I agree with Scott that it’s stupid that conservatives claim to be against “special rights” when it comes to gays and lesbians, but all for bona fide special rights for conservative Christians. However, I have to say that I don’t think it’s completely disingenuous of some conservatives, at least, to think that legal gay marriage is a “special” right for gays. I think there’s a solid number of Republican men who think, “Hey, I want to marry a dude but I can’t, because everyone would totally think I’m gay! It’s not fair that these gay dudes get to do it!” However, outside of the closet cases that populate so much of the Republican party, I have to admit that the nonsense about “special rights” is exactly as disingenuous as Scott claims.
The case in question was one where Hastings Law School prevented an on-campus group from barring gay students who wanted to join. The law school had a policy where all clubs were required to have open admission, and there’s also a question of the federal funding that school groups had access to. In essence, conservatives want to say that religious freedom means that religious groups—at least Christian ones—should have special rights. To my mind, this shows how shallow conservative claims are that they’re faithful to the original intent of the Constitution. The Founders made it exquisitely clear that their definition of religious freedom was one where the government showed no favor towards religion, and was separate from it. Giving religions special rights is a form of establishment. It’s as contrary to the original intent as you get.
Also funny is how conservatives haven’t quite picked up on the fact that all-comers policies for school clubs means that wingnuts could, if they want, join gay rights groups, Muslim student associations, black student associations, feminist groups, etc. Granted, the problem there is that they’d probably get bored quickly and leave, in contrast to this situation at Hastings where the student who tried to join the Christian group was also Christian.
Of course, I have to point out the irony of conservatives defending the right to have closed groups that receive federal funding while screeching at the same time about how private individuals shouldn’t be able to run a private listserv using their own resources.