Dewhurst says he was exercising free speech when he stifled free expression and got the gay Jesus play canceled at Tarleton State

Posted on 12 May 2010 at 12:54pm

I rushed into the office at 8 a.m. this morning, hoping to catch The Texas Tribune‘s interview with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, because I knew they’d ask about his recent decision to issue a press release calling for the cancellation of a gay-themed play at Tarleton State University. As it turns out, The Tribune doesn’t broadcast its live chats live, but they have now posted Dewhurst’s response to the question on YouTube. Above is the video, and below is my transcript.

Dewhurst: First of all if that particular play had been in any other venue, a private school, some theater, none of my business. None of my business. I exercised my First Amendment right to say something when a lot of people were calling all around the state of Texas saying, “What in the world is going on at a state school that receives state money?” That was the only reason I said something. There were two elements. One, it was at a state school that was receiving state money. Two, it was ridiculing, in my judgment, you may not agree, but ridiculing one religion. It doesn’t make any difference to me — on this, and I want to use this word carefully, I’m agnostic on this — it doesn’t make any difference, in my judgment: If a play ridiculed anybody’s religion, I would have reacted the same way.

TT: So a play about gay Buddha would have received the same press release?

Dewhurst: Yes, it would have, because I don’t believe it’s right to denigrate anybody’s religion.

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