Saturday, December 03, 2005

How much for bruised feelings?

Let it Bleed offers analysis of the recent Kinghts of Columbus versus the gay crusaders (in small caps!) trial:
A couple of items to note: the panel acknowledges that the complainants were publicity hungry (para. 31: one of the first things they did was type a letter and then send it to "the media"), and seems to acknowledge that the complainants aren't terribly bright:
"There is no question that these items ["the crucifix, a picture of the ascension of the Virgin Mary, a picture of the Pope and pictures of the leaders of the Knights"] were displayed in the Hall. However, the Panel accepts the evidence of the complainants that they did not take notice of these items. ... Even if the complainants had noticed those items, the Panel is not persuaded that they would have made the connection between them, the Knights, and the fact that the Hall was a building with religious significance that may have had restrictions as to the types of events that could take place there." [emphasis added] (para. 83)
Laughably (well, not really, but what else can you do?) the Court awarded $1,000 to each of the complainants "for injury to their dignity, feelings and self-respect" (para. 151). What's pathetic is that the panel is not able, even once, to identify the actions which lead to these supposed injuries. There is absolutely no enumeration of what the Knights actually did to injure the complainants. Other than a reference at para. 42 to one of the complainants feeling "that their comments were offensive" (which "comments" these are is never explained), and noting that the Knights didn't offer a written apology (although everyone agreed that multiple verbal apologies were offered), it's unclear what the Knights did wrong.
The panel's reasoning on other issues is just as lame and contradictory. They essentially fault the Knights for not doing something they are forbidden to do: restrict access to their premises to people who share their faith (see paras. 70-78). It's not even clear how the Knights could do this: what are they gonna do, make people present their laminated "I'm a Catholic" certificate? Nevertheless, the fact that the Knights don't "screen" people who enter their premises is used as a argument against the Knights being able to restrict activities that conflict with their core religious beliefs.

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