In 1976, Sotomayor stood up for gay college students

by on May 30, 2009  •  In Supreme Court

The Michigan Messenger blog has posted a letter originally published in The Daily Princetonian in 1976 that condemns the ransacking of a dorm room shared by two members of the Gay Alliance of Princeton. Among the 39 signers was an undergraduate named Sonia Sotomayor.

The letter reads, in part:

For private citizens to try to intimidate the Gay Alliance into silence is a denial of the foundations on which a university is built.

No matter how much one may disagree with the Gay Alliance or the policies they are advocating, no matter how repugnant one may find homosexuality, the manner of expressing this opposition should be intellectual. At this university we are dedicated to persuasion by reason, not by brute force.

Intimidation of those courageous enough to express their views, violence directed against unpopular associations, midnight criminal assaults on private residences— these speak for themselves. The entire university community should be angry, and disgusted, that this kind of action has occurred at Princeton.

By itself, the letter tells us nothing but that Sotomayor joined an entirely conventional appeal to the values of free speech and for preservation of an intellectual culture based on reason. But 1976 was a long time ago. Straight college students did not write law school admission essays about their aspiration to work for gay equality. Probably no one on earth would have known or cared if she had simply declined to sign. I don't mean to overstate its significance, but the letter solidifies my sense that Sotomayor's nomination is the best thing to come out of this White House yet.


2 Responses to In 1976, Sotomayor stood up for gay college students

  1. Darren Hutchinson May 31, 2009 at 10:23 AM

    It is the best thing! You’re right.

  2. Daniel John October 29, 2009 at 5:47 AM

    Tiresome fact….

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