Gay Softball Lawsuit May Go to Trial

BY Advocate.com Editors

June 02 2011 8:25 AM ET

Three Bay Area amateur softball players who sued a gay sports association after officials questioned their sexuality during a 2008 championship series may find themselves at an August trial.

A federal judge in Seattle Tuesday refused to dismiss the suit, brought on behalf of the three players by the National Center for Lesbian Rights in a rare instance of an LGBT legal advocacy group suing a gay organization.

In the suit, NCLR alleges that during the 2008 Gay Softball World Series in Seattle, North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association officials interrogated the three plaintiffs, whom a competing team had suspected of being straight, about their sexual orientation. In interview last year with The Advocate, all three players asserted that they are bisexual.
“Sports leagues are all about fair play, diversity, and inclusion,” NCLR staff attorney Melanie Rowen said in a 2010 interview. “Unfortunately, when our clients traveled with their team to the Gay Softball World Series, what they got instead was an atmosphere of hostility, discrimination, and suspicion.” 

An attorney for the gay athletic association denied the allegations and said the league, a private organization, broke no public accommodations laws.

U.S. district judge John Coughenour ruled that the amateur sports association can keep its rule limiting the number of heterosexuals on each team to two, but also ruled that its actions against the three men may have violated the Washington Laws Against Discrimination, The Seattle Times reports.
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