Thursday, March 3, 2011

I may not believe completely in leading a homosexual lifestyle, but I do believe in love. Everyone deserves love whether it be from family, a stranger, friends, someone of the opposite sex or the same sex.

The court ruling in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church is nothing to debate. We, as citizens of the United States, have freedom of speech. I am not in favor with the victory given to Westboro Baptist Church, but they do have the right to speak out their beliefs and to petition.

There are exceptions to the First Amendment concerning free speech that I believe should be taken into action.

Cornell University Law School states that, "The Supreme Court requires the government to provide substantial justification for the interference with the right of free speech where it attempts to regulate the content of the speech."

"The Supreme Court has also recognized that the government may prohibit some speech that may cause a breach of the peace or cause violence."

They have the authority to prohibit their speech, but I believe the Supreme Court does not want to deal with the conflict of banning Westboro's riots. Stand up for something America. If we continue to back down to avoid conflict, then we are weak.

"The right to petition the government for a redress of grievances guarantees people the right to ask the government to provide relief for a wrong through the courts (litigation) or other governmental action. It works with the right of assembly by allowing people to join together and seek change from the government."

The Snyder family and other families affected by these riots have the right to petition the government. Even those of us who weren't affected directly by the riots should stand up and seek change from the government, and peace for these families.

"Traditional public forums include public parks, sidewalks and areas that have been traditionally open to political speech and debate. Speakers’ in these areas enjoy the strongest First Amendment protections. In traditional public forums, the government may not discriminate against speakers based on their views. The government may, however, subject speech to reasonable, content-neutral restrictions on its time, place, and manner."

A vast majority of the ones in favor of protecting the church's First Amendment rights all agree that their content is extremely hurtful. The Supreme Court has the authority to put restrictions on the time, place and manner of these riots. I've heard that the Westboro Baptist Church stuck to the 1,000 feet away restriction, but why doesn't the Supreme Court restrict their manner and time?

"Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and -- as it did here -- inflict great pain. On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority. (CNN)

"The government may limit access to a designated public forum to certain classes or types of speech. In these “limited forums,” although the government may discriminate against classes of speakers or types of speech, it may not exercise viewpoint discrimination. For example, the government may limit access to public school meeting rooms by only allowing speakers conducting school-related activities. It may not, however, exclude speakers from a religious group simply because they intend to express religious views." (Good News Club V. Milford Central School)

"Words which would likely make the person whom they are addressed commit an act of violence."

Obscenities are not protected by the First Amendment. The way the Supreme Court rules speech an obscenity or not is by conducting The Miller Test.

"The Miller test for obscenity includes the following criteria: (1) whether ‘the average person, applying contemporary community standards’ would find that the work, ‘taken as a whole,’ appeals to ‘prurient interest’ (2) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and (3) whether the work, ‘taken as a whole,’ lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value."

I view what the Westboro Baptist Church is protesting as obscenity, fighting words and disturbers of peace. Supreme Court has the authority to put restrictions on the church for when and where they can meet to protest. I believe this should be taken into action. The church would still have their freedom of speech and the heart of the families of these soldiers would be protected.

Stand up America.

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