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April 11, 2013

Free speech group ‘honors’ attempts to censor



The issue of gay marriage earned Muzzles for mayors of the three of three major U.S. cities — Boston, Chicago and San Francisco — after they attempted to block the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain from expanding in their cities because company president Dan Cathy’s publicly said marriage should be defined as a union of a man and a woman.

Conversely, a Maryland legislator asked the Baltimore Ravens’ owner to silence a player who was an outspoken advocate of gay marriage.

Missouri state Rep. Mike Leara was taken to task for proposing a bill that would have made it a class D felony for his colleagues to simply propose restrictions on “the right of an individual to bear arms.” Leara said he didn’t expect the legislation to go anywhere, but to serve as “a statement in defense of the Second Amendment rights of all Missourians.”

The Oklahoma City kindergarten student who wore a University of Michigan T-shirt to class was instructed by his principal to go behind a tree on the playground and turn his shirt inside-out. The policy, intended as an anti-gang measure, is under review because of the public outcry.

The Annville-Cleona school board in Pennsylvania got its Muzzle for voting to remove the children’s book “The Dirty Cowboy” from the elementary school library after the parents of a student complained it would send the message that “looking at nudity is okay and not wrong.” The story involves a cowboy who takes his annual bath at a river. His modesty is protected by illustrations, such as a flock of birds.

While schools are fertile ground for the Muzzles, Wheeler said he frets the most about targeting educators because they strive to do their best while serving so many constituencies.

“At the same time, we don’t feel we can completely let them off the hook if they really do something, even with the best intentions, that is teaching the wrong lesson to students or their families,” he said.

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