News Outlet Will Now Very Strictly Limit Op-Eds And Letters In Opposition To Same-Sex Marriage (ADDED: Ironic That Same News Outlet Publishes Op-Ed Scolding People For Needing Safe Spaces) UPDATE: Editor Apologizes
[guest post by Dana]
The writing is on the wall, or rather in an editorial, “The Supremes got it right – It’s no longer ‘gay marriage.’ It’s ‘marriage.’ And we’re better for it“:
On Friday, the United States crossed a similar threshold, continuing a long road to acceptance of same-sex unions.
And this news organization now crosses another threshold.
As a result of Friday’s ruling, PennLive/The Patriot-News will very strictly limit op-Eds and letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage.
These unions are now the law of the land. And we will not publish such letters and op-Eds any more than we would publish those that are racist, sexist or anti-Semitic.
We will, however, for a limited time, accept letters and op-Eds on the high court’s decision and its legal merits.
The march of progress is often slow, but it is always steady.
On Friday, the United States took another step toward the ideal of equality envisioned by its founders. And we are all more free as a result.
PennLive reaches 3.3 million readers weekly.
ADDED: Op-ed from PennLive wherein the writer identifies those needing safe spaces from dissenting views:
For myself, when I think of a university, and reflect on my personal experiences, I think of a place to interact and share ideas to become a more educated and cognizant person.
Students can enter these “safe places” to take their minds off of whatever they just saw or heard. These rooms contain items often found in daycare centers, including coloring books, bubbles, play-doh, and videos of puppies.
I may sound inconsiderate, but if you really need to blow bubbles or play with play-doh to handle a different opinion, then my suggestion would be to not attend the event, and furthermore, maybe college isn’t the place for you either.
An educational setting should be a place where people are free to express their viewpoints without fear that someone might need to relapse back to childhood in order to deal with an opinion.
These safe spaces prevent growth. If you are attending a university, then you should expect to encounter different opinions and viewpoints. If not, then in reality it is you who is small-minded.
Even if you do not go to college, there are an estimated 7 billion people in this world, 300 million in the United States alone, it’s safe to say not everyone is going to agree with you, and it’s OK.
In fact, different viewpoints and life experiences is what makes life so interesting. It’s when people try to discount one’s experience and become intolerant to different held beliefs and values that we have trouble.
UPDATE: Editor John Micek, feeling a bit of push back for his decision to censor letters and op-eds in opposition to gay marriage, apologized this morning. After citing his exultation at the decision, and then noting the reaction to his tweets and op-ed regarding the new policy of censorship, Micek tells readers:
What almost immediately followed was an object lesson in the law of unintended consequences. And, sadly, the strongly worded message included in our editorial was lost.
By day’s end, I’d received dozens of emails and several phone calls — not to mention the hundreds of comments appended to the editorial — accusing me (and this news organization) of being “fascists” opposed to both the First Amendment and the right to freedom of expression.
And those were just the polite ones.
And as I rolled it over in my head yesterday, after hearing from professional colleagues and good friends on the right and left who questioned our policy, I reached a number of conclusions:
First: No one at PennLive and The Patriot-News is an opponent of the First Amendment. It’s a right that’s foundational to us as a people. And it’s a right for which many brave and noble men and women have given their lives. And I would never trample on that legacy or dishonor their sacrifice by limiting our readers’ right to express themselves in a civil way.
Second: And I cannot stress this one enough — that’s in a civil way. More than once yesterday I was referred to as “f****t-lover,” among other slurs. And that’s the point that I was trying to make with our statement: We will not publish such slurs any more than we would publish racist, sexist or anti-Semitic speech. There are ways to intelligently discuss an issue. The use of playground insults is not among them. And they are not welcome at PennLive/The Patriot-News.
Third: I fully recognize that there are people of good conscience and of goodwill who will disagree with Friday’s high court ruling. They include philosophers and men and women of the cloth whose objections come from deeply held religious and moral convictions that are protected by the very same First Amendment that allowed me to stick my foot in my mouth on Friday. They are, and always will be, welcome in these pages, along with all others of goodwill, who seek to have an intelligent and reasoned debate on the issues of the day.
These pages, I remind myself finally, belong to the people of Central Pennsylvania. I’m a conduit, I recognize, for them to share their views and to have the arguments that make us better as a people. And all views are — and always will be — welcome.
My mom — and probably yours too — once told me what the road to hell was paved with. Yesterday, I was reminded of the truth of that lesson.
I stand with my gay and lesbian friends who, on Friday, were extended the same protections under the law that the rest of us take for granted.
But for those of you who were offended by what was intended as a very genuine attempt at fostering a civil discussion, I apologize
Which is all fine and well, but PennLive already had an established policy for commenting on its pages, so why the need to go beyond that and actually censor commentators? Unless, of course, Micek’s original reaction was entirely about Something Else other than civil speech in the comments section. In which case, that would make the apology less than noble. And would reveal a dishonest heart.
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: From Alito’s dissent:
Today’s decision usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage. The decision will also have other important consequences.
It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. E.g., ante, at 11–13. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.
Perhaps recognizing how its reasoning may be used, the majority attempts, toward the end of its opinion, to reassure those who oppose same-sex marriage that their rights of conscience will be protected. Ante, at 26–27. We will soon see whether this proves to be true. I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.
That didn’t take long.