I am writing to respond to the recent editorial, “ASM, it’s not your place” (Sep. 23, 2009). If those of you on The Badger Herald Editorial Board wish to object to the legitimacy of where ASM distributes its funds, that’s fine. But please do not use the “logistics” of the National Equality March as a guise to simultaneously push your own agenda about how you feel on the issue of gay rights itself. If you wish to state both arguments, by all means do so — but do so separately. Your opinion on whether you feel ASM should or should not sponsor certain events and how you feel about the events themselves are two entirely separate issues; blurring the lines between the two not only depreciates your argument, but is also inappropriate and misleading.

The Student Council has no such “ethical obligation to withhold public statement” on the issue. Although you personally may not support gay equality, do not presume to tell others they do not have the right to speak out in favor. The idea that the university administration should prevent the impression it “has formally endorsed the full gamut of same-sex rights proposed by activists” for the sake of the potential conservative student implies personal opinions, specifically controversial or immoderate ones, should never be voiced at all for fear that any one person might be intimidated by the implications and forced to sway to one side or the other. That, in itself, is the beauty of our right to free speech and freedom of choice. And I, personally, hold more faith that the American public possesses the keen intellect to determine its own opinions, even when bombarded with all the “liberal,” “conservative” and “everything in between” stances.

Furthermore, please do not be so arrogant as to say that you omnisciently know what the effective results of such a march would be on the equal rights movement for the LGBT community. To say you do not believe the trip is “central to the purpose of the RSO” is one thing, but it is offensive to simultaneously opine on the effectiveness of the march itself, let alone the voice of even a single person. It appears, again, that you essentially believe that citizen efforts to defend and speak out about their beliefs have had, and will have, little to no effect on change. Change begins somewhere and continues to reinforce itself, no matter what issue you’re talking about. And if it weren’t for the strength that such individuals find to act in defense of their beliefs, change would never be possible. To say “the march will provide no more visibility for LGBT rights if a few more folks from UW come along for the ride too” is incredibly derogatory toward anyone who is a part of this effort and to whom these issues hold critical significance. How could you ever, given the course of history, deny the power of even a single voice? Please, do not devalue mine.

Stephanie Connors
Junior, Communication Arts
[email protected]