Adding to our earlier discussion of discrimination against monsters, here’s another post from Summer Associate Keith Yetter:
Apparently a small number of Americans identify as actual vampires! A recent Newsweek article profiles the work of DJ Williams, director of the social work program at Idaho State University, researching these Vampire-Americans.
In the ongoing evolution of individual identity rights, the article makes the predictable comparison between people who identify as vampires and the LGBT community. “The [discussion of individual rights] is prescient in a time when how one self-identifies is a topic of national conversation—from the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage to Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out as a woman and appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair,” the article said.
In his dissent in Lawrence v. Texas, Justice Scalia famously argued that if the court was not prepared to uphold laws based on moral disapproval then “state laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity” would also have to be struck down. Justice Scalia must have forgotten to include vampires, werewolves, and fairies.
Taking moral disapproval off the table, the state could make different arguments for having a rational basis to regulate vampirism. Public health concerns immediately spring to mind that might support laws regulating the transfer of blood in order to prevent disease. Or, perhaps, consenting adults should be left alone to live their lives as long as they do not impact anyone else.
A vampire rights movement sounds like something out of a fantasy novel and is unlikely to catch fire anytime soon. However, as our society moves beyond accepting moral disapproval as appropriate motivation for government action, we would do well to consider whether we might have more legitimate reasons for rejecting some “alternative lifestyles.”