Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"Free Speech Zones"

This sort of thing really gets my goat up. I'm an advocate of gay rights and I wish that Christians and bigots -- and bigots hiding behind Christianity as an excuse for their own bigotry -- didn't feel the need to protest at gay pride events. I don't know why they give a shit which consenting adults other consenting adults have romantic relationships with. Nonetheless, they have the right to protest and speak their piece, just like everyone else. "Free speech zones" are nothing more than prior restraint on free speech and cannot be allowed in a free and politically active society.

I am using this particular example to make my point on this clear: I don't support free speech only when I agree with it. I support free speech universally, for those whose opinions I endorse and those whose opinions I loathe. I am no less enraged by anti-gay protestors being faced with ridiculous, arbitrary rules like the one mentioned in the linked article, where police told anti-gay protestors, "bigger people could carry bigger signs than smaller people - it all depended on how big your torso was," than I am when it is those espousing liberal views being restrained.

If we are willing to take freedom of speech away from those we disagree with, we have no freedom of speech. It's that simple.

Hat tip to Dispatches from the Culture Wars.


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