When the rights of groups conflict, it makes little sense that the historically privileged should be deemed the aggrieved party. But courtrooms and legislatures are not our only ground. We must reach in honesty and clarity across the social divide.
Though often used interchangeably, the concept of freedom of speech and the First Amendment are not the same thing. While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech and freedom of the press, it relates to duties of the state and state power.
Those who call gay people intolerant for defending ourselves are twisting the concept beyond recognition. Civility is a virtue; but tolerance does not require us to treat a relentless assault against our rights as citizens like a disagreement at the dinner table.
This "conversation" between members of the (heretofore homophobic) right and the gays makes two things startlingly clear. First, marriage makes for strange bedfellows, and second, marriage equality will not lead to the dismantling but rather a morphing of heterosexual privilege.
Gays are raising kids, straights are raising kids. Gays are marrying, straights are marrying. Could this be an "amazing moment" when the gay and straight family and marriage agendas converge? Is such a coalition even possible?
Censoring offensive speech is the wrong answer, particularly on our nation's college campuses. After all, the college campus has traditionally been an arena for debate and dialogue, and has been deemed by the Supreme Court to be "peculiarly the 'marketplace of ideas.'"
Harvard has missed something that I fear much of our society has lost sight of: Even if by some weird and lucky coincidence we happened to be right about every belief we cherish, we nevertheless tend not to understand why we hold those values until they are challenged.
Thanks to New York, the land of the free is now a little bit freer. I can almost see Lady Liberty pushing open our nation's doors a bit wider, welcoming people in these often dis-united states to enter that most conservative state of all -- the state of matrimony.
Without factual support, it is becoming less and less tenable for opponents of same-sex marriage to argue that their positions are not influenced by a dislike of gay people and their intimate relationships.
In this video, Jonathan Rauch eloquently explains how attempts to punish or silence opinions that we may find offensive are short-sighted, foolish, and ultimately undermine, not help, the rights of minorities.