Dear Harry and Wendy, and Colleagues,
Actually I find some value in the complex policy that the Council is now considering, and hope that it will guide APSA's future decisions about siting meetings. As you know, I have thought about this question for a good long time. Here is what I have concluded: the bright line through the decisions to site our meetings has to be that when people's rights are in jeopardy, no amount of other factors can compensate for that threat.
After all is said and done, the proper decision is to move the 2012 meeting out of New Orleans.
The people of the State of Louisiana has taken an extraordinarily hostile act towards those who are gays and lesbians. No one has challenged the legality of this action, and as you have pointed out, any such challenge is not likely to be resolved by the time the meeting is held. We can no longer hope that this situation will resolve in a way in which this hostility will disappear, as much as we might want to maneuver around it.
The Annual Meeting should never be held in a place where members have to decide whether to attend a professional meeting or follow their deepest convictions, and the Association should not place its members in such a situation. That is why we moved the meeting from San Francisco in the face of labor action there. From the standpoint of the Association, the annual meeting includes the largest group of Association members as participants of any of its activities, and in many ways, defines what the APSA is. As you point out, it will not be good to have a divisive issue in which the Association seems to be ignoring the concerns for safety, integrity and basic respect of some of its members.