“Often referred to as the ‘most conservative’ of the Supreme Court jurists, [Antonin] Scalia spends part of his Windsor dissent arguing in defense of what used to be considered a most ‘liberal’ notion,” says Elizabeth Scalia in today’s column, “that human beings have a right to express their point of view without fear of reprisal; a right to dissent from conventional wisdom; a right, even, to be wrong.”
It is a sentiment that free-thinkers (of even the recent past) would often express by quoting Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s summary of Voltaire’s thinking: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Thank goodness our president came to his senses just last year, in mid-reelection campaign; thank goodness his presumed successor, Mrs. Clinton, made it abundantly clear—a scant twelve weeks ago—that she supports gay marriage, saying LGBT Americans “are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship.”
Whether the Bad People who argue for tolerance of their own viewpoints will remain “full and equal citizens, etc” remains to be seen. A recent Department of Justice memo on Gay Pride Month chillingly suggested otherwise when it instructed employees to be vocal and visible in their support because, “silence will be interpreted as disapproval,” even if one does not especially disapprove. The threat of payback for perceived disapproval did not need spelling out.
Read the full column here.