Bravo to the ACLU for coming to the defense of a student in Connecticut who was told he could not wear an anti-gay t-shirt to school. The shirt was simply a rainbow with the universal symbol of the circle with a line through it over the top. Here’s the more disturbing part of the story:
Groody was originally threatened with suspension for wearing the shirt, but when the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) threatened to sue the school for infringing on the student’s constitutional right to free speech, Wolcott High School backed down. The school decided this month to allow Groody to wear the shirt as he pleases.
Groody is now not only permitted to wear the anti-gay t-shirt, but has reported to selling 12 of the shirts to fellow students.
He has a constitutional right to wear that shirt, and so do those who bought them. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t bigoted or that they get to escape criticism for it. And the fact that 12 other students want to wear them says something disturbing about the culture in that community. But the ACLU has it exactly right:
Sandra Staub, legal director of the ACLU in Connecticut, told AP in an interview that the ACLU disagrees ‘very strongly’ with Groody’s anti-gay position, but he should be allowed to express his opinion freely.
Yep. The fact that his opinion is bigoted and deserves criticism does not mean the government should censor that message.