Tuesday, April 12, 2005
On this day:

Rep. Gerald Allen Receives "Muzzle Award"

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has awarded Rep. Gerald Allen (R. - Tuscaloosa) one of this year's "muzzle" awards for attempting "to suppress the expression of a viewpoint that is at odds with his own personal views." (All of this year's muzzle award recipients are listed here.)

Allen sponsored a bill in the legislature that would have prohibited the use of state funds "for the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle."

From day one, I thought that the hoopla surrounding Allen's bill was disproportionate to the actual threat it posed to freedom of expression. The bill was dead, is dead, and will forever be dead. Even if it had a chance of passing, it would only have denied state funding for certain materials it deemed inappropriate. How that would have "muzzled" anyone is beyond me. It was a stupid bill, no doubt, but it was never a serious threat to free speech.