Archive for the ‘Freedom of Speech’ Category

It Takes a Good Guy with a Gun to Defend Freedom of Speech

by Daniel Greenfield on Sunday, May 10th, 2015

This is article 114 of 114 in the topic Free Speech

When two terrorists in body armor and carrying assault rifles came for a roomful of cartoonists and fans of freedom of speech in Texas, the media took the side of the terrorists.

CAIR, a Muslim Brotherhood front group with ties to terrorists, spun the attack by claiming that the contest had been intended to “bait” the terrorists. The media quickly picked up the “bait” meme.

The New York Times, the Atlantic Journal Constitution, the Dallas Morning News, CNN and even FOX News all accused the cartoonists of “baiting” the poor Muslim terrorists into attacking them. The actual attempt at mass slaughter was dismissed as the terrorists “taking the bait” from the cartoonists who had been fiendishly plotting to be mass slaughtered by them for the publicity.

The Washington Post not only stated that the contest was “bait”, but its headline huffed, “Event organizer offers no apology after thwarted attack in Texas.” And why won’t the 9/11 dead apologize?

Journalists often tell us that a free press is the best defense for a free society. Every major newspaper and news network once again proved them wrong. The best defense for freedom of speech came not from the journalists or the civil rights groups, from the speechmakers or the activists. It came from an off-duty traffic cop working security outside the event targeted by Muslim terrorists. His partner, an older guard, didn’t even have a gun, and took a bullet to the leg.

He could have pulled back and let the terrorists have a clear path. No doubt he had a family and plenty of reasons to live. Like so much of the media, he could have disguised this cowardice by blaming the cartoonists for bringing the attack on themselves. Instead he held the line. The traffic cop with a pistol took on two terrorists in body armor, armed with assault rifles and extra ammo. And when it was over, two Muslim terrorists were dead and freedom of speech was alive.

“He had two people shooting at him, plus he’s trying to take out two targets. And if he had to make headshots,” Mark Sligar, a firearms instructor, said, “That’s awesome shooting. And look at the people’s lives he saved, just because he was able to take care of that.”

Like Kevin Vickers, the retired 58-year-old Sergeant-at-Arms, who armed with a 9mm handgun stopped Muslim terrorist Zehaf-Bibeau from carrying out a massacre of Canadian parliamentarians, the unnamed older police officer did more to protect freedom than all the self-styled defenders of freedom ever have.

And he did it with the tool that many of those defenders of freedom want to outlaw; a gun.

The left promises us collective security through civil rights while taking away our freedom. Their idea of collective security is disarming the citizenry, then disarming the police and then appeasing the killers. There will be more murders than ever, but at least those carrying them out will be representatives of oppressed groups, such as inner city drug dealers and ISIS terrorists, ‘punching up’ at the privileged.

We’ve already seen how worthless collective security is. In Baltimore, the Democratic mayor turned over the city to rioters and looters.

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Who’s afraid of ‘Rocky Mountain Heist?’

by Michelle Malkin on Sunday, October 19th, 2014

This is article 72 of 75 in the topic Book & Movie Reviews

Who’s afraid of ‘Rocky Mountain Heist?’
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2014

Free at last! I’m silent no more. Now, the story can be told.

Democrats here in my adopted state of Colorado did not want the new political documentary I hosted to see the light of day. They lost. This week, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency injunction declaring that our movie deserved the same free-speech rights as a “traditional” (translation: old-guard liberal) news organization.

Rocky Mountain Heist,” produced by David Bossie’s Citizens United and directed by Jason Killian Meath, tells the story of how a wealthy quartet of liberal millionaires and billionaires in Colorado — known as the “Gang of Four” — took over the once-red state of Colorado in the course of a decade.

As a conservative journalist in both “old” and “new” media for more than two decades, I’ve used my First Amendment rights to follow the radical left’s money and connect the dots for readers and viewers. The media marketplace has been too long dominated by liberal corporate statists allied with Big Government, cloaked in the pretense of institutional objectivity.

The 10th circuit panel of three judges unanimously rejected speech-stifling arguments that our expose was somehow an “electioneering communication” subject to onerous disclosure requirements — from which the likes of the Denver Post or Colorado public radio are arbitrarily exempt. It’s “government putting its thumb on the scale,” Citizens United super-lawyer Ted Olson argued in court — treacherously elastic and prone to abuse.

A six-year resident of Colorado, you can imagine my amusement, sitting in court last week in Denver, listening to government officials capriciously attack our film (which they hadn’t seen) as a “drop-in attack ad” from nefarious, out-of-state interests.

Reality check: The nearly-hour-long film illustrates how the Gang of Four coordinated their campaign targets and spending behind closed doors. We report on how they drafted up elitist plans to “educate the idiots.” With commentary from journalists, local and state Republican lawmakers, and even one political science professor (who ironically testified against Citizens United’s right to equal media treatment!), “Rocky Mountain Heist” traces how the liberal scions and their “Colorado Democracy Alliance” captured the governor’s mansion, the state legislature, and two Senate seats.

As I’ve reported previously, CODA spawned the national Democracy Alliance. “Over the past nine years,” the organization brags to potential contributors, DA has “aligned leaders in the progressive movement and political infrastructure” to “achieve victories at the ballot box and in policy fights.” Their agenda spans “social justice,” “climate change,” “voting rights,” gun control, illegal alien amnesty, campaign finance and sustained “strategic investment” to turn red states blue.

Colorado activists in our movie inform voters how Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper pandered to his wealthy patrons and out-of-state special interests. Interviewees enlighten viewers on how Hickenlooper imposed radical laws and regulations restricting economic and personal freedoms on energy businesses, gun owners and entrepreneurs. The deep-pocketed progressive donors funneled gobs of undisclosed money to astroturf groups and a network of liberal non-profits — all while screaming about the need for “transparency” and the “people’s right to know.” “Rocky Mountain Heist” shows how the “Colorado model” is migrating to Texas and Virginia, and highlights how liberty-loving Coloradans have been fighting back.

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The Media at War With the Obama Administration?

by Roger Aronoff on Friday, August 29th, 2014

This is article 567 of 576 in the topic Media

While the media are usually doing the bidding of President Obama and the Democrats, and are deep in the President’s pocket, there are cases in which they are very unhappy with his actions. New York Times reporter James Risen has become famous not only for his ongoing Espionage Act case, but also for his willingness to call President Obama the “greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.”

In the case of Fox News reporter James Rosen, the government “monitored Rosen’s movements in and out of the State Department,” according to CBS News. They also “searched his personal emails and combed through his cell phone records.” Risen received similar treatment: his computer was subjected to forensic analysis and his phone calls were investigated.

Yet President Barack Obama’s press secretary recently had the temerity to joke to another Fox News White House correspondent that “We are always watching.” Rosen was labeled a “criminal co-conspirator” alongside Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, who recently went to jail for his crime. Clearly, the Obama administration has either not learned from its mistakes—or doesn’t care.

As I mentioned in an earlier article about Obama’s ongoing war on journalists, Risen appealed to the Supreme Court to carve out special immunity for reporters in the courts. But his bid to be heard by the Supreme Court failed, leaving him no more legal options.

Now, he has “exhausted all his legal options against the Justice Department’s pursuit of him under the controversial Espionage Act,” reports The Guardian this month. If pursued, Risen could end up in jail for his act of “journalistic defiance” as early as this fall, reports the Guardian.

Journalists are rallying to Risen’s side as he becomes a media darling for his defiance in the face of Obama administration pressure. Fourteen Pulitzer Prize winners have issued statements in support of him, 100,000 petitioners have voiced their concerns about his case to the Department of Justice, and The Washington Post editorial board has come to his defense.

But one of the disturbing developments of the Risen case is the push for a media shield law to create special protections for journalists. “The Risen case, [Gregg] Leslie [of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press] said, provides a clear picture for why a federal shield law is needed to complement similar laws in 49 states,” reported Business Insider on August 27. “The Supreme Court’s dismissal of his petition, Leslie said, is more evidence of what he called a ‘disturbing’ trend—federal courts have been less and less willing to side with reporters’ arguments.”

This is not the first time the media have called for a shield law. Back in 2008 Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid called the proposed law what it really is: not the Free Flow of Information Act, but the “Special Rights for Journalists Act.” “The bill puts in the hands of federal politicians and judges the ability to define a ‘legitimate’ journalist or blogger who is deserving of federal protection,” wrote Kincaid in 2008. “As such, it restricts First Amendment rights to a certain group of people currently in favor with federal authorities.”

The legislation could create an unhealthy relationship between the media and the federal government.

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Forty-six Democrat Senators Want to Change our Laws Strictly for Politics

by Jerry McConnell on Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

This is article 113 of 114 in the topic Free Speech

Forty-six Democrat Senators Want to Change our Laws for Strictly Politics

The impossible just got legs for a potential possibility; and not a good one at that.  In a bare-faced political move, forty-six elected Democrats in our United States Senate; that’s EIGHTY-SEVEN PERCENT of all Democrats, are willing to make a change to our most predominant, most revered and oldest established legal document, the United States Constitution, all for their desire for more political power in our government.

These self-loathing discriminators, just for personal gain, would change the most important document in the American arsenal of judicial decrees, destroying any and all credence in the minds of the American people.  They would ban free speech for Americans if they chose not to like it.  No political discourse would ever reach our newspapers or airwaves if those Democrats chose to block it.  Two sides to every political discussion would be gone forever if banned by our Constitution as the Democrats are successful in their banning efforts.

This is brazen and unmitigated impudence and gall.  Has God suddenly decreed that ONLY discourse spoken by Democrats can be aired or printed?  If this Democrat proposed constitutional amendment is passed we would only be allowed to hear THEIR side of any political discussion.  How kingly, or dictatorially decadent can we sink to?

My thoughts at this point are that perhaps we the people, currently unburdened by filthy and arrogant legislation that would, in effect, put one class of people, namely those of the Democrat Party who would deny the rest of the Americans the joy of unrestrained free political speech, honor the balance of people and country caring elected United States Senators, numbering NINE of that group of 55 in total.  They are the only true American believers holding office in the United States Senate.

Not only would these forty-six cretins so greed inspired with possessive insanity destroy the freedom of speech rights for ALL Americans, but their actions, if successful, would backfire on them should the balance of power tip back to the other party.  A move such as this, even if successful, could not be durable and any mood swings could turn their joy into deep sorrow quite rapidly.

This movement of desperation shows how unsure the Democrat Party is of providing leadership.  That thought is understandable with feeble minds such as Obama, Biden, Reid, Pelosi, Gore, the Clintons, Rangel, Lewis, etc. and multitudes more standing in the wings.  They are blessed by having huge followings of people of similar mental deficiencies and expert practioners at the sleazy art of multi-voting and machine rigging.

This new scheme of underhanded manipulation of freedom of speech, so very common in socio-communist and enslaved peoples countries, is nothing more that a grand grab at power over minorities.  America’s days of slavery was legislated to an end by a Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, a century and one-half ago.  Preventing freedom of speech is as much, if not more than hand-and-leg shackles on the minorities.

A bright new light in the Republican Party, a freshman Senator from Texas named Ted Cruz has made this public on July 14, 2014, on Patriot Action Network, as a nefarious liberal Democrat plot against a party lacking a mere six votes to change the fortunes in the coming November elections.

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IRS, DOJ colluded to criminalize conservative groups’ free speech

by Jim Kouri on Friday, May 23rd, 2014

This is article 242 of 246 in the topic Congressional Investigations

In response to an interview of a Department of Justice section chief by lawmakers from House of Representatives, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on Thursday officially requested that the DOJ make its Public Integrity Section Chief Jack Smith available for an interview that will be transcribed.

The request by Reps. Issa and Jordan resulted from Jack Smith’s underling, Richard Pilger, who is the DOJ’s Election Crimes Branch chief, telling lawmakers during a legally transcribed interview that officials from the Justice Department met with the Internal Revenue Service’s Lois Lerner in October 2010. The meeting entailed an alleged plan to criminalize free speech and prosecute Tea Party and conservative groups.

The date of that first meeting has created more suspicion since that Lerner-DOJ meeting occurred 30-months earlier than Issa, Jordan and their committees were led to believe by the IRS. The purpose of the DOJ-Lerner meeting was to discuss possible criminal prosecution of nonprofit groups on the right of the political spectrum — especially Tea Party organizations — for certain political speech.

On Thursday, Issa and Jordan sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder that reads in part:

“The Committee’s transcribed interview of Richard Pilger presents further troubling information about the Department’s contemplated prosecution of nonprofit groups for false statement. It is apparent that the Department’s leadership, including Public Integrity Section Chief Jack Smith, was closely involved in engaging with the IRS in wake of Citizens United and political pressure from prominent Democrats to address perceived problems with the decision.

“According to Mr. Pilger, the Justice Department convened a meeting with former IRS official Lois Lerner in October 2010 to discuss how the IRS could assist in the criminal enforcement of campaign-finance laws against politically active non-profits. This meeting was arranged at the direction of Public Integrity Section Chief Jack Smith.”

This DOJ-IRS collusion occurred well before Lois Lerner gave a speech before an audience at Duke University in which she lamented over the political pressure placed on IRS staff to “fix the problem” created by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision before the 2010 midterm election cycle.

Earlier this week,Chairman Issa issued a subpoena after Pilger like Lerner refused to answer critical questions on the instructions of a Justice Department lawyer during a transcribed interview on May 6, 2014.

This latest subpoena follows an April 23, 2014 letter from 17 members of the Committee requesting materials concerning the Department’s involvement in efforts to scrutinize tax-exempt applicants after emails surfaced between Pilger and the Internal Revenue Service’s Lois Lerner where they discussed singling out and prosecuting tax-exempt applicants at the urging of a Democratic Senator many believe was New York’s Sen. Chuck Schumer.

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by Burt Prelutsky on Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

This is article 187 of 201 in the topic Liberalism

Secretary of State Kerry, who seems to be working overtime to make his predecessor look good, announced that if Israel didn’t cave to the Muslims, who pray to Allah several times a day for the extinction of all Jews, they ran the risk of being denounced as an apartheid nation. The next day, after an initial firestorm, he decided, as they say, to walk his statement back. Not too surprisingly, Donald Sterling wasn’t allowed the same opportunity, even though he is just another sports team owner, and Kerry is allegedly America’s number one diplomat.

Understand, I am not standing up for Mr. Sterling (born Donald Tokowitz 80 years ago). There’s nothing I like about him, including his past career as an ambulance-chasing lawyer, his name change or his choice of girlfriends. Heck, I don’t even like basketball.

But I happen to hate hypocrisy. So the NBA, which pretty much turns a blind eye to infractions by players, which includes beating up their wives, using illegal drugs, engaging in bar fights, driving under the influence and siring a couple of dozen babies with a couple of dozen different women, lowers the boom on the stupid white guy.

When it comes to the disciplining of players, it usually takes the form of wrist slaps involving short suspensions and fines the players can pay off with the loose change they find under their sofa cushions. But when it comes to this seemingly senile old coot, whose crime consists of shooting off his mouth to his slutty ex-mistress, it suddenly calls for a lifelong banishment from the league and a forced sale of the team.

The dirty little secret in America is that it’s only the likes of silly old white guys like Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling who get pilloried for their ignorant comments. It’s never old black guys like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Charley Rangel and Hank Aaron or middle-aged black guys like Eric Holder or vapid Hispanics like Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

That brings us to John Kerry. He made the vulgar comparison of Israel to the formerly apartheid South Africa, even though two million Arabs and Muslims call Israel home, and enjoy the same rights as Jews and even get to serve in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

One might even find it ironic that with as many Muslims in Israel as there are in the United States ( about two million), and even though Israel has a mere two percent of our population, there are more Muslims in the Knesset, about a dozen, than we have in Congress, which happens to be two – Democrats Keith Ellison and Andre Carson. I’m not complaining, you understand, as I personally think they’re over-represented. I just wanted to clear up a few things for Kerry.

In his defense, some liberals have argued that Kerry made his statement in private at a gathering of the Trilateral Commission, but you may have noticed that they had quite a different take when it came to Mitt Romney’s reference to 47% of the population at a closed meeting or Donald Sterling’s private phone conversation. Apparently people should be more worried about scorned women than they are of the NSA.

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The Assault on Free Speech

by Alan Caruba on Thursday, May 8th, 2014

This is article 112 of 114 in the topic Free Speech

We have been witnessing a growing assault on free speech in America by the Left and too often it is succeeding.

The demand by members of the Rutgers University faculty that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice be disinvited to be the commencement speaker is the latest example and her decision to withdraw, while graceful, was a victory for the Left, the liberals for whom free speech exists only if it agrees with their posturing about equality, diversity, and all forms of “justice” as defined only by them.

Our universities are showing ugly signs of censoring the speech of those they invited to give a speech! Brandeis University recently withdrew its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a human rights campaigner, because of her criticisms of Islam. In response, she said of the slur on her reputation that, “More deplorable is that an institution set up on the basis of religious freedom should today so deeply betray its own founding principles.”

The forced resignation of the co-founder and CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, because, years before, he had made a donation to the California campaign to support traditional marriage is another example. The Left has led the effort to redefine this ancient institution of the union between a man and a woman while supporting the demands of the nation’s gay and lesbian community.

Tearing down the foundations of our society has long been a major goal of the Left.

The taping of a private conversation between Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, and his mixed-race mistress who made it public led almost immediately thereafter to the demand by the National Basketball Association that he divest himself of ownership of the team. Yes, Sterling expressed racist views, but free speech includes saying stupid things; things that are sure to offend someone or some group. Saying them privately is very different from saying them publicly. And that speech is protected by the First Amendment.

An extension of the Sterling affair is the way any criticism of President Obama is almost always attributed to the fact that he is black. He is, in fact, only half black. His mother was white. The grandparents who raised him were white.

There is plenty about which to criticize Obama and none of it has to do with the color of his skin.

The level and intensity of political correctness has been rising for years and I have been worrying about it for a long time, particularly with the passage of “hate crime” legislation that goes beyond actual acts based on hatred and includes expressions that are deemed to be hatred.

Our educational system now seeks to exclude anything—and I do mean anything—that might “offend” someone or some group of people. A recent example of school officials who did not want American flag t-shirts being worn during Cinco de Mayo should be offensive to anyone who loves America. The holiday isn’t even a major one in Mexico, but demonstrating patriotism is surely not an offense. It gets worse, though, when the singing of Christmas carols are prohibited in a school, an offense against the practice of Christianity and the “diversity” that the Left is always demanding.

The genius of America is its inclusion of all manner of minorities, religions, and points of view.

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Three Cheers for the Thomas Jefferson Center

by Roger Aronoff on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

This is article 537 of 576 in the topic Media

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression noticed my recent article on “Obama’s War on Journalists,” and pointed out that three of their “Jefferson Muzzle” awards are aimed squarely at the Obama administration.

We think they are right on the money.

And we’re not the only ones who think that the Obama administration is muzzling journalists’ free speech, along with a complicit broadcast media. As AIM chairman Don Irvine pointed out, veteran journalist Sharyl Attkisson, who recently left CBS News after two decades there, made comments to that effect as well. The Emmy-award winning Attkisson, who was also the recipient in 2012 of Accuracy in Media’s Reed Irvine Award for Investigative Journalism, was on Fox News Channel’s “Media Buzz,” this past weekend, and told host Howard Kurtz that she often felt pressure to stay away from stories that reflected badly on the Obama White House.

“There is pressure coming to bear on journalists for just doing their job in ways that have never come to bear before,” Attkisson told Fox News. “But it is particularly aggressive under the Obama administration, and I think it’s a campaign that’s very well organized, that’s designed to have sort of a chilling effect and to some degree has been somewhat successful in getting broadcast producers who don’t really want to deal with the headache of it.”

More than just headaches are involved if you look at the Obama administration’s unprecedented history pursuing leakers under the Espionage Act. This aggressive pursuit of leakers threatens to engulf those they leak to—the journalists—as well. An FBI affidavit labeled Fox News journalist James Rosen as a probable criminal “co-conspirator” in a spying case with Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, who has pleaded guilty and will serve a 13-month sentence. “What was truly shameful about the DOJ’s investigation was that it never actually considered Rosen a criminal co-conspirator; the accusation was merely a means by which to circumvent the requirements of the Privacy Protection Act,” writes the Thomas Jefferson Center (TJC) regarding this case. They awarded the first of the 2014 Jefferson Muzzle awards to the U.S. Department of Justice for its role in subpoenaing two months of Associated Press records, and its treatment of James Rosen.

The second winner of the awards was the White House Press Office, for “dramatically limit[ing] professional photojournalists’ access to the President.” In essence, photojournalists are “routinely prevented from taking pictures of President Obama while he is performing his official duties because the White House categorizes such events as ‘private,’” yet official photos of these events are later released to his followers via social media. “Writing in The New York Times, the current director of photography for the Associated Press, Santiago Lyon suggested that these glossy official images are at best, visual press releases, and at worst, pure propaganda masquerading as news,” writes the TJC.

Comparing the Obama administration policy on news photographers in the White House to previous administrations, TJC wrote that photos of President Obama and his staff “working together in the Oval Office have never been allowed, even though such pictures were routine in the past.”

To add insult to injury, if a person tries to point out government hypocrisy commercially, the full force of that government may be used to shut them down.

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Feds back off after ‘First Amendment area’ near Bundy ranch got too big

by Doug Powers on Monday, April 14th, 2014

This is article 6 of 8 in the topic Federal Lands

The tense situation at the Bundy Ranch area in Nevada has been defused for now and the feds have decided that going full Janet Reno would be incredibly unwise:

A Nevada cattle rancher appears to have won his week-long battle with the federal government over a controversial cattle roundup that had led to the arrest of several protesters.

Cliven Bundy went head to head with the Bureau of Land Management over the removal of hundreds of his cattle from federal land, where the government said they were grazing illegally.

Bundy claims his herd of roughly 900 cattle have grazed on the land along the riverbed near Bunkerville, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, since 1870 and threatened a “range war” against the BLM on the Bundy Ranch website after one of his sons was arrested while protesting the removal of the cattle.

“I have no contract with the United States government,” Bundy said. “I was paying grazing fees for management and that’s what BLM was supposed to be, land managers and they were managing my ranch out of business, so I refused to pay.”

The federal government had countered that Bundy “owes the American people in excess of $1 million ” in unpaid grazing fees and “refuses to abide by the law of land, despite many opportunities over the last 20 years to do so.”

However, today the BLM said it would not enforce a court order to remove the cattle and was pulling out of the area.

The BLM used the term “cattle gather,” which makes it sound like some sort of bovine dating service:


Here’s more from John Hinderaker at Powerline with possible reasons the feds might have ended this thing almost as quickly as it started (via Instapundit):

“The new head of the BLM, Neil Kornze, worked for Harry Reid as a policy adviser from 2003 to 2011. It is reasonable to assume that Reid got him the BLM job, and I would hazard a guess that Reid saw the situation turning into a public relations disaster–-Nevada’s Governor and Senator Dean Heller, both Republicans, were more or less siding with Bundy–-and told Kornze to give it up. It still isn’t clear what the crisis was all about. Rumor has it that Reid wants the land for a giant solar farm that would be supplied by a Chinese company and, presumably, subsidized by the federal government. Reid’s son is apparently a participant in the deal. Whether that is true, I haven’t yet tried to figure out. One thing I will say with some certainty, however, is that tortoises had little or nothing to do with it.”

Watch for Harry Reid to make his way to the Senate floor tomorrow as fast as possible so as to blame the Koch brothers for the 135th, 136th, 137th and 138th time.

To sum up the current state of affairs:



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Gay Intolerance versus Corporate Integrity

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

This is article 60 of 64 in the topic Gay Rights

I am going to draw on decades of having been a public relations counselor to corporations and other organizations for some thoughts about the resignation of Mozilla’s cofounder, Brendan Eich, after his donation to support a California proposition banning gay marriage six years ago became an issue for the company less than two weeks after he became its CEO.

Despite the passage of the ban, voted upon by a majority (52%) of Californians who believe that marriage should be restricted to the union of a man and a woman, the California Supreme Court ruled against it. Same sex marriages in California resumed after the U.S. Supreme Court restored the federal district court’s ruling that overturned Proposition 8 as unconstitutional. Heeding the will of the people is not the California way.

At the end of 2008, same-sex marriages were legal only in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Today seventeen states, including California, allow such marriages. The gay, lesbian and transgender population of America is about three percent, but they are among the most vocal special interest groups in the nation.

From a PR point of view, Eich’s decision was a very bad one. Other corporations have found themselves targeted by the gay community. Chick-fil-A, an Atlanta based company has opposed gay marriage based on its commitment to Christian values, but most corporations regard any vocal opposition with more fear than courage. It has a lot to do with being in the business of selling products and services as well as being answerable to their investors.

It also explains, for example, why most embrace environmental demands in some fashion, including Big Oil and Big Coal. It’s no accident that BP Oil has a television advertising campaign going these days emphasizing the way drilling for oil in Alaska generates thousands of jobs elsewhere in the nation. The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is fading into the past as well it should. Simply said, accidents happen.

I suspect that Eich’s decision was based in part on the fact that its corporate headquarters are located in San Francisco. A Reuters news article noted that “Gay rights are widely embraced in the San Francisco area” described as “long known for its thriving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Silicon Valley’s tech culture reflects that sensitivity and its companies rely on their CEOs to set that kind of tone.”

The curious thing is that Eich’s “views about gay marriage had been known within Mozilla for nearly two years…” His appointment as CEO put him in the limelight and a call for a boycott by OkCupid opened the doors to a decision to stand by his views or leave, presumably in the interest of the company. The company chairwoman, Mitchell Baker, said of his resignation that “you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.”

After freedom of religion, free speech is the next one cited in the Constitution’s First Amendment. It’s not hard to stand for it if you have the courage to do so.

Largely unknown to most Americans is the growing matrix of laws at the state level that grant a special status to the GLBT community. This is particularly true in Massachusetts.

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