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Posted by on May 22, 2008 in At TMV | 5 comments

Principal Resigns Rather Than Allow Gay/Straight Alliance

The principal of Irmo High School in South Carolina (former debate foes of mine) has resigned after being told that he had to allow a gay/straight alliance club to form at his school.

As I say in the linked post, as much as I find his arguments against the GSA repulsive, I think he did the honorable thing by resigning. I support a pretty broad array of religious accommodations — more than most Americans, I’d wager. But at the end of the day, if you feel like your religion prohibits you from doing your job, resign the job. Don’t try and corrupt the job so that it matches your religious agenda (cf., “Conscience exemptions” for pharmacists). Rather than stay on and try and undermine the GSA’s mission or show them they’re not wanted, this principal left. Good for him — though I hope some day he learns more about gay people so he does not feel like equal humanity conflicts with his religious faith.

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  • Obviously, I find the principal’s argument against the GSA very wrong-headed — particularly his apparent belief that the GSA is equivalent to a sex club. The inability of many people to separate homosexuality from homosexual sex remains very disconcerting and a major barrier to equalization efforts.

    That he thinks the GSA is some sort of Studio 54 is a little disconcerting. But I could see a reasonable argument being made that there shouldn’t be “sexuality” based high school clubs. Would you ban a monogamous/polyamorous alliance from being a club? I don’t know. However, that doesn’t take into account the gender identity component of the GSA club.

  • DLS

    While you’ve usually been wrong in the past, this time you’re probably right. (The only questions are regarding the authority and propriety of the decision of the district administration.) The guy probably did the right thing to leave rather than to make trouble — or to resist, be fired, and file a lawsuit, as is the case here:

    [note reader remarks]

  • ChrisWWW: While I admit (and this might just me being younger) that I general have trouble bringing myself to get the vapors over teen sexuality, I think one could plausibly argue in favor of the polyamory/monogamy club so long as it was making a political claim, and wasn’t just a swinger’s club. Political expression is, imo, a good thing, and that remains true even if what they’re expressing is not popular. I think an “end the drug war” group in high schools would make an excellent counterbalance to the “zero tolerance” psychosis we’ve been seeing in public schools recently.

  • David,
    I agree 100%. I don’t agree with the argument I made, just with the idea that it could be made reasonably 🙂

  • StockBoySF

    ChrisWWW, I’m not sure one could make a reasonable argument against the a “sexuality” based high school club. After all HS is all about male/female teen sexuality (think Prom and King/Queen) and dating among straights… the administration and teaches don’t tell a guy that he can’t date a girl.

    Whereas gays and lesbians are discriminated against, beaten up and even killed for who they are (and it’s not a “choice” they made)… Given the bias towards “straights” in high school, I think it’s discriminatory and abuse to refuse “non-straights” who need it a safe environment in which to gather. A gay club does not mean a “swingers'” club but rather a place to go where one can find comfort and discuss issues in a safe environment.

    So I don’t think a reasonable argument can be made against gay clubs, but that’s just my opinion.

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