You read that right.
The Daily Caller’s Caroline May reports that the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union demanded and won a ban on any public school event that limits participation to mothers and sons or fathers and daughters, such as traditional dances.
The reason: the events perpetuate “blatant gender stereotypes.”
As usual, the school sponsoring the offending dance was caught in a legal vice grip:
Although the federal Title IX anti-discrimination law does provide exemptions for such events, state law does not, but rather explicitly bans “sex discrimination in ‘…any and all school functions and activities,’” Superintendent of the Cranston Public School System Judith A Lundsten explained in an August letter sent to “Partner Organizations” and posted in full at WPRO News in R.I.
Already, one Republican candidate for Rhode Island state senate, Sean Gately, has made this a campaign issue, promising to introduce an amendment to the state law so that it tracks Title IX to allow exceptions for events like father-daughter dances.
If Gately can figure out a way to make the ACLU reimburse the school district for the hours spent in responding to this wasteful drain on public resources, he should run for governor.
Of course, the main problem with the ACLU in this and other instances is more than the waste of public resources. It’s making a living by using the law to harass the very society the law was meant to serve.
No one who passed Rhode Island’s version of Title IX intended it to outlaw father-daughter dances. Had the ACLU’s position been a publicly acknowledged purpose of the legislation when it was proposed, the law’s authors would have been laughed out of the chamber. Whenever this issue gets a hearing in court – and Gately willing, it will – the reviewing court should do exactly the same to the ACLU’s argument.
Enough of the madness. If people really want to stop making every argument political and thus polarizing, we must start by making less of our disputes a cause of legal action.