Charlottesville Daily Progress, LGBT Activists Take UVa Professor to Task For His Stance on Cases (more here and here):
University of Virginia legal scholar Douglas Laycock is facing criticism from gay rights groups for his support of religious freedom laws that activists say could lead to discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Activists also are upset at his support for Hobby Lobby in an ongoing Supreme Court case involving contraception coverage.
Laycock, who is married to UVa President Teresa A. Sullivan, is the subject of a Freedom of Information Act records request by two UVa student activists — Gregory Lewis and Stephanie Montenegro. In an open letter to the professor, Lewis and Montenegro said that while they respect Laycock’s right to academic freedom, they believe his writings supporting controversial religious freedom laws are holding back progressive causes such as access to contraceptives and gay marriage. ...
“As leaders on the UVa campus, we strongly believe in engaging in dialogue, and, equally as important, for professors to truly understand the implications of their work,” the letter continues.
Commentators across the ideological spectrum have condemned the actions of the UVa law students:
Stephen Bainbridge (UCLA), The Purge Arrives at the University of Virginia: PC Thugs versus Douglas Laycock:
The continuing effort by left-liberals to silence any dissent from their politically correct mandates is now taking on a famed legal scholar: [The UVa student] said they’re not trying to smear Laycock, and they’re not trying to undermine academic freedom. They just want a dialogue, he said.
Bullshit. You don't start a dialogue with FOIA requests. This is a blatant effort at deterring public participation by anyone who does not hew 100% to the most radical version of the gay rights movement.
“I think it would be really constructive for him to hear how his work is being used to hurt the LGBTQ community,” said [the student]. “I don’t think he has any ill intent. I think he’s very thoughtful and moderate, and willing to hear both sides. But I think that everyone really has a lot to learn.”
My God. The pomposity and arrogance of these children (of the corn?) is just amazing. It's time to start fighting back. There have to be consequences for people like [them] or the day will come when they and their ilk will have successfully silenced the rest of us.
Brian Leiter (Chicago), Dear UVA Students: In Prying Into Prof. Laycock's E-mails You Are Attacking His Academic Freedom:
Douglas Laycock (Virginia) is, I would agree, on the wrong side of a number of recent religious liberty issues in both his advocacy and in his scholarship, but students requesting his e-mails are engaged in harassment and intimidation that infringe upon his academic freedom. Cut it out, kids! No good will come of this kind of mischief.
Walter Olson (Cato Institute), Critics Hit U.Va. Prof. Douglas Laycock With FOIA:
No one could doubt that Laycock’s views on religious accommodation are part of a set of intellectually derived convictions that run through decades of his work. (In addition to opposing such forms of church-state entanglement as officially sponsored prayer, he supports the right of gays to marry.) It’s simply a matter of trying to arm-twist a tenured, well-recognized scholar who takes a position that the Forces of Unanimity consider wrong. ...
It might also be time for legislators to clarify state open-records laws to determine under what circumstances they can be used to go after academics, and consider altering them, where appropriate, to provide for financial or other sanctions when they are misused.