What Is With Conservatives, Gays, and Softball?

In John Stossel's appearance on Fox News, he argues that the part of the Civil Rights Act governing private enterprises should be repealed, allowing businesses to discriminate against anyone they want. Stossel, in the typical reductio ad absurdum fashion of a zealous ideologue, demands to know if we care so much about our namby-pamby commitment to letting black people eat at restaurants, whether we are going to have the courage of our convictions and also make a black student association let in white students, or outlaw discrimination against mustachioed news anchors.

The rejoinders are obvious: the black student student association is a voluntary membership organization which, like the Boy Scouts of America, is indeed allowed to discriminate about who joins. The law covers places of public accommodation, not associations of individuals. Likewise, cable-news networks can discriminate against mustachioed anchors—perhaps in Stossel's case they should—because one's appearance is germane to one's ability to perform task at hand, which it isn't in the vast majority of jobs. Also, Stossel may have had his mustache so long that he forgot this, but he could shave it off. It's not the same as race, and it's not protected by the Civil Rights Act unless it's religiously mandated.

But what caught my ear was Stossel demanding to know if we are going to tell "the gay softball team they have to take straight people." The gay softball team? The proverbial black student association has long been every anti-civil-rights pundit's favorite shibboleth, but why suddenly gay softball team? Do gay people have separate softball teams that don't allow straight people to play for them? If so, it's still an awfully random example. Oh wait, no it isn't, it's a dog whistle to everyone who thinks that women who play softball are gay, and that therefore Solicitor General Elena Kagan is gay. Stay classy, John.

What Is With Conservatives, Gays, and Softball? | U.S.