In Log Cabin’s release calling on Oklahoma legislator Sally Kern to resign because of her recent remarks, its president Patrick Sammon said, “Free speech doesn’t mean the right to compare law-abiding, tax-paying citizens to terrorists.”
Um, Patrick, actually, it does. That’s why it’s called free speech. People are free to say whatever they want, no matter how stupid. And alas, no matter how hateful.
Free speech protects the rights of misguided, narrow-minded individuals like Ms. Kern to say whatever she wants even if it makes as little sense as her latest remarks. Just as it protects your right to call on her to resign. Or Rev. Wright’s freedom to spew hateful bile about white Americans.
It even protects Andrew Sullivan’s right to call himself a conservative as he verbally swoons over the most liberal member of the United States Senate and backs his candidacy for president of the United States.
I agree with Patrick that “Oklahoma deserves better” than Sally Kern. But, once we start saying that free speech doesn’t protect her nonsensical ramblings, what other kind of speech will we find is not protected by free speech?
UPDATE: I e-mailed this post to Patrick Sammon and he wrote back, clarifying his remarks cited above. To read them click here
Just to be clear—I’m not saying she doesn’t have the right to say what she did. I’m a huge free speech advocate (especially as a former journalist). I’m all for a battle of ideas. I’m sorry if the impression was left with people that I would somehow advocate muzzling someone who’s anti-gay (or muzzling anyone for any reason). Let people say whatever they wantâ€”including Sally Kern. We just hope her constituents hold her accountable for those words.