Shut up! They Said
Leading up to Justice Kennedy’s fateful 5-4 decision, there was plenty of debate on both sides, and the proponents of same-sex marriage emphasized that they just wanted to be treated the same as heterosexual couples. They even coined the deceptively simple slogan, “Marriage Equality.” That was then.
As soon as the proponents of same-sex marriage prevailed in the U.S. Supreme Court, it became clear that the rules of engagement had changed. Debate seems no longer permitted, and “equality” is no longer the goal—neither the reasoning nor result of Obergefell is subject to challenge. Liberals may give lip service to the rights of free speech and religious expression, but like the Orwellian logic of Animal Farm, some rights are “more equal” than others.
For example, following Obergefell, Austin City Councilman Don Zimmerman, a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, posted a message on Facebook (and later elaborated in a radio interview), stating his concern that the open-ended reasoning of Justice Kennedy’s decision could lead to the extension of constitutional protection to pedophiles, who could claim that their desire for “intergenerational love” required the elimination (or lowering) of the age of consent. Zimmerman’s concern is a big stretch, but then the holding of Obergefell was also unimaginable a decade ago. Certainly Zimmerman’s comment is a valid opinion constituting protected speech under the First Amendment. Or is it? Austin resident Mark Walters filed an ethics complaint against Zimmerman with the city’s Ethics Review Commission, alleging that his remarks violated the city’s personnel policies because they were “unprofessional” and “disrespectful.” Walters’ complaint received sympathetic treatment in the local media. Walters reportedly wants Zimmerman removed from office, but would settle for making him attend “sensitivity training.”
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