NLT readers who are members of the American Political Science Association may be aware that our professional association is entertaining a couple of proposals regarding the siting of meetings. In a nutshell, there are some--many?--in the profession who say they’re worried that "states with Constitutional restrictions on rights afforded recognized same-sex unions and partnerships may create an unwelcoming environment for our members in cities where we might meet."
If you’re interested in the proposals, you can go to this page, which provides a plethora of information. There’s even a comment box, in which I wrote the following:
Both proposals indicate a certain level of hostility to states in which there is exclusive public support for traditional marriage. I don’t think that the APSA should be in the business of taking sides in a political dispute, using its prestige and business clout to punish states and localities whose citizens don’t share the views held-rather intensely-by some portion of the APSA membership. If the Association goes down this path, I can foresee other efforts to take political stands. Will we refuse to convene in states whose citizens passed referenda prohibiting affirmative action? Will there be a move to stay out of states that use lotteries to prey on the gullibility of lower income citizens? Or should the Supreme Court at some point overrule ROE, will some of my colleagues press the APSA to refuse to convene in states that choose to restrict access to abortion?
At some point we cease being a professional association that welcomes and includes the variety of points of view that members hold and become a mere interest group. Both proposals represent an ill-advised step in that direction.
I fully expect the APSA to adopt one of the two proposals, which would make it difficult (albeit perhaps not impossible) to hold a meeting in the vast majority of states. But, unlike at least some of my colleagues, I won’t thereby be deterred from entering precincts that would constitute an "unwelcoming environment" for someone who holds my views.
For the moment, I’ll just enjoy considering what would happen if regional and state associations followed the lead of the national association. Imagine a Southern or Georgia Political Science Association Annual Meeting held in New York or Boston!