Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Thought Police--Alive and well in Oakland

This positively floored me when I read this. I didn't think I was reading it right when I spotted the story from Captain's Quarters but once I read the piece by George Will, I knew I wasn't going to be happy:

Marriage is the foundation of the natural family and sustains family values. That sentence is inflammatory, perhaps even a hate crime.

At least it is in Oakland, Calif. That city's government says those words, italicized here, constitute something akin to hate speech and can be proscribed from the government's open e-mail system and employee bulletin board.

When the McCain-Feingold law empowered government to regulate the quantity, content and timing of political campaign speech about government, it was predictable that the right of free speech would increasingly be sacrificed to various social objectives that free speech supposedly impedes. And it was predictable that speech suppression would become an instrument of cultural combat, used to settle ideological scores and advance political agendas by silencing adversaries.

That has happened in Oakland. And, predictably, the ineffable
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ratified this abridgement of First Amendment protections. Fortunately, overturning the 9th Circuit is steady work for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Some African American Christian women working for Oakland's government organized the Good News Employee Association (GNEA), which they announced with a flier describing their group as "a forum for people of Faith to express their views on the contemporary issues of the day. With respect for the Natural Family, Marriage and Family Values."

The flier was distributed after other employees' groups, including those advocating gay rights, had advertised their political views and activities on the city's e-mail system and bulletin board. When the GNEA asked for equal opportunity to communicate by that system and that board, it was denied. Furthermore, the flier they posted was taken down and destroyed by city officials, who declared it "homophobic" and disruptive.

The city government said the flier was "determined" to promote harassment based on sexual orientation. The city warned that the flier and communications like it could result in disciplinary action "up to and including termination."

Effectively, the city has proscribed any speech that even one person might say questioned the gay rights agenda and therefore created what that person felt was a "hostile" environment. This, even though gay rights advocates used the city's communication system to advertise "Happy Coming Out Day." Yet the terms "natural family," "marriage" and "family values" are considered intolerably inflammatory.

I expect a sound, strong rebuke fromt he Supreme Court on this particular case. Only a court like the Ninth would ever consider free speech to be some sort of hate crime. These people have just as much of a right to speak on what they believe as gays do. However, the city of Oakland could have gone about this in a much smarter fashion. That would have been to ban any sort of political or special interest things from their systems. No gay and lesbian talking points. No "family friendly" talking points. Use the system for what it was designed for, namely e-mail communications between departments and workers.

Unfortunately, those in Oakland obviously don't wish to take the easy route. They wanted to take this up to the Ninth Circuit Court, and in doing so they have upset a fair number of people that are aware of this case. It is a direct slap to those who believe in free speech, and thought their views were as welcome as those of alternative lifestyles.

Sabrina McKinney


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