You see, the NAGAAA has this lovely little rule that permits softball teams to discriminate based on sexual orientation - no more than two straights allowed! The three plaintiffs in this case are bisexual men who were kicked off of a team after a witch-hunt for non-gays:
The plaintiffs — Stephen Apilado, LaRon Charles and John Russ — were members of the team D5, which made it to the finals of the Gay World Series in 2008.
During the game, the manager of another team filed a protest under the rule that limits the number of non-gay players. The men contend they were brought, one at a time, into a room containing as many as 25 people and questioned about their sexual preferences.
The panel members then voted on whether they men were gay or "non-gay." Several ballots were held, and the men said the process was humiliating.
The NAGAAA's response was not to condemn the witch-hunters, but instead to say that it's perfectly okay to enforce the two-hetero rule and that sure, you can include bisexuals in that definition if you want, even though they're not. So the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) took the NAGAAA to court on behalf of the three bisexuals. (The NCLR gets it).
U.S. District Judge John Coughenour handed out a mixed bag of various rulings related to the case. The NAGAAA is allowed to keep their rule stating that only two heterosexuals may play on any team. (Does that sound like a bogus rule for a gay sports association to have? That's because it is! Anyway). The judge also stated that the NAGAAA may still have to pay the price because they have acted as a "public accomodation" and thus must follow Washington state anti-discrimination laws.
This case could have great consequences for all people who do not identify as gay or straight. I hope that it proceeds in a fair and just manner.
In doing some research for this post, I found a copy of the NAGAAA's response when the lawsuit was filed. In this letter, the association makes the NCLR out to be petty, stating that taking this problem to court will cause untold financial problems for the NAGAAA.
Here's a choice quote:
The NCLR, and plaintiffs are seeking in excess of $225,000 for “emotional distress”, etc., plus attorney fees. The lawsuit also demands that NAGAAA rewrite it’s [sic] rules of member participation to reflect the views of NCLR, and demands that NAGAAA award the team D2 the championship trophy for that event. We believe they are in error, and contend that there has been no wrong-doing, and the case is unfounded.
Has anyone at the NAGAAA even ever talked to a bisexual about what it feels like to be a bisexual? I feel like if they had, they wouldn't put "emotional distress" in quotes. Discrimination is real, and it hurts, and what happened here WAS discrimination, and GAY PEOPLE OUGHT TO KNOW BETTER.
If the NAGAAA doesn't like being taken to court, it should've considered an appropriate response when it first heard of this team's actions. If the NAGAAA can't figure out that we're all in this together, then frankly, they deserve to be bankrupted. Let another out sports organization, one that doesn't insist on being in charge of the queer membership cards, take its place.