It's OK to make a public place a "smoke free" zone. That's acceptable – if someone lights up, you make him or her put it out.
But it's not OK to declare a building a "Bias Free" zone, as Southampton Town stubbornly did a few years ago. It is a meaningless gesture, done at the request of the town's Anti-Bias Task Force, even though town officials privately agreed it was symbolic and unenforceable.
Now, taxpayers are paying tens of thousands of dollars because the town foolishly agreed to pander to a few professional victims from the lunatic fringe.
Last week a federal judge ordered the town to pay $40,000 in legal fees to a small group or protestors who were denied their Constitutional Rights when they tried to hold a peaceful protest at town hall. The protestors – mostly senior citizens – sued. It was the first day licenses for same sex marriages were being distributed, and the protestors clearly weren't doing the politically correct thing – so they were hustled away under the guise of the Bias-Free signage.
Let's tell it like it is – how many people that go in and out of town hall every day have some sort of bias? (Jeez, don't politicians and lawyers go in there a lot?) We'd wager just about everyone.
This should have never happened. The town should have acknowledged a mistake was made, apologized to the protestors, who were rudely herded by cops, and taken the stupid signs down – they should never have been erected to begin with. Ironically, had the protestors been advocates of gay marriage, they likely would have been welcomed with open arms, and that is the real tragedy here. Political correctness in the Hamptons isn't just a catchphrase anymore – it's become a mandate.
We all have the same Constitutional rights, and the right to protest peacefully is one of them.