The Bullies’ America

Jennifer Marshall /

Elaine Huguenin. (Photo courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom)

Elaine Huguenin. (Photo courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom)

They were once high principles in the pursuit of e pluribus unum. Now equality, diversity, and tolerance are used to destroy, compel and silence.

This week’s purge of a tech company CEO who privately expressed a contrary viewpoint on marriage is just the latest example of tactics that eschew reason and embrace bullying. The bullies’ vision of America is alarming to behold, with the values of peaceful coexistence turned on their head:

“Equality”: On Thursday, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned after a firestorm of protest over his 2008 donation to California’s Prop 8, a ballot initiative affirming marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The move came days after dating site labeled Eich “an opponent of equal rights” and asked its users to not access the site on Mozilla’s Firefox Internet browser.

Eich’s 15 years of performance at the company behind the web browser Firefox aren’t at issue, nor is his demeanor toward diversity: “I never saw any kind of behavior or attitude from him that was not in line with Mozilla’s values of inclusiveness,” said Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker.

The only issue is one donation to an intolerable cause. Apparently equal rights do not extend to expression of opposing political viewpoints.

The purge of Eich “should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society,” wrote blogger Andrew Sullivan, a leading proponent of redefining marriage.

“Diversity”: Evangelical photographer Elaine Huguenin was hauled before the New Mexico Human Rights Commission in 2008 because she declined to photograph a lesbian commitment ceremony. She lost and was slapped with $6,600 in attorneys’ fees. With the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom, Elaine and her husband Jon Huguenin took the matter to court to protect her right not to use her artistic talents to express a view with which she does not agree. When the case reached the New Mexico Supreme Court last year, the justices ruled that Elaine could not refuse to participate in a same-sex commitment ceremony. Denying her freedom of speech was the “price” of citizenship, according to one of the justices. So much for diversity: if your viewpoint doesn’t conform to political correctness, it’s not allowed. The Huguenins’ case is on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to announce soon whether it will review the matter in its next term this fall.

On April 7, 2014, the Supreme Court declined to review the Huguenins’ case. While neither affirming nor rejecting the lower court’s ruling, the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari means the New Mexico Supreme Court decision against the Huguenins’ right to free expression will stand.

“Tolerance”: Today a conference discussing historic views of marriage and sexuality will go forward at Stanford University—despite an effort to quash it by dubbing its content hate speech and slapping its student sponsors with a $5,600 security fee. The controversy began when the Graduate Student Council withheld the standard funding provided to student conferences. Some students lodged the absurd accusation that speakers like Ryan Anderson of The Heritage Foundation appearing on their campus would create an “unsafe space” and make the community “feel threatened.” The Stanford administration subsequently announced that it would require the sponsoring student group, the Stanford Anscombe Society (SAS), to come up with $5,600 to pay for security for the conference and even put restrictions on how they could raise the funds. SAS president Judy Romea courageously stood up to the campus bullies.

After the legality of their actions was questioned, the Stanford administration “found” $5,600 for the security they said was necessary. The campus conference Graduate Student Council support has not been reinstated, however. Apparently tolerance doesn’t go that far.

When advocates of redefining marriage engage in this kind of bullying and harassment, they don’t convey a sense of confidence that reason is on their side. In fact, it looks more like avoiding debate over what marriage is, why it matters, and what the consequences of redefining it will be.

On the other hand, it’s reasonable to think that marriage should reflect the reality that it takes a man and a woman to bring a child into the world and that children deserve the chance to grow up with their biological mom and dad. Even President Obama affirmed the legitimacy of such a viewpoint after his “evolution” on marriage.

The best way for the millions of Americans who continue to affirm that marriage is the union of a man and a woman to stand up to such intimidation is to continue reasoning about marriage–and spread the word about what the bullies’ America looks like: a place where equality, diversity, and tolerance are turned upside down.

Let’s debate, not demagogue.

This piece has been modified from its original form.