Even ?dirtbags? have right to free speech

Allen Falken

Allen FalkenColumnist

Recently, the Supreme Court upheld the rights of the Westboro Baptist Church to protest outside the funerals of soldiers. They say that god is killing soldiers because of the United States’ “acceptance” of homosexuals. Apparently to them “acceptance” involves passing laws against gay people’s right to marry the ones they love.

As far as the Westboro Baptist lunatics’ right to protest goes, I begrudgingly have to agree with the Supreme Court’s decision. Those dirtbags have the same rights as all other straight people have in this country.

This is where it gets confusing to me. The Westboro Baptist bigots are universally reviled for their disrespect for fallen troops because of their hatred for homosexuals. Yet our former president proposed a constitutional amendment that would define as marriage as a heterosexuals only institution.

The message I am hearing is “We agree with the Westboro Baptist Church that homosexuals are less than citizens, we just have a problem with their choice of venue.”

This should not be a liberal or a conservative issue but the lines seem to be drawn that way. I am quite liberal and not shy about it, but I can find common ground on some conservative platforms and even agree whole heartedly with a few libertarian ideas.

Gay marriage is one topic I have never heard a single compelling argument against.

Churches that didn’t acknowledge marriage between same sex couples wouldn’t be forced to host gay weddings. God’s magical marriage spell isn’t a prerequisite to equal rights.

One argument I hear a lot is, “if we allow gay marriage we would have to allow polygamy.” Again, who cares? If some adult falls in love with more than one other adult, good for them. Doesn’t change my plans to play Dungeons and Dragons and watch Arrested Development all weekend.

Another argument I hear is “if we allow gays to marry then we have to let people marry animals or pedophiles marry children.” Wow! That sure escalated fast! So gay people are suddenly sexual predators? Why can’t we just allow adults to marry adults and continue to not let adults marry children. It seems like a fairly obvious place to draw a line. As far as marrying animals goes? Seems fine to me. As long as they aren’t abusing the animals it doesn’t seem like a problem to me. I mean, I consider my dog Gunner a friend, (totally platonic), but I doubt he has ever thought of me as anything other than the guy that feeds him.

All the other arguments I have read or heard get so far out on a limb that I don’t feel like I need to refute them.

Most of peoples’ problem with gay people is a problem of them feeling uncomfortable about gay people. Heck, I feel uncomfortable around anyone, gay or straight, being affectionate in public, but feeling comfortable isn’t protected by the government. Our rights are what matter. Whether it is the Wesboro Baptist’s right to spew their hate speech at grieving families or the right of gay people to be equal under the law.

The way I see it, since we cannot take away those hate mongers’ rights the best way to stick it to them is to give rights to all our fellow citizens.