Where is the proper line between the lawful exercise of one's political or religious beliefs, and the acceptable penalty for that exercise? Let me save some of you some reading time. I don't know.
But the aftermath of the Proposition 8 vote in California, which banned gay marriage, is providing a suitable backdrop to ask the question and discuss it... if we dare.
National Public Radio carried a story this morning on the protests in which people who donated the money to support the measure, are now being targeted.
"El Coyote takes your gay dollar to fund gay hatred," John Dennison shouted, pacing in front of the restaurant. He's outraged that one of El Coyote's owners, a devout Mormon, reportedly gave $100 to the campaign for Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban.
In Sacramento yesterday, the artistic director of the California Musical Theater resigned after it was revealed Scott Eckern donated $1,000 to the group pushing the amendment. He, too, is a Mormon. The resignation came after Marc Shaiman, the Tony Award-winning composer, said that he would not let his work be performed in the theater, according to the New York Times.
There is nothing in the Constitution that protects someone from the non-government-afflicted consequences of holding a political view, some people said in 2003. Then, however, it was the "right" staging the protest when one of the most popular musical groups at the time -- the Dixie Chicks -- made known their opposition to the war in Iraq. It cost them vital airplay on radio stations, record sales, and concert dates.
Is post-Proposition 8 that much different? Susan Egan, a Broadway actress, posted a letter on Facebook supporting the idea of boycotting Mr. Eckern's theater.
It's now a video on YouTube:
But now she's having second thoughts, the Times reported today.
"My actions have caused him harm, just as his actions caused harm to people he loved," she said. "We're all guilty."
According to the Times, she's not alone:
That sentiment was echoed by Mr. Shaiman, who said that some of the pain being felt among gay theater artists after passage of Proposition 8 has been self-inflicted.
"Our anger is against ourselves, too, that we were too compliant," he said. "It was beyond our ken that this could ever happen. But we were terribly, terribly wrong."
The constitutional questions are resolved in the courts, but the social and moral implications of holding an unpopular opinion are most often played out in the arts -- from blacklists and Pete Seeger, to the Smothers Brothers, to the Dixie Chicks, to a director of a small theater in California.
Two more designs today for the commemorative News Cut coin which could select the next U.S. senator from Minnesota.
From Anna Bliss:
From Brian Sorenson of Henderson, MN:
Meanwhile, on the recount front, the Secretary of State is inviting media members today to observe "training" for recount officials today. And Al Franken is suing for access to voter data.
Perhaps that may provide some artistic inspiration for you.(1 Comments)
Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, is reporting Sen. Norm Coleman has dropped his bid to become of the head of the NRSC
A source familiar with the private deliberations among GOP Senators believes that Coleman would have had the votes to beat (Sen. LeRoy) Cornyn, had his re-election bid concluded satisfactorily in advance of next week's scheduled Senate Republican Conference leadership elections.
Al Franken made Coleman's interest in the job part of his own campaign, noting that the group -- like its Democrat counterpart -- is responsible for the type of negative advertising that Coleman repudiated at one point during campaign.(1 Comments)
Administrative Law Judge Barbara L. Neilson on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by Norm Coleman against Al Franken over an ad which said a "bipartisan watchdog group" said Coleman was the country's 4th most corrupt senator.
Prepare yourself for the headlines that say "Judge rules Coleman is 4th most corrupt senator." There hasn't been much subtlety in the Senate race and there's no reason to think this story is going to break the drought.
Here's the decision (which was provided by the Franken campaign).
The facts of the case are that the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington put out a list of representatives and senators it says engaged in "unethical and sometimes illegal activities."
The Franken ad reported that the group said Coleman was the 4th most corrupt senator because he was one of four on the list.
Does this mean that Coleman is corrupt? No. It also doesn't mean he's not.
Neilson didn't rule on CREW's methodology. The suit wasn't against CREW; it was against Franken, and she said Minnesota law
For a violation of section 211B.06 to be found, two requirements must be met: (1) a person must intentionally participate in the preparation, dissemination or broadcast of false campaign material; and (2) the person preparing, disseminating, or broadcasting the material must know that the item is false, or act with reckless disregard as to whether it is false. As interpreted by the Minnesota Supreme Court, the statute is directed against false statements of fact. It is not intended to prevent criticism of candidates for office or to prevent unfavorable deductions or inferences derived from a candidate's conduct. In addition, expressions of opinion, rhetoric, and figurative language are generally protected speech if, in context, the reader would understand that the statement is not a representation of fact.
The burden of proving the falsity of a factual statement cannot be met by showing only that the statement is not literally true in every detail. If the statement is true in substance, inaccuracies of expression or detail are immaterial.19 A statement is substantially accurate if its "gist" or "sting" is true, that is, if it produces the same effect on the mind of the recipient which the precise truth would have produced. Where there is no dispute as to the underlying facts, the question whether a statement is substantially accurate is
one of law.
The ad was determined to be substantially true because CREW made an assertion, and Franken was substantially accurate in relaying what the assertion was. The means by which CREW came to its conclusion was not the point of the suit nor the decision.