If there’s anyone who should be defending the Snyder v. Phelps ruling, it’s Maggie Gallagher. All the time, we hear her talk about the need for more and greater defense of religious freedom, even if those freedoms come at the expense of LGBT people’s desire to feel welcome. While “protecting marriage” is her stated cause, defending religious expression is at least in the sidecar.
Yet Maggie is not only standing in opposition — she is actually outraged by the majority 8-1 opinion, as authored by Chief Justice John Roberts:
Burials happen in public (we don’t actually let people bury their dead on their own property any more). But they are not public events.
These regulations designed to circumvent Fred Phelps’ evil and irrational plans, are not directed at the content of speech, they are reasonable time and place restrictions that any decent society should respect.
The Constitution is not a suicide pact.
The Supreme Court Just Went Off the Deep End [NOM Blog]
(A) The Phelps family was 1000+ feet away, on a public sidewalk. They were not at the burial.
(B) They did abide by all time and space restrictions placed upon them, as they always do. They actually worked with law enforcement, again, as they’re wont to do.
(C) Mr. Snyder didn’t even know of their messaging until after the fact — he learned about it from TV and WBC’s own website writings.
(D) While most all of us with their views, it’s undeniable that they were coming from their belief in God. Everything WBC says comes from their view of God. The fair public expression of that view is exactly what Maggie should be defending! This is what Maggie does defend, rhetorically, as it applies to other religious expression.
(E) No, the constitution is not a suicide pact. That is why we are protecting its most crucial and cherished demands, even when we are the most targeted by it (Westboro has directly targeted this site on a number of occasions).
(D) It’s pretty rich being educated on the Constitution by someone who was at the forefront of amending our nation’s most precious federal document so that it specifically targets gay citizens’ right to marry under civil law.
*SEE ALSO: A great piece from Jim Burroway: The First Amendment Lives [BTB]