Anti-Gay T-shirts Sold at Connecticut High School Considered ‘Freedom of Speech’

Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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7 Responses

  1. To answer your hypothetical, they probably would. The ACLU has defended the KKK and similar hate groups before, and they will again. Their principles regarding the right to free speech are consistent, even if it means having to defend some really disgusting people (who hate the ACLU).

    That kid’s an asshole, but wearing that shirt isn’t illegal. The school could probably get him for selling more of those shirts if they wanted to, but legal precedent is pretty clear that they really can’t stop him from wearing it. I also have no doubt that the ACLU is going to be going up against school districts elsewhere that’ll try to crack down against Day of Silence participants.

  2. Tom Janus says:

    I know I always want the ACLU to be on the side of LGBT issues. This is one of those “hard spot & a rock” deals that would seem unavoidable. We all want our freedom of speech protected, and this is an example of
    “All” means everybody including the jerks.

  3. Michael Zhang says:

    Free speech is free speech, regardless of whether or not you agree with it. Yes, the speech expressed here is absolutely despicable, but the student has a right to it nonetheless. To believe in freedom of speech is to believe that anyone should have the right to express what they believe in, regardless of whether their speech is unpopular or hateful. The ACLU is consistent in their dedication to the first amendment, and they would most certainly protect other forms of unpopular speech, like that of the KKK.

    Trying to prohibit this speech would not be much different from, say, a Utah school that tries to silence a pro-gay rights student for fear of spreading those ideas to other students. The right to freedom of speech would not be a meaningful right if it didn’t apply to the most unpopular views just as much as it applies to the most popular ones.

    • Will Kohler says:

      Let me just say something here. The point of this post was not to deny the kiddie bigot his freedom of speech. But to point out that the ACLU does have a choice in what cases they take and who they represent. There are many religious law organizations that could have taken that case. Don’t get me wrong the ACLU is a great organization, but they do have a choice.

      • Michael Zhang says:

        The most controversial, most vilified forms of speech are the ones that most deserve to be defended. This is a clear cut example of an authority attempting to stifle a person’s first amendment rights, and if the ACLU doesn’t take up a case like this, they’re essentially making a value judgment based on the speech itself, which goes against the organization’s purpose in the first place.

  4. I don’t think the ACLU are a great organization. With this case they have helped to foster an anti-gay, physically intimidating, unsafe environment for LGBT students. The are guilty of what they’e supposedly against-bullying. Gay and lesbian students at that school should sue Seth Groody, the ACLU and school district. Safety, well-being issues should trump free speech ones. The ACLU have blood on their hands.

  5. Friends says:

    Please note Seth Groody’s posted comment at the following site:

    http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=4ycCX_B58Hw&page=1
    He said…quote:

    “My AGM STG-44 will physically ass rape most Cybergun guns.”

    It seems to me that Seth Groody has…shall we say…internal conflicts regarding his sexual identity.

What do you think?