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ACLU says school employee who urged violence against gays should not be fired

Columbus, OH — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio said Tuesday that a Columbus City Schools employee who posted an anti-gay slur should not be fired.

Chris Dodds, a garage assistant supervisor, last week called for violence against the LGBT community as Columbus kicked off its 35th annual LGBT Pride Festival and Parade.

"I hope this event turns out like the Boston Marathon a few year's [sic] back," Dodds wrote in a Facebook post. "All faggots should be killed or at least relocated."

The post was made to a Facebook page dedicated to the event.

A spokesperson for the Columbus City School district told The Columbus Dispatch on Friday that it was "working toward" firing Dodds over the post.

Elizabeth Bonham, staff attorney at the ACLU of Ohio, criticized Dodds but added that his speech is protected.

"Such vile words are hard to stomach, but those words are also protected speech," Bonham said in a statement. "It hurts to see hate like this, especially during PRIDE month – a month of joy and celebration for my community. But a government employer cannot censor its employees' protected statements, no matter the content."

"While these words are painful to read, allowing Mr. Dodds to be punished for using them would be a danger for us all. The LGBTQ community's own history is rich with examples of the government silencing us. When we allow the government to pick and choose what speech is acceptable and what is not, it is inevitable that censorship will increase – including censorship of LGBTQ voices."

"Suppressing speech is not the way to fight discrimination. We will continue our work to ensure that the LGBTQ community is free from prejudice. We will also be vigilant against threats to free speech. Both goals are achievable and in fact they are connected," concluded Bonham.
Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine
 
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