Tuesday, April 27, 2010
When it comes to treating all softball players fairly, the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance has struck out, according to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday. The suit, filed on Tuesday in federal court, claims that three bisexual men were discriminated against and treated unfairly by the organization during the 2008 Gay Softball World Series. The alliance allegedly decided the players were “not gay enough” after receiving complaints from another lower-ranked team, eventually stripping the men and their team of their second-place title. The complaints lead to member outrage and even a series of small-scale protests during the series, which stopped play several times.
Plaintiffs Stephen Apliado, LaRon Charles and Jon Russ say they were privately grilled in a conference room during the tournament in suburban Seattle. The men were privately asked about their sex lives, personal attractions and current relationships. This personal line of questioning was only directed at the three men and was highly inappropriate, according to the lawsuit. The alliance was quick to disqualify the team after the men had answered that they were attracted to both men and women. The plaintiffs and their lawyer claim that the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance is a public organization and therefore violated Washington’s anti-discrimination law. Each of the men is seeking $75,000 in damages as well as a second-place trophy and standing reinstatement for their team. A removal of the organization’s limit on straight players also is being requested by the plaintiffs.
But the alliance claims they are a private organization and thus are allowed to enforce their own regulations. North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance rules clearly state that no team will be allowed to have more than two non-gay players. The alliance notes that other private organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America also have set guidelines for membership.
Related Content: Discrimination Law Overview