Saturday, December 22, 2012

The First Amendment Prevails in Louisiana and California

Two recent First Amendment victories are in the news this week.

(1) Woman can flip the bird in Christmas lights.
(2) Therapists can try to convert gays.

Both stories are best read in their online versions. They involve free speech and free association.

In the Louisiana case, a woman put up lights in the shape of a hand flipping off her neighbors against whom she held a grudge. She was first told to take it down by police, which she did. Then she put it back up after the ACLU wrote a letter to the paper on her behalf. She was again threatened by authorities with violation of the obscenity law, and finally she filed suit. The court ruled that she has a First Amendment right of free speech and can display the holiday-lighted gesture.

In the California case, a judge put a halt to the enforcement date of a law that was passed recently that prohibited counselors from trying to convert gay youth from their sexual persuasion. The law was passed earlier this year and Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law. For now the implementation date has been put on hold. The case will be re-visited. But it is a small victory for parents and for youth who believe that "conversion Therapy" might help them, given that they want to try to change. (Isn't that what President Obama called for, after all?)



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