Freedom to marry, freedom to disagree: a public statement

April 22

Today, in a public statement appearing on Real Clear Politics, I joined 57 other supporters of same-sex marriage to urge tolerance of divergent views on the issue. It was also signed by my co-bloggers Jonathan Adler, Ken Anderson, Jim Lindgren, David Post, Eugene Volokh, and Sasha Volokh. It includes writers, journalists, professors, business people, political leaders, and others from across the ideological spectrum. It includes the names of a few people who had not previously announced their support for same-sex marriage. While the statement was occasioned by the recent resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich under pressure for his donation to Prop 8, efforts to punish those who oppose, or who once opposed, same-sex marriage seem likely to arise in the future.  So we thought it was time to lay down a marker of support for the liberal principles that have sustained the movement for marriage equality.  If you agree with us, you can add your name to the statement.

Here’s an excerpt:

The last few years have brought an astonishing moral and political transformation in the American debate over same-sex marriage and gay equality. This has been a triumph not only for LGBT Americans but for the American idea. But the breakthrough has brought with it rapidly rising expectations among some supporters of gay marriage that the debate should now be over. As one advocate recently put it, “It would be enough for me if those people who are so ignorant or intransigent as to still be anti-gay in 2014 would simply shut up.”

The signatories of this statement are grateful to our friends and allies for their enthusiasm. But we are concerned that recent events, including the resignation of the CEO of Mozilla under pressure because of an anti-same-sex marriage donation he made in 2008, signal an eagerness by some supporters of same-sex marriage to punish rather than to criticize or to persuade those who disagree. We reject that deeply illiberal impulse, which is both wrong in principle and poor as politics.

We support same-sex marriage; many of us have worked for it, in some cases for a large portion of our professional and personal lives. We affirm our unwavering commitment to civic and legal equality, including marriage equality. At the same time, we also affirm our unwavering commitment to the values of the open society and to vigorous public debate—the values that have brought us to the brink of victory.

Again, you can read the whole thing here and sign on here.

 

Dale Carpenter is the Distinguished University Teaching Professor and Earl R. Larson Professor of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Law at the University of Minnesota Law School. He teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law; the freedoms of speech, association, and religion; and sexual orientation and the law.
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