You probably missed the part of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that effectively constrains the First Amendment rights of Americans who continue to oppose gay marriage from voicing an opinion — or even calling it “gay marriage,” for that matter. Luckily, the editorial board of the The Patriot-News in central Pennsylvania didn’t miss it. They have laid out the new ground rules in a helpful editorial titled “The Supremes got it right — It’s no longer ‘gay marriage.’ It’s ‘marriage.’ And we’re better for it.”
The announcement of this important policy change was heralded on Twitter yesterday by Editorial and Opinions Editor John Micek, who wrote:
From the edit: “PL/PN will no longer accept, nor will it print, op-Eds and letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage.”
— ByJohnLMicek (@ByJohnLMicek) June 26, 2015
The editorial itself, which continues to be a work in progress (a short time ago it was revised to acknowledge that June 26 is now a de facto national holiday), had the following introductory paragraphs until around 9 a.m. Saturday:
After receiving strong pushback, the newspaper’s editorial board, which is overseen by Editorial Page Editor John Micek, quickly revised its policy. Freedom of speech will be allowed — but only for a “limited” period of time.
Micek explained on Twitter: “Clarification: We will not foreclose discussion of the high court’s decision, but arguments that gay marriage is wrong/unnatural are out.”
That’s pretty charitable, giving readers a window to dissent before silencing them forever.
*UPDATE* A short time ago, Micek published another piece titled “Our letters policy on same-sex marriage — an explanation and an apology,” noting that he and his colleagues at The Patriot-News have been the recipients of “an object lesson in the law of unintended consequences.” He goes on to explain that his publication is not “opposed to both the First Amendment and the right to freedom of expression” and that he fully recognizes “that there are people of good conscience and of goodwill who will disagree with Friday’s high court ruling.”
I don’t about you, but I would keep my distance from Micek and company. They sound pretty unstable.