They’re for ‘Free Speech’ Unless They Don’t Like It

The Advocate reports:

“Following an online outcry and protest threats, New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center canceled an event — billed as the #WalkAway LGBT Town Hall — that was to feature controversial queer conservatives and encourage LGBTQ people to “walk away” from the Democratic Party.”

The Center issued this Orwellian statement:

“We strongly oppose censorship and fully stand by our commitment to free speech, but as our space use policy states, we reserve the right to cancel any event that promotes discriminatory speech or bigotry; negatively impacts other groups or individuals that use The Center; or conflicts with, or interferes with, Center-sponsored or produced programming. It has become clear that this event would violate all of these important policies.”

So, the Center won’t allow a conservative LGBTQ group to use its space because they oppose the agenda of LGBTQ Democratic groups. But those groups routinely rip into LGBTQ Rebpuplicans and conservatives, and that’s just fine.

As instapundit Glenn Reynolds likes to say, if it weren’t for their double standards, progressives would have no standards at all.

More. Over the years, the Center has received considerable funding from both New York City and State taxpayers.

9 Comments for “They’re for ‘Free Speech’ Unless They Don’t Like It”

  1. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    As instapundit Glenn Reynolds likes to say, if it weren’t for their double standards, progressives would have no standards at all.

    If you wish to be taken seriously, it would be a good idea to avoid the logical error of hasty generalization — the leap from a single instance to a general rule. The fact that there is a great deal of criticism of The Center’s decision coming from both left/liberal gays/lesbians and conservative homosexuals cuts your assertion off at the knees. You wouldn’t have fallen into that swamp if you would follow Lori’s advice — stop, breath, think — before you wrote.

    And anyway, progressives do have some standards, like it or not.

    Whatever the merits of The Center’s decision in the particular instance, I think that it is interesting that Greg Angelo decided — apparently years ago — that The Center’s mission and programs were so abhorrent that he would no longer support the organization at all. Had the #WalkAway group consulted him beforehand, Angelo would have probably advised the group not to spend a dime at The Center and find another venue. In retrospect, that might have been the wiser choice.

    I am coming to think that the respective agendas of left/liberal gays/lesbians and conservative homosexuals have now diverged to the point where there is little or no common ground left. For me, the recent spate of attacks by conservative homosexuals on marriage equality (epitomized by Chad Felix Greene’s characterization of our long political battle and long march through the Courts as “bullying” in the thread “Our Rights, and Theirs” by Stephen H. Miller on March 18, 2019) is the last straw.

    If we don’t agree on something as basic as marriage equality, what do we agree on?

    Reply
    • posted by Jorge on

      If we don’t agree on something as basic as marriage equality, what do we agree on?

      I think you’re confusing political division with ideological division.

      One could argue that abortion has become THE basis for the division between Democrats and Republicans. It is next to impossible for a Democrat to be pro-life or even be tolerant of a pro-life position, and vice versa for Republicans and being pro-choice.

      It doesn’t mean both parties aren’t democratic or patriotic or for civil rights or the economy or public safety or any of a number of other issues. It just means that the parties are committed to their chosen goals and have a hard time cooperating with each other. The chances of cooperation between the two are highly dependent on their ability and inclination to avoid the issue that divides them on a temporary basis.

      Taking that political division, and inferring that one should then doubt one’s ideological purity–whether one is for democracy, or regulated capitalism, or civil rights, or public safety, or the best interests of the country–is absurd. It is more harmful than useful.

      The same thing applies to gay marriage and the numerous issues surrounding it. What else is there for gays to agree on? Everything that has come before and will come after marriage. But a detente may not be ethical at this time. Either forcing a baker to bake a cake is an act of tyranny forcing him to partake in a religious ceremony he does not believe in, or it is a necessary act of making goods and services available to gays. It isn’t in many people’s best interests to back down from this fight at this time.

      Reply
    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      It doesn’t mean both parties aren’t democratic or patriotic or for civil rights or the economy or public safety or any of a number of other issues. It just means that the parties are committed to their chosen goals and have a hard time cooperating with each other. The chances of cooperation between the two are highly dependent on their ability and inclination to avoid the issue that divides them on a temporary basis.

      That conservative homosexuals think that (2) Obergefell was wrongly decided, and/or that (2) the political battle we fought for marriage (including the fight against the anti-marriage amendments) over the last two decades was won by “bullying” the voters, and/or that (3) Obergefell, Windsor and the numerous lower-level decisions we won in the courts were won by “bullying” judges and Justices (in particular Justice Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion in both Windsor and Obergefell) doesn’t mean that conservative homosexuals “aren’t democratic or patriotic or for civil rights or the economy or public safety or any of a number of other issues”. It also doesn’t mean that conservative homosexuals are bad people for that reason.

      It does mean, however, that there is a core divide (and to my mind, a divide that cannot be bridged) between left/liberal gays/lesbians and conservative homosexuals on the issue.

      Conservative homosexuals seem to believe and increasingly assert that gays and lesbians won the marriage equality political and legal battles through “bullying” and other coercive means, and (of logical necessity) that gays and lesbians who participated in that battle “aren’t aren’t democratic or patriotic or for civil rights or the economy or public safety or any of a number of other issues” because they won that battle by subverting the political and legal process.

      I don’t know where in the hell we are supposed to go from there with conservative homosexuals, seeking common ground. Conservative homosexuals are increasingly sounding like anti-equality Christians.

      The fight for marriage equality was the central battle of the last two decades. My view is that we won the fight fair and square — laying the political and legal groundwork over the course of a decade, and then building on that groundwork to change the views of the American people and to prevail on the constitutional argument in the courts. Conservative homosexuals are (increasingly of late) going out of their way to attack the legitimacy our our work, our win, and marriage equality itself.

      Why? I don’t know. Is it a misguided attempt to find common ground with the likes of Tony Perkins, an enemy of equal treatment for gays and lesbians if there ever was one? I don’t know. Is it an attempt to lay the groundwork for reversing Obergefell now that Justice Kennedy is retired and the Court would clearly have decided Obergefell differently, and may reverse it in due course? I don’t know.

      But whatever the reason, what, exactly, is our common ground if we cannot begin with the fact of marriage equality as a fact on the ground and discuss from there?

      Until a few months ago, I thought that the divide between left/liberal gays/lesbians and conservative homosexuals was a divide over “how far, how fast” — that left/liberal gays/lesbians pushed the political and legal envelope while conservative homosexuals sought to slow the process in order to give anti-equality Christians time to catch up with the rest of the country. I disagreed with conservative homosexuals on that score (as is evident from comments I made on IGF going back to 2004, when I advocated abandoning the “step-by-step” strategy and deploying a “marriage equality or bust” strategy), but I could live with the disagreement because it involved a question of tactics and strategy, and I didn’t have any problem discussing tactics and strategies with anyone, left/liberal or conservative.

      But now the world has changed. Marriage equality is a fact on the ground, and it is widely supported by the American people. The most recent polls show that about 70% of Americans support marriage equality. Even a slight majority (or close to) of Republicans now support marriage equality.

      So why, at this point, are conservative homosexuals turning on marriage equality, increasingly arguing (as does Chad Felix Greene) that our win on marriage equality was illegitimate, a result of bad faith and bad dealing?

      And, given that, what is to talk about? Left/liberal gays/lesbians are not going to (and shouldn’t be expected to) sit down and calmly discuss with conservative homosexuals about the legitimacy of marriage equality. Not at this point, certainly.

      So I repeat my question: If conservative homosexuals cannot accept the legitimacy of marriage equality, after a two decade long struggle in the political arena and the courts, what can we agree on?

      Reply
      • posted by Jorge on

        A few things. Don’t rightly know what order to put them in.

        1) The people involved in the lawsuits were far fewer than the ones involved in activism. So I think the situation with activists is more akin to “unearned privilege” that is said to be enjoyed by the descendants of white Americans. The few create a system where their inheritors experience an illusion of agency.

        2) To the extent that marriage divides liberal and conservative gays, it’s not about the marriage. It’s about the law.

        If changing the views of the American people was important, why was prevailing on the constitutional argument necessary? Seems to me there was a campaign not only to to change the views of the American people, but the views of the American elite.

        It matters that legal recognition of gay marriage came about (in most areas) through the courts rather than legislatively. It means there is little ability to put a stop to the slippery slope toward ends that most people emphatically do not want and do not believe is helpful. It means that there is little way to slow the pace of social change, little predicting where it will lead. A small group of self-styled elites will continue to wield an outsized power over the people.

        So I repeat my question: If conservative homosexuals cannot accept the legitimacy of marriage equality, after a two decade long struggle in the political arena and the courts, what can we agree on?

        3) You are banging your head against two things liberals and conservatives simply do not have in common: the priority they give to equality alone as a moral value, and the priority they give to process alone as a moral value.

        Far more people respond to a sob story. A good sob story gives truth to the lie. Mrs. Windsor claimed damages that were significant, and far beyond what she should have gotten from her long relationship and marriage. Such things happen with outdated laws–that’s why we change them. And that’s why it was hard to attack the court decision she won.

        Most conservatives do not think the gay couple denied a wedding cake by Masterpiece Cake Shop had a good sob story. Among other things, we haven’t heard that the mother was turned away, too, we don’t know what happened to the wedding reception, we know nothing of the inconvenience and trouble incurred. Too much discussion was spent on the inequality, too little on the suffering. Conservatives spent quite a bit of time on the suffering of Jack Philips, and what we thought of the process.

        Reply
  2. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    To the extent that marriage divides liberal and conservative gays, it’s not about the marriage. It’s about the law.

    If changing the views of the American people was important, why was prevailing on the constitutional argument necessary? Seems to me there was a campaign not only to change the views of the American people, but the views of the American elite.

    The two campaigns (political and constitutional) were independent of one another, logically and practically, the constitutional right not dependent on public opinion. Constitutional decisions frequently buck public opinion, and that is how it should be, because the Constitution (the Bill of Rights, in particular) is a check on majority rule.

    Looking at marriage, I would suggest that most of the Court’s opinions expanding marriage rights (e.g. Loving, Turner, Zablocki, Obergefell) were decided in the face of majority opposition.

    Take Loving, for example, as a close relative of Obergefell. When Loving was decided in 1967, a large majority of Americans (77% of whites and 73% of all Americans) disapproved of interracial marriage, and a majority of Americans (59%) approved of laws banning interracial marriage. Public opinion changed over time, and by the time that Gallup last sampled on the question of interracial marriage (2013), the numbers had reversed — 84% of Americans approved of interracial marriage, and the question of public opinion about laws banning interracial marriage had been long since dropped. Why did public opinion change/reverse? In part, public opinion was changed because of Loving — as interracial marriages began to happen in the wake of Loving, people got used to the idea and see that there was no harm in allowing blacks and whites to marry.

    The political campaign for marriage equality was important not because it determined the constitutional right, but because (1) it was not all that clear that the constitutional campaign would be successful, which would have meant that the battle would have been fought entirely in the political arena, of necessity, (2) the political campaign led a number of states to grant marriage equality legislatively, allowing people time to get used to the idea and to see that there was no harm in allowing gays and lesbians to marry, and (3) the political campaign help to lay the groundwork for acceptance of Obergefell.

    So the two campaigns, although logically distinct, had to be fought simultaneously. At least that is how most “homosexual activists” involved in one, the other or both campaigns saw it at the time.

    It matters that legal recognition of gay marriage came about (in most areas) through the courts rather than legislatively. It means there is little ability to put a stop to the slippery slope toward ends that most people emphatically do not want and do not believe is helpful. It means that there is little way to slow the pace of social change, little predicting where it will lead. A small group of self-styled elites will continue to wield an outsized power over the people.

    The “slippery slope” you describe is both determined by and bounded by the Constitution. As Justice Scalia correctly predicted in his ill-tempered dissent in Lawrence, removing “moral approbation” as a constitutional ground for laws criminalizing sodomy led, more or less directly, to Obergefell, just as Griswold (states cannot ban contraception for married couples) eventually (and inevitably, I suspect) led to a long line of cases limiting the government’s right to control people’s private lives, including Lawrence and Obergefell.

    But such is life, Jorge, and such is the operation of stare decisis. Each constitutional decision sets a precedent that is applied to new situations as they arise, and the boundaries of constitutional protection slowly change, expanding and contracting according to the situation under consideration. The “slippery slope” is not a one-way proposition.

    The “religious freedom” cases we have been discussing over the last few years are a good example of how this operates.

    Reynolds (the 1879 polygamy case) defined a very narrow boundary for the free exercise clause, protecting only those religious practices that were not in conflict with the law.

    Between the mid-1930’s and the mid-1950’s the “Jehovah Witness cases” expanded that narrow interpretation of the free exercise clause to limit the government’s right to ban dissemination of religious literature through permitting and anti-littering laws, to prohibit the government from making decisions about which religions were legitimate and which were not, to limit the government’s ability to ban preaching in public parks, and to compel students in school recite the Pledge of Allegiance or salute the flag despite religious objection.

    In Sherbert (a work-on-Saturday case, 1963), the Court articulated a constitutional standard for deciding religious freedom cases in situations that directly targeted/impacted religious exercise — the “substantial burden, compelling interest, least restrictive means” test. In 1972, Yoder (an Amish school case), the Court arguably expanded application of the “substantial burden, compelling interest, least restrictive means” test from targeted/impacted situations to laws of general applicability. In Employment Division (1990), the Court contracted Sherbet/Yoder, articulating a more restrictive test for laws of general application — the “rational basis” test — cutting back the constitutional boundaries of religious freedom.

    In response to Employment Division, Congress enacted RFRA (a law that embodies the “substantial burden, compelling interest, least restrictive means” test), and applied it to all laws, federal and state, in essence rendering Employment Division irrelevant. In Bourne, the Court held that Congress had exceeded its constitutional authority in mandating the “substantial burden, compelling interest, least restrictive means” test for state laws of general application, significantly cutting back the constitutional boundaries of religious freedom with respect to state laws.

    Now we are headed for the next decision. Because the “Bake the Cake!” cases involve state law (currently governed by Employment Division‘s “rational basis” test in most states), the ADF (the conservative Christian legal activist law organization) is effectively asking the Court to overturn either Bourne (allowing RFRA to set the constitutional standard for state laws of general application) or Employment Division (eliminating the “rational basis” test for laws of general application altogether).

    We don’t yet know whether the Court will expand religious freedom by one of those means, to stick with what is now the law. All we can do is wait to see what happens in the cases coming forward.

    Reply
  3. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    The people involved in the lawsuits were far fewer than the ones involved in activism. So I think the situation with activists is more akin to “unearned privilege” that is said to be enjoyed by the descendants of white Americans. The few create a system where their inheritors experience an illusion of agency.

    When you think about it, almost all of the rights and freedoms we now enjoy are “unearned”, in the sense that none (or just a few in the case of the most recent advances) of us “earned” any of them.

    The Bill of Rights protects our freedom, but none alive fought for them or crafted them. The 13th Amendment likewise. All of the several hundred thousand Union troops that fought to preserve the Union and end slavery are long gone. The same is true of our desegregated military. Desgregation was “earned” by the thousands of African-American soldiers, sailors and airmen who fought in segregated units during World War II and made continued segregation of the military unpalatable. And that is the case with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its progeny in the states. Few alive today took part in the struggle for Civil Rights, so almost all of those now protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 enjoy “unearned” benefits from the Act and similar non-discrimination laws.

    I understand, as you point out, that few of the gays and lesbians alive today, enjoying relative freedom and a measure of equal treatment under the law, personally “earned” that right in any meaningful sense. The battle for gay/lesbian rights began in the 1950’s and accelerated in the 1970’s and subsequent. The risks, dangers and burdens of the hardest and most dangerous part of that battle were largely borne by members of the “Silent” generation (born 1930 to 1945) and members of the “Baby Boomer” generation (born 1945 to 1965). Men and women of “Generation X” (1965-1980) joined in the fight as they came of age in the late 1980’s and subsequent, and may well have been central to tipping the scales in the marriage equality battle. But it is not as if, in any of those generations, there were more than about 10% of gays and lesbians carrying the load at any given time.

    So, in that sense, none of us “earned” much of anything.

    It has always been the case that advances in freedom are “earned” by a minority of the population, men and women willing to risk a lot to right a wrong and make a change happen. Most, in contrast, sit on the sidelines, consumed with personal affairs, content to let others carry the load. And yet we all — including those who sat the fight out — benefit from advances in freedom and equality, few of them “earned” by any of us.

    It seems to me that this is a good thing rather than a bad thing.

    Reply
  4. posted by JohnInCA on

    […] and that’s just fine.

    Yep.

    The First Amendment and it’s Freedom of Speech guarantee is not an “entitlement to platform”. If a private group doesn’t want it’s stage used by a group, that’s their right, pending any other restrictive contracts they’ve signed.

    Free Speech as a more general concept, separate from the First Amendment’s Freedom of Speech is also okay with this: free speech doesn’t mean anyone is obligated to shoulder the fiscal costs of your event.

    Seriously, I like free speech, both as law and concept. But there’s no conflict with either and what happened here: a private actor deciding that the message of a given group did not match their own agenda, and deciding to not host them.

    Reply
  5. posted by David Bauler on

    Also, how big is IGF into free speech when it puts people on moderation….just saying…

    Reply
  6. posted by David Bauler on

    personally, id love to hear why i should “walk away” from the Democratic Party. then again. i like it when the circus comes to town.

    Reply

Leave a Comment