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Heather has two mommies. Nevermind, make that one.

Today comes the Louisville Courier-Journal's unenthusiastic endorsement for yesterday's appeals court ruling that, 1) yes, we do have laws, and 2) yes, we should follow them.

The case involved a lesbian couple, one of whom conceived a child by artificial insemination, gave birth, and then split up. A family court judge, then proceeded to let the non-biological parent adopt the child, which, in Kentucky can only be done in a case where there was a marriage. The appeals court slapped them down and told them that they don't make laws (or change them), they apply them, which was apparently news to the family court judges.

These judges either didn't know what the laws were, or didn't care. Neither possibility is particularly comforting. But the Courier-Journal is less concerned about the corruption of our justice system and more concerned with ensuring that couples with two fathers or two mothers can enjoy the same rights to adoption that married couples have.

Oh brother.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ramsey finally apologizes

U of L President James Ramsey has finally offered apologies for the people hurt by Robert Felner, the former education dean at the school, a man Ramsey, until very recently, ardently defended. If Ramsey had a clue about PR, he would have at least just shut up since there was an investigation going on. If he had been a competent administrator, he would have taken care of the situation before it became public. And if he and Provost Shirley Willihnganz had had a clue about how to recruit deans for their departments, they would have seen the red flags in his background.

The people close to this case refer to Felner as a "psychopath" who routinely engaged in sexual harassment and intimidation. As one person described it to me, "the financial fraud is the least of his offenses."

We're glad Ramsey has apologized, but why in the world did it have to wait until way after everyone else in the known world had figured it out?

Oh, and how many other incompetent deans do we have at U of L because Ramsey and his underlings can't distinguish a competent administrator for a psychopath?