As a gay man, it is worth noting that not everyone in the LGBTQ community criticizes University of Virginia professor
Douglas Laycock for his attempt to balance LGBTQ rights and religious freedom (“LGBT activists take UVa professor to task,” The Daily Progress, May 24).
Laycock has dedicated significant scholastic and professional time to balancing
marriage equality with the Constitution’s
First Amendment religious protections, in articles like “Protecting Same-Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty.”
When brought to student groups, no group signed on with Greg Lewis and Stephanie Montenegro, not even Queer and Allied Activism — of which Lewis is president.
The Hobby Lobby case, in which the company would continue to provide 16 of 20 contraceptive options, is not an inherently LGBTQ issue and when Lewis
approached FIFE, a feminist group on Grounds, he was turned down. Arizona’s Senate Bill 1062, Laycock has argued, would not have resulted in LGBTQ discrimination, but would have made it more difficult for a government to limit a person’s exercise of religious freedom. No groups would sign on based on that information, either.
It is important to mention that the members of Queer and Allied Activism
decided not to take action against Laycock. It’s a bad sign when members of a group ask for more information about Laycock’s dense legal language or for a meeting with Laycock and are told “they don’t need to know all the facts” and that it’s “good publicity.” If these students wanted a dialogue, they would have met with Laycock first.
When GetEqual says Laycock “always happens to fall on the side of religious freedom” in their letter to QuAA, they are forgetting that Laycock filed amicus briefs in support of marriage equality in both the Propostion 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act cases, two of the biggest marriage equality cases in recent years.
Good publicity is not good activism.
That’s why the “LGBT activists” in question number so few. Let these two go off on their version of “dialogue,” with GetEqual — cherrypicking facts, submitting FOIA requests about a bill that already died, and then issuing a fundraising email.
In the meantime, dozens of student groups like FIFE and QuAA will be signing onto a letter asking for real change for LGBTQ state employees. Guess which legal scholar is signing in support.