A national LGBT activist group called GetEQUAL has launched a campaign against University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock for producing research that could hurt “progressive causes” like gay marriage. But this latest chapter in the culture wars is especially bizarre: Laycock supports gay marriage, and the group targeting him refers to him as a moderate. But he has also supported religious liberty exemptions like SB 1062, the infamous Arizona bill vetoed by the state’s Governor. It would have allowed individuals to use religious freedom as a defense against private discrimination suits brought against them in court.As local news site C-Ville reports, the fact that some conservatives have picked up Laycock’s pro-religious liberty arguments is enough to get him on the hit list. GetEQUAL is running a “national e-mail campaign calling out Laycock for his role in shoring up the legal arguments of those who support ‘religious bigotry.'” And supported by GetEQUAL, two UVA students have filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Laycock’s personal records. The Richmond Times-Dispatch:
In an open letter to the professor, [students Greg] Lewis and [Stephanie] Montenegro said that while they respect Laycock’s right to academic freedom, they believe his writings supporting controversial religious freedom laws are holding back such progressive causes as access to contraceptives and gay marriage. […]Lewis and Montenegro are seeking, among other things, university-funded travel expenses and cellphone records for the past 2½ years. The students wrote that the request — a copy of which was sent to The Daily Progress — was in the public interest, seeking “a full, transparent accounting of the resources used by Professor Laycock which may be going towards halting the progress of the LGBT community and to erode the reproductive rights of women across the country.”
This is the new principle of campus free speech: Not only do you have to have the right views, but you cannot produce research that could be used by those with the wrong views.