The fact that Arizona State University recognizes a gay fraternity but not an association of Christian law-school students has the Scottsdale-based Alliance Defense Fund up in arms. And for good reason.
As the Tribune’s Emily Gersema reported on Monday, the defense fund has sued ASU over its refusal to recognize the Christian Legal Society as a campus organization. The university says the society discriminates against non-Christians. But the Sigma Phi Beta gay fraternity, which has been in existence at ASU for five years and is seeking a national charter, is operated by and for homosexual students. That's not discriminatory?
Jeremy Tedesco, an attorney for the defense fund, told Gersema that it’s just plain hypocritical for ASU to recognize one but not the other, and we agree.
We have no objection to either the gay fraternity or the Christian law-school group. After all, isn’t this what diversity is supposed to be all about? If you embrace diversity as a good thing, why would you sanction one group but exclude the other?
Apparently ASU is virtually alone in blackballing the Christian Legal Society. Gersema reported that the organization has nearly 120,000 law-school students across the country as members, in 150 law schools.
The real issue here is not discrimination; it’s free association. Diversity should not be about everyone accepting everyone else’s point of view, faith or lifestyle. It should be about respecting the rights of others to think and act as free people, as long as they don’t impinge on the rights of others.
Sigma Phi Beta is for gay students. Fine. The Christian Legal Society is for Christian students. Fine. Anyone who doesn’t wish to join either group is free to go their own way. But they shouldn’t oppose that group’s right to operate as a student organization.
That is discrimination.