Saturday, August 09, 2008

Why I Will Honor the AALS Boycott

The owner of the Manchester Grand Hyatt, at which the AALS Annual Meeting is now scheduled to be held, has funded an initiative to ban gay marriage in California. Four groups – the Society of American Law Teachers, the Legal Writing Institute, the AALS Section on Legal Writing Research and Reasoning, and the AALS Section on Teaching Methods – have called for a boycott of sessions held at his hotels.

Although I have served as my school’s representative to the AALS House of Representatives for several years, I plan to honor the boycott. I have too many friends to whom this issue means too much for me not to do so. My parents' marriage was illegal in about half the United States for much of my childhood. Were Loving v. Virginia to be overturned, my own marriage would be illegal in some states even today. I therefore take the initiative personally.

For me, however, the issue is not ultimately political. It is rather whether, when our friends and colleagues ask for help, we help.

They’ve asked.


Blogger Ani Onomous said...

1. Is there, in fact, an AALS boycott? Your title suggests that there is, and you say at the end that you will honor the boycott. Or are you saying that the decision by particular sections to boycott has involved a request by them that section members or other AALS members not attend the meeting -- as opposed to, say, canceling their own section/organization's events?

2. If it hasn't been decided, I think the relevant question that most people have been debating is whether the organization should take a stand, not whether to honor a boycott. (This is like the distinction between the question of whether to strike and the question of whether to honor a strike that has been called, perhaps by a union that is not your own.) I can't tell whether you intended to address the former question, and I'm not sure whether you would abstract from your personal feelings to the decision of the organization as a whole.

8/09/2008 2:32 PM  
Blogger Jeffrey Harrison said...

Thanks Ted. What ever the answer to Ani's question, I will have my personal boycott and I am confident others will as well. Please keep us informed. I cannot help but believe that who ever made the schedule did not realize this and, hopefully, it will be corrected.

8/09/2008 2:37 PM  

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