July 24, 2013

I am no fan of homophobia, but I am appalled by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett’s attempt to block the appearance of a musical group [“Leggett wants Fillmore to cancel band’s show due to anti-gay lyrics,” Metro, July 20]. Mr. Leggett got the First Amendment wrong when he recently wrote, “I understand that the First Amendment provides for freedom of speech, and that even distasteful speech may be protected speech.” No, Mr. Leggett; short of a true threat to public safety, the Bill of Rights protects distasteful speech. There is no “may” about it.

That is the point of the First Amendment. As a former law professor, Mr. Leggett must know the history of the 1977 Skokie, Ill., court case. In that case,state and federal courts affirmed that the law does not allow “prior restraint” of speech. But with his letter to the Fillmore management, that is exactly what Mr. Leggett attempted. People can decide to attend the concert or not.

Bernard Bloom, Silver Spring