A federal judge in Washington State has ruled that North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association, the national gay softball association, can maintain its limit on the number of straight players per team.
In his ruling, U.S. district judge John Coughenour wrote, “Plaintiffs have failed to argue that there is a compelling state interest in allowing heterosexuals to play gay softball. ... NAGAAA might very well believe that given the history of gay exclusion for sports, the only way to promote competition for all persons, and ensure that gay athletes have the same opportunities as straight athletes, is to create an exclusively gay community with exceptions for a small number of straight players. ... It is not the role of the courts to scrutinize the content of an organization’s chosen expression.”
Three men who identify as bisexual filed suit against the association after their team was disqualified from the 2008 Gay World Series in Seattle for violating the limit on “nongay” players.
While Judge Coughenour ruled that the association may limit the number of heterosexual players, he also stated that the “treatment of bisexuals remains of central importance to this case” and is allowing the men’s lawsuit to go trial in order to determine if their disqualification was a violation of the state’s antidiscrimination laws.
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