According to Southern Methodist University professor Ben Voth, writing in the American Thinker, two teams from the University of California at Berkeley will not likely participate in the National Debate Tournament to be held in late March at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. The two Berkeley teams are among the top sixteen teams in the country. They qualify automatically for the tournament. Two KU teams have also qualified as automatic at-large qualifiers for the 78-team NDT field.
Voth, the director of debate at SMU, observes that the State of California has banned university personnel from traveling to Kansas as well as North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi because these states have allegedly passed “anti-LGBT legislation.”
Orwell could not have imagined a law as Byzantine as California’s AB 1887. It reads: “A state is subject to the travel prohibition if, after June 26, 2015, it has enacted a law that voids or repeals, or has the effect of voiding or repealing, existing state or local protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, or has enacted a law that authorizes or requires discrimination against same-sex couples or their families or on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, including any law that creates an exemption to antidiscrimination laws in order to permit discrimination against same-sex couples or their families or on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”
In a trope worthy of the Queen of Hearts, the California state legislature contends that it strongly supports religious freedom, “a cornerstone of law and public policy,” and in the next breath insists, “The exercise of religious freedom should not be a justification for discrimination.”
“The free speech movement that began at Berkeley,” argues Voth, “has come full circle. Violence against free speech is now argued by the university to be a moral end.”