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Judge rules gay softball league can limit the number of straight players

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A federal judge in Seattle this week refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by three men who claim they were disqualified from the 2008 Gay Softball World Series for not being “gay enough,” but did rule that the league can limit the number of straight players on its teams.

The ruling was announced in a lawsuit filed in Washington state against the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association.

The three men were playing for a San Francisco softball team in the finals when a rival team challenged their sexuality, citing the rule that limits no more that two heterosexuals per team.

The men were “summoned to a hearing room to answer questions about their sexual interests or attractions, purportedly to determine their sexual orientation, in front of a group of more than twenty-five people, many of whom plaintiffs did not know,” according to their federal complaint.

The three men, who identify as bisexual, said the questioning was intrusive and allege in the lawsuit that the NAGAAA’s rule violated state anti-discrimination laws.

U.S. District Judge John Coughenour found that the NAGAAA, which sponsors the annual event, can keep its rule, and wrote, “Plaintiffs have failed to argue that there is a compelling state interest in allowing heterosexuals to play gay softball.”

But in allowing the case to go forward, Coughenour said “treatment of bisexuals remains of central importance to this case” and that the association “could still be liable for its actions” under the Washington Laws Against Discrimination for actions at the 2008 games.

The suit was backed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco, which said the rule discriminated against bisexuals by not including them in the broader definition of “gay.”

The NAGAAA has since revised its rules to include bisexual and transgender people.

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Filed under: Washington (State)

15 more reader comments:

  1. Wow! Do we want to be equal as along as we are the equalizer?

    Posted on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 3:38pm
  2. Reverse discrimination? Lol

    Posted on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 3:39pm
  3. This is kind of hypocritical

    Posted on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 3:41pm
  4. wow, this is not good.

    Posted on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 3:41pm
  5. But aren’t we trying to teach the heterosexists that gay comes in all different shapes, sizes, and expressions?

    Posted on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 3:41pm
  6. Ah but see, this opens a bunch of problems…because if straight players can play on gay teams, that could very well push out a lot of gay players and turn it into a straight team, thus defeating the whole purpose of a gay league.

    Posted on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 3:49pm
  7. And now the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe and saw.

    Posted on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 3:55pm
  8. I can see Bill O’reilly taking this story. If we want to be equal in every sense possible, then we need to be inclusive. I mean softball?? SOFTBALL???? and not allow straight guys.. Straight guys are sweating, all around the gays… Come on..

    Posted on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 3:58pm
  9. stupid idea in my opinion… we wouldn’t like a “straight league” putting a limit on any lgbt people so why do this in return… fight hate with love not with more hate :)

    Posted on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 4:07pm
  10. I’ve honestly never seen a “straight league” for any sport, let alone a “gay league”. Where I live, they don’t ask you your sexual orientation when you sign up, and if they find out, then whatever, get back on the field and play. :/

    Posted on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 4:12pm
  11. This is no good. A gay league is just as bad as a straight league would be.

    Posted on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 5:28pm
  12. But this says nothing about the crux of the problem – the three men who were kicked off the team and sued were bisexual. So, is the judge calling the bisexuals straight? What the hell?

    Posted on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 5:59pm
  13. @Ginny, I completely agree with you. We’ve been working way too hard for the past decades to become part of the society, to be treated as equals, that this is unacceptable. Staying clustered in a ghetto will lead nowhere but to more hostility. Sport is sport, nobody should have to say anything about their sexual life because they want to play softball. Because discrimination can go both ways.

    Posted on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at 10:55pm
  14. But bisexuals play it safe when they choose, rarely do they step up to the plate. Pun indeeded..

    Posted on Sunday, June 5, 2011 at 12:26pm
  15. they aren’t straight, they are bi,and yes there is a difference. straight men don’t look at men and go,’that’s a hot piece of ass” while monogamous bi dudes do! whither they are in monogamous straight relationships they are still queer identified in some way!

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 7:57pm