Title IX states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving financial assistance.”
This piece of legislation, passed in 1972, was, and continues to be controversial. Certainly the aim of the legislation was good; attempt through legislation, to ensure that female athletes and female sports teams received funding on par with their male counterparts. Good in theory, perhaps unfortunate in application. As a result of Title IX, many male athletes have lost opportunities. Title IX emphasizes spending equal amounts of money on women’s sports programs as men’s. This has proven to be difficult as most institutions have more male athletes. An sample victim of Title IX is wrestling. Many schools cut their wrestling programs as a result of Title IX. In Utah, this meant 3,500 high school wrestlers were having to go out of state to continue wrestling careers and find access to scholarships. Fortunately now, Utah Valley University has a wrestling program.
Enter the ACLU. CBS News reports that the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to school officials in Cranston, Rhode Island, informing them their traditional father-daughter dances and mother-son dances were in violation of the state’s Title IX equivalent. While Federal Title IX provides an exception for father-son and mother-daughter activities, Rhode Island’s version does not.
This was all sparked when a single mother when her daughter was not able to go to the school’s father-daughter dance. This is not to say there should be no recourse for the daughter, surely she should have been able to attend with an uncle, a grandfather, a close family friend, a male mentor, but to have the ACLU step in and shut down the whole event seems a bit excessive.
School officials, in response to the ACLU, have announced the father-daughter dances are no more, to ensure everyone is treated the same, the mother-son dances are also cut. Instead both dances will be replaced with family dances. If dancing with your mom or dad was uncomfortable to do in front of your same gender peers, imagine the whole new level of awkwardness doing the same in front of the girl you have a crush on!
To quote Jeana Brookes article, Father-Daughter Love Deemed Illegal, “Gender equality is great, but the ACLU has taken the whole “separate but not equal” thing to a new level. What will be banned next? Boy bands, because their managers refuse to hire girls? Or maybe women’s book clubs, because men read Fifty Shades of Grey too? And the Unisex Scouts of America just sounds wrong. Either way, there’s a fine line between pragmatism and the law, and the ACLU is walking it.”
Schmidt & Gladstone Law Firm
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Salt Lake City, UT 84111