Gay rights groups are promoting a day of silence on campuses around the country on April 17. Across the country, they would like those who merely passively do not endorse their lifestyle to remain silent a good deal longer than 24 hours.
“Thousands of students across the country will participate in GLSEN’s Day of Silence, an annual international event that brings attention to the anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment that is common in schools,” the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network announced on Thursday, April 9, 2015. “Students typically take a vow of silence as a symbolic representation of the silencing effect of anti-LGBT language and bullying experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and their allies.”
“GLSEN’s Day of Silence is one of the largest student-led actions in the country, with students from more than 8,000 middle and high schools, colleges and universities in every state and 70 countries around the world having participated in the past. According GLSEN’s most recent National School Climate Survey, the only survey on the school experiences of LGBT middle and high school students in the country, 85 percent of LGBT students were verbally harassed at school in the past year and nearly two-thirds heard homophobic remarks frequently or often.”
Meanwhile, in the U.S., heterosexuals who merely do not want their businesses used to promote an alternative lifestyle are experiencing much more than verbal harassment. “Hysteria over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act has drowned out one critical question: Who are the florist and baker that ABC’s George Stephanopoulos hounded Gov. Mike Pence about?,” Edwin Meese and J. Kenneth Blackwell ask in a column which appears on the Investor’s Business Daily site. “When Americans learn what that florist and baker are threatened with, we face an emerging trend that will destroy companies and jobs, and the chilling specter of what sort of a nation we are becoming.”
“The florist is 70-year-old grandmother Baronelle Stutzman of Washington state. A longtime gay customer — with whom she had a warm relationship — wanted her to do flower arrangements for his gay wedding.”
“Mrs. Stutzman, a Southern Baptist, explained her Christian belief that marriage is between a man and woman, and thus could not participate in a gay wedding. Washington’s attorney general prosecuted her, pursuing not only her business but also Mrs. Stutzman personally. A state judge has ruled against her, and she faces the loss of her life’s savings and even her home.”
“The baker is Jack Phillips, who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado. When he declined two gay men’s order to bake a cake celebrating gay marriage (though the men were welcome to buy any of the premade cakes off the shelf), they officially complained that Mr. Phillips violated Colorado’s civil-rights law.”
“A court ruled against him, ordering him and his employees to undergo government-approved ‘tolerance training,’ and also ordering him to bake cakes celebrating gay marriage for anyone who asks. If he refuses, he can go to jail — put behind bars — for contempt of court.”
Meese, of the Heritage Foundation, is a former U. S. attorney general. Blackwell is a former secretary of state for the state of Ohio.
“There are others,” they note. “First was a New Mexico photographer who did not want to do the wedding shoot for a gay-commitment ceremony — not a wedding — because New Mexico had neither gay marriage nor civil unions at the time.”
“A Kentucky T-shirt maker is being sued for not making shirts celebrating a gay-rights event. An Idaho pastor couple was pursued for not actually performing a gay wedding.”