I remember quite some time ago, probably around my sophomore year of high school, when the topic in debate was something to the effect of: what is more important, society's goal of eliminating discrimination or the right of people to engage in exclusive, voluntary organizations.
Basically, what matters more: accepting everyone or being able to associate with like-minded people?
Last week, MPR was asking whether or not evangelicals should be able to distribute religious literature preaching against homosexuality at a GLBT Pride festival. Then, on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. There were some funny legal stipulations going on in that case that really dictated the result, but it got me thinking a lot about the question. Basically, the Christian Legal Society (CLS) was told they couldn't get official school recognition (and thereby money and access to campus resources) because they required people to sign a statement of faith and because they didn't want their members to be openly engaged in immoral behavior, including specifically, same-sex relationships. The school apparently has a policy of non-discrimination for their groups. Basically, CLS had to accept "all-comers", that is, anyone who wanted to be a part of the group.
[I do on some level question whether CLS really violates that all-comers requirement with their position. I mean, they'll take all-comers, so long as those individuals are willing to sign up for the requirements... and since the requirements are issues of free will (people can choose whether or not to openly engage in same sex relationships) and not issues of unchangeable status (if the group said "we'll accept all-comers, so long as they're white, that would obviously be beyond the individual's control), maybe they aren't really violating an all-comers policy?] The Supreme Court narrowly said they were violating the policy, and therefore the school could choose not to support CLS.
Which really leads me back to that ultimate question: what's more important? Eliminating discrimination or our right to freely associate? Does the right of free association mean the school should support CLS, even if they're discriminating? How far does that go? Should the large group of people interested in gathering at a GLBT pride festival be able to exclude dissenting viewpoints from their event? Does it matter if it's on public or private grounds? These are big issues. And kind of fun to think about... So, how do you come out on the issue?
Well they come and pull me from my house
And they drag my body through the streets