Yes to Phelps, no to Bush.When notoriously antigay Kansas preacher Fred Phelps's clan picketed Matthew Shepard's funeral, we were angry and deeply offended. But we recognized that Phelps was exercising his constitutional right of free speech. After all, it's that same right that makes it possible for us to fight loudly for equality.
That's why we must now come to Phelps's defense against a patently unconstitutional new law. The Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act The Respect for America’s Fallen Heroes Act (Pub.L. 109-228, 120 Stat. 387, enacted 2006-05-29) is an Act of Congress that prohibits protests within 300 feet (100 m) of the entrance of a cemetery under control of the National Cemetery Administration (a division , signed by President Bush on May 29, forbids protests near any military funeral A military funeral is a funeral given by a country's military for a veteran, a soldier who died in battle, or another prominent military figure. When heads of state die, they often receive military funerals. . Violators risk fines of up to $100,000 and prison sentences of up to a year. It's designed specifically to shut up Phelps's "God Hates Fags" brigade, which has been showing up at services for fallen Iraqi veterans, shouting that the soldiers' deaths are "God's punishment for America's acceptance of homosexuality." Appalling? Grievously. Good for the gays because it exposes the raw hatred behind most homophobia homophobia Psychology An irrationally negative attitude toward those with homosexual orientation, or toward becoming homosexual. See Closet, Gay-bashing, Heterosexism. Cf Gay, Homosexual, Phobia. ? Maybe. Protected by the U.S. Constitution? Absolutely.
Let us be clear: Phelps is scum. But defending freedom can make for strange bedfellows. In 2001 a member of the KKK came to the defense of a gay group in South Dakota South Dakota (dəkō`tə), state in the N central United States. It is bordered by North Dakota (N), Minnesota and Iowa (E), Nebraska (S), and Wyoming and Montana (W). seeking an "adopt-a-highway" sign after the Klan was denied a similar sign in Missouri. And former Georgia congressman Bob Barr
Robert L. (Bob) Barr, Jr. (born November 5, 1948) is an attorney and a former member of the United States House of Representatives from Georgia. , who authored the antigay Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, has since joined gay advocates in fighting against Bush's precious Marriage Protection Amendment, because it would trample states' rights states' rights, in U.S. history, doctrine based on the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, which states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. .
Allowing hate speech in public forums is one cost of the freedom Mr. Bush claims he's sending soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan to die for. There are, after all, effective ways to counter verbal cruelty without tearing up the Constitution. Matthew Shepard's friends blocked Phelps's ugliness with white sheets shaped into angel wings angel wings
a deformity of the scapulae seen with osteodystrophia fibrosa, particularly in kittens. The pull of the scapular muscles causes an outward bowing, hence the name. . At the military funerals Phelps targets, a band of bikers has been forming their own blockades.
Like the marriage amendment, the Fallen Heroes Act is pure political hypocrisy: Neither Congress nor President Bush ever bothered to complain about Phelps's evil when it targeted gay Americans or people with AIDS The People With AIDS (PWA) Self-Empowerment Movement was a movement of those diagnosed with AIDS and grew out of San Francisco. The PWA Self-Empowerment Movement believes that those diagnosed as having AIDS should "take charge of their own life, illness, and care, and to minimize . If this law is allowed to stand, how long will it be before politicians courting right-wing voters in an election year decide that gay rights demonstrations must also be stopped because they are "upsetting innocent Christians'?
We'd rather stand with Phelps, shouting back at him, than risk being silenced ourselves.