Just recently, lawmakers in France reportedly approved a new measure banning sexual harassment in public even more than before. As a consequence, those who engage in “catcalling” or make “lewd or degrading comments” at others now potentially face an on-the-spot fine of up to 750 euros, which is roughly $870. Alarmingly, several days after the legislators passed what many would say is an absolutely absurd law that completely infringes on an individual’s free speech, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) allegedly promoted this ridiculous censorship on social media.
Specifically, they did so by publishing and then immediately retracting a post on Twitter supposedly calling on lawmakers in the United States to pass a similar law even though such a law would likely be wholly unconstitutional. Just because they may have deleted to tweet to be politically correct, though, doesn’t mean they don’t really feel this way.
According to reports, in the now-deleted tweet, which included a link to an article about the newly passed legislation in France, the ACLU purportedly wrote, “Your move, America.”
— Paul DeBenedetto (@pauldebenedetto) August 3, 2018
By stating this, the non-profit group seemed to be promoting the idea that the United States should adopt a similar law. However, as noted by Robby Soave, who is an associate editor for Reason, such a proposal would likely violate the first amendment.
“A U.S. ban on catcalling—defined as street harassment of women, usually by men, often of a sexual nature—would likely violate the first amendment, unless the law was very narrowly tailored to prohibit only severe, pervasive, objectively offensive conduct, or threatening behavior,” reasoned the associate editor of the website.
“Even then, the Supreme Court might strike it down; think of Snyder v. Phelps,” he continued.
“As obnoxious as catcalling is, the government simply can’t prevent men from talking to women in public,” added Soave, noting, “this is something that many anti-catcalling groups understand explicitly, which is why they often oppose attempts criminalize such behavior.”
Ironically, criminalizing catcalling was actually something that the ACLU itself has previously spoken out against, which may be part of the reason why the tweet was later deleted.
“We need to be careful about aggressively using disorderly conduct or similar laws — like those that bar ‘obscene’ statements or gestures in public — to criminalize unwelcome verbal interactions,” began Gabe Rottman, who is a policy advisor and legislative counsel in the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office.
“First, it’s crucial to note that all states already have laws governing many forms of street harassment including some of the behavior on display in the video. Laws covering following, threats, stalking, groping, and putting someone in fear of unwanted physical contact (even if you don’t touch them) should be enforced, especially in cases involving physical contact like this one,” he explained.
“Disorderly conduct and ‘obscene gesture’ laws, however, pose special problems for the first amendment. They can be (and often are) misused against lawful protesters, people criticizing the police, and individuals filming officers in public. Extending disorderly conduct laws to unwanted verbal interactions would amplify the potential for misuse in these and other areas,” continued Rottman.
“Similarly, expansively interpreting such laws to cover catcalls could also raise enforcement concerns. As we have seen with stop-and-frisk programs and anti-panhandling [sic] ordinances, such laws can be used pretextually as part of ‘broken windows’ policing, which disproportionately impacts communities of color,” added the policy adviser to the ACLU’s office in Washington, noting that “we can expect the same bias to infect the enforcement of these laws against purely verbal interactions.”
Sadly, it’s becoming increasingly common for the ACLU to take on positions that appear to contradict their mission. For example, earlier this year, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against a piece of legislation in Ohio prohibiting the abortion of unborn children with Down syndrome because, according to them, the law violates the 14th amendment.
Their reasoning, however, which suggests that the government must allow women to kill their unborn babies if that’s what they want to do, is something that many pro-life activists would claim is absolutely absurd.
When a person ends the life of someone with a mental disability like Down syndrome once they’re already born, then they would be considered a murderer. The same reasoning applies to an individual with a mental disability who is still in the womb. Basically, this means that anyone who has their helpless fetus slaughtered should be treated the same as if they murdered a living human being.
Unfortunately, the catcalling measure in France, which the ACLU appeared to promote, is just one of many absurd policies currently being promoted around the world.
Unsurprisingly, shortly after changing the law, an unidentified man decided to take advantage of it by changing the gender on his birth certificate to “female” in order to purportedly save money on car insurance. Bafflingly, liberals officials in New York have also suggested passing a similar piece of legislation.
A couple of months prior to the policy being reportedly introduced, New York City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Queens) introduced a piece of legislation banning residents from walking along the sidewalk while smoking. According to reports, if passed, anyone who refuses to remains stationary while smoking will likely face a fine of roughly $50.
Without a doubt, many would recognize that the policies currently being promoted by unhinged leftists around the world are absolutely ridiculous. Disturbingly, though, when it came to France’s recent ban on catcalling, the ACLU apparently wasn’t among those who recognized it as the speech infringement that it truly was, at least initially.