Can Freedom of Speech Persist?


The very constitution that shaped the country we live in today, provides a specific list of rights given to all citizens of the United States, otherwise known as the bill of rights. The freedom of speech is one of those rights. But are we really free to speak about anything? This has really been a controversial topic in the U.S. lately considering how speech is being regulated. There are various cases in which voices have been silenced due to the inappropriate nature of the topic.

A very controversial issue includes the wedding cake incident in Colorado. A public bakery owner refuses to make a cake for a gay couples wedding due to religious beliefs. The owner refers to his wedding cakes as a form of speech in which he believes he should be able to sell how he sees best fit. He is currently in the middle of a lawsuit but his freedom of speech is being silenced and turned into discrimination. Personally, I think the couple is right to be upset with this kind of behavior due to the setting. This is a public business owner and his cakes do not tie him to the act being celebrated. His “speech” is not necessarily being silenced, but in his mind, it is. Issues like this make it difficult to decide what is appropriate and what is not.

When we allow LGBTQ students to speak out to a group of students or in public to an audience, we are allowing them their free speech, a right given to them by the constitution. This is not only a noble and brave act, but it may be a disrespectful and disturbing issue to others. I find it extremely important to give members of the LGBTQ community a voice to share what they need to feel safe and comfortable and equal. I am so supportive of issues like this and do not think they should be silenced, but others may not. If someone who supported a hate group wished to speak about meetings and topics their group discusses, I would definitely want that shut down immediately, along with any others. I would see this as clearly promoting discrimination while others find this information to be important for everyone to know.

The issue here is deciding what is appropriate for the public to hear and making decisions without bias. Allowing for speech that you agree with and want to hear more about but fighting those who speak against you is definitely the biggest issue to me, therefore I find that there should be more detailed laws highlighting the specifics and ways to decide what is free speech and what is crossing the line. I dislike the vague law put in order because it puts people at risk of being shut down or silenced due to bias or simple confusion when considering the legality of an issue.