It’s seldom I agree with someone writing on a Heritage blog, (cough) but unfortunately it’s come to that.
Stanford is trying to keep a anti-gay marriage organization from holding a conference on campus. Which makes sense, right?
The only people left organizing specifically against against gay marriage are right wing zealots without enough to do. Everyone else has lost interest by now.
There’s no question that the Communicating Values conference is, in its own way, dangerous: it’s stated aim is to help “allow students to network with other individuals who are willing to engage in intellectual and civil discourse about the issues of marriage, family, and sexual integrity.”
In other words, they want to help homophobes find other homophobes.
That’s never fun for anyone except the homophobes.
And while I doubt the Heritage Foundation “Scholar” Ryan T. Anderson (the scholar word is what they came up with; I am using it here ironically) is going to attack any of the LGBT kids on campus, or rip down all the rainbow flags. But having an organization whose only purpose is to deprive a group of people of their civil rights hold a conference on your campus?
I’m thinking of the 18 year old kid from a conservative background who might not be out to himself yet. How will seeing those signs, those posters, make him feel? Will it drive him into the closet for another year? Another five years?
So there’s no question that Stanford has to do something. But charging the group an extra 5000 dollars in security fees isn’t the right way to go about it. It is, as Ken McIntyre notes in his Heritage blog article, a free speech tax.
There are more creative ways to go about allowing the conference while still keeping the campus a safer space for LGBT students, staff and faculty. What if every LGBT supportive Stanford affiliated person wore a rainbow sticker the days the group is on campus? What if they fly a hundred rainbow flags in front of the building where the conference is being held? What if the local gay chorus greeted Mr Anderson at the airport and followed him through his entire visit, regaling him with show tunes at every possible moment?
These are actions that would show the solidarity the campus has with LGBT students without stomping out free speech in the process.
Anderson and his ilk are dinosaurs (although they don’t exactly believe in dinosaurs, because there were none on the Ark or something like that) and no thinking person would spend the kind of time they do on anti-gay causes. Not without something to gain.
Like massive publicity and maybe a civil suit for having their free speech rights violated.
It’s never good to weave these conservative Christian types a matryr’s cloak.
They like that outfit way too much.