California’s advocates of homosexual behavior continue to explore brave new ways to whittle the First Amendment down to a manageable size – big enough to embrace their defiant, deviant behavioral choices; small enough to silence anyone who opposes them.

Their latest inspiration is to introduce legislation in the California Assembly that, if passed, would compel all political candidates who sign a “voluntary” non-discrimination pledge to refrain from any “hate speeches” that do not affirm homosexual behavior and that might inflame the campaign trail. The current pledge only lists race, sex, religion, national origin, physical health status, and age. The bill, AB 866, made its way through a judiciary committee April 5.

There’s no provision to opt out of one part of the pledge. Sign the whole thing – or don’t sign it and appear as though you don’t care about equality for anyone. In effect, this so-called addition to the “pledge” amounts to a gag rule on anyone who fails to adequately, and vocally, endorse the homosexual agenda. In other words, their new “tolerance” is their opposition’s silence.

Those promoting that agenda claim such gagging is necessary, since (in the words of the bill’s sponsor, Democrat Leland Yee) any debate over homosexual rights is inherently “divisive,” “potentially dangerous” to the community, and contributes to “an atmosphere of fear, intimidation, and instances of violence.” Wouldn’t it just be better for everyone, Yee and company suggest, if we refrained from discussing these issues altogether and just quietly agreed to go along with what “lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender individuals” want?

That’s an interesting perspective, coming from a group who clings so tenaciously to their own freedom of speech rights under the First Amendment. It reminds one of the guiding philosophy of the dictatorial pigs on George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”: “All animals are equal,” they declared, “but some are more equal than others.”

Of course, just because those promoting the homosexual agenda might be hypocritical here doesn’t mean that they’re completely wrong. Debate does tend to reveal divisions. They ought to realize that that is a primary purpose of debate. And, yes, the marketplace of ideas is indeed a potentially dangerous place – almost as dangerous as a state assembly that would consider giving itself the authority to decide what candidates can and cannot talk about.

Does unfettered discussion of the morals, goals and social activism of those who engage in homosexual behavior indeed breed fear and intimidation? Perhaps in a limited number of extreme cases. But then so does wielding the law like a two-by-four on anyone who questions your politics. Are people more frightened when they know they can openly and fully debate an issue – or when they are ordered not to?

An overreaction, some may say. But controlling the language is almost always a component of government-backed cultural indoctrination. The Canadian province of Ontario, which in February struck all gender-specific references from its laws, programs, services and documents is but the latest domino to fall. As predictable as it was outrageous – but California is proving that such oddness is not reserved for our friends to the north.

Is the First Amendment, with all its safeguards for religious liberty and free speech, expendable now if it interferes with the homosexual agenda?

But this isn’t just about politics, say those who engage in homosexual behavior. They claim their very lives are at stake. Widespread anti-homosexual violence rises, they say, in the wake of comments opposing celebration of their legal demands and sexual behavior.

Well … easy to state, hard to prove. Contrary to the mistaken assumptions of the advocates of homosexual behavior in California, communication is key to resolving volatile issues. Historically, attempts to throttle free speech or use government coercion to dictate the language have failed miserably in achieving any good whatsoever.

And that, in the end, is the problem with California’s proposed “pledge” legislation. If dispute and division looms when issues of morality, decency and human sexuality are discussed; if debating these points continues to reveal deep differences among the voting public; if some on both sides of these questions find the opposition intimidating …

… it may be because these issues are that important.

So important that they cut to the essential foundations of who we are as a people. So important that advocates of homosexual behavior are willing to undermine – or even ignore – the First Amendment to avoid them.

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