It's a marketplace of ideas. Some of them are terrible.
It's been a great week for folks who hate lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people -- and want the world to know about it.
The Supreme Court today ruled 8-1
that those hate-spewing assholes from Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas are protected by the First Amendment. And in Illinois, the 7th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that suburban Chicago teenagers
are totally within their rights to wear T-shirts to school that say "Be Happy, Not Gay."
Westboro Baptist's brainless shtick, in case you've been hiding under a rock, is to protest military funerals because, um, God hates fags, as their lovely signs read. And God has apparently been picking off our military members in these current conflicts because America doesn't hate
people who are not straigh
t fags enough. (It's definitely not because they are fighting a war
The "church" was sued by the father of a dead soldier whose funeral they
picketed. Initially, he was awarded $11 million for Westboro's
intentional infliction of emotional distress. His award was later reduced
on appeal, and has now been thrown out. The only dissenting opinion was
written by Justice Samuel Alito.
As for the little charmers in Illinois, they
had worn their anti-gay T-shirts to school the day after a "Day of Silence" at Neuqua Valley High School, which
drew attention to LGBT kids being bullied. One student sued after school officials blacked out the
"Not Gay" portion of her shirt. The court said the school can't advocate
for gay kids while stifling the homophobic kids.
Two tidbits to
chew on in light of these rulings: If people are going to have hateful
opinions, might it not be a good thing for the rest of us if they
self-identify? If someone's wearing their hate on their sleeve, we suppose, it's
easy enough to steer clear.
But, of course, Voltaire also comes to mind: "I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it."