The First Amendment is more than a legal guarantee. It is a culture — a key American value — which holds that in a decent and free society, law-abiding citizens should not face reprisals for speaking up with civility for the moral good as they see it.

Sen. Chuck Grassley’s remarkable opening statement in today’s Senate hearing on a bill to repeal DOMA called attention to a very serious and growing intolerance directed at Americans who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife:

The minority very much hoped to call a witness today at this hearing to testify in support of DOMA. I am sure she would have done an excellent job.

She declined, however, citing as one reason the threats and intimidation that have been leveled against not only her but her family as a result of her public support for DOMA. She will continue to write on this subject, but will no longer speak publicly about it. This chilling of First Amendment rights is unacceptable.

When Chris Johnson, a reporter from the Washington Blade, called and asked if that woman was me, I was at first amused. No, of course not. I am not refusing to make public appearances. I was not invited this time….

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