Joe E. Kirk is a douche

Students at Sam Houston State University (SHSU) recently created a free speech wall on campus in response to a controversial social media policy instituted by their school. Some people wrote things about legalizing pot, others made funny quips, and still others made topical and political comments. One of those comments said “FUCK OBAMA”. Another person wrote “BUSH” under “OBAMA”. This is all protected free speech, of course, but that didn’t stop Professor and full-time douchebag Joe E. Kirk from vandalizing the poster:

But what happened next is what’s so outrageous. An SHSU faculty member offended by the insult to President Obama reportedly used a box cutter to cut the expletive out of the wall after students refused to accede to his demand to censor that particular speech.

In response, the students called campus ‘police’ to report the vandalism. One might think that Kirk would have been ordered to leave the area, what with his unconstitutional, douchebaggery destruction of private property. But nope. This happened:

But after the students called the campus police to report the vandalism, they were threatened by a campus police officer with charges of disturbing the peace and required to remove all profanity from the wall, or else take it down! Under this pressure, the students dismantled their “free speech wall”…

What usually happens in events like this is that the wrong-headed authority figures will defend their moronic actions. This time is no different:

Later that day, as reported by SHSU student newspaper The Houstonian, University Police Department Deputy Chief James Fitch stated that because Kirk was “offended by the use of the profanity,” its use “qualified it as disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.”

That is a blatantly wrong statement. The courts have long held that free speech is free speech, no matter how indecent it may be. The above link discusses the specific cases, but this stuff should be basic knowledge to every American. The University Police, James Fitch, and especially Joe E. Kirk are all censorious, ignorant, douchebags. Each and every one of them ought to know better.

Oh, by the way: FUCK JOE E. KIRK.

originally via Popehat

New Hampshire plays catch up

New Hampshire has caught up with most of New England by passing a bill to allow same-sex marriage.

New Hampshire became the sixth state to legalize gay marriage after the Senate and House passed key language on religious rights and Gov. John Lynch — who personally opposes gay marriage — signed the legislation Wednesday afternoon.

I’ve had discussions with people who claim Lynch is acting out of political pressure. I don’t see evidence for that. It’s certainly a possibility, but the man is hugely popular and won by landslides in his last two elections. At the very least, it seems just as likely that he was caving to political pressure when he initially said he was against same-sex marriage. In fact, why not more? He had more to gain then than he stands to lose now.

Lynch, a Democrat, had promised a veto if the law didn’t clearly spell out that churches and religious groups would not be forced to officiate at gay marriages or provide other services. Legislators made the changes.

The revised bill added a sentence specifying that all religious organizations, associations or societies have exclusive control over their religious doctrines, policies, teachings and beliefs on marriage.

I believe this is correct. Morally, it isn’t, of course. It’s bankrupt in that sense. However, in a legal sense – and this is a legal issue – religions are protected by the First Amendment in this regard. Time may very well conclude that they are not, but it would appear that they are afforded these protections right now. Of course, the KKK is afforded First Amendment protections.

It also clarified that church-related organizations that serve charitable or educational purposes are exempt from having to provide insurance and other benefits to same-sex spouses of employees.

This, however, is not constitutional. This moves from the realm of protecting religious beliefs to harming people. If a religious organization hires a married homosexual, it is not germane to their beliefs to deny insurance. We’re talking about secular legal and tax issues, not religion at this point. New Hampshire went to far here. They are allowing religion to trump individual rights.

On the up side, discrimination has been significantly lessened in New England over the past few months.