HARRISBURG, Penn. (Christian Examiner) -- Christians and social conservatives concerned about the future of free speech and religious liberty in a pro-gay marriage America may have received a glimpse of the future Friday when one Pennsylvania newspaper announced it no longer would print viewpoints opposing same-sex marriage.
The editorial board of The Patriot-News – the newspaper for the state capital of Harrisburg – said it wouldn't accept letters to the editor or op-eds opposing same-sex marriage, although it would, for a time, permit such arguments as long as they were limited to the Supreme Court majority's legal points. But after that, gay marriage opponents will be silenced.
The newspaper's announcement only added to what was a distressful weekend for evangelicals who were wondering if they now would be placed in the same category as racists, simply for supporting what the Bible says about marriage.
The White House glowed in gay marriage-affirming rainbow-colored lights the night of the Supreme Court's decision, and Facebook released a "Celebrate Pride" tool that easily allows users to add a rainbow-colored filter to their profile picture. The announcement was made by Facebook co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.
But with Obama and Zuckerberg already on the record supporting gay marriage, the Pennsylvania newspaper's decision may have been the most shocking.
"As a result of Friday's ruling, PennLive/The Patriot-News will very strictly limit op-Eds and letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage.
"These unions are now the law of the land. And we will not publish such letters and op-Eds any more than we would publish those that are racist, sexist or anti-Semitic.
"We will, however, for a limited time, accept letters and op-Eds on the high court's decision and its legal merits. The march of progress is often slow, but it is always steady.
"On Friday, the United States took another step toward the ideal of equality envisioned by its founders. And we are all more free as a result."
The newspaper's website is PennLive.com. The announcement did not go over well with all readers.
"I'm sure the editors/staff at Pennlive would take great umbrage should a conservative-leaning news outlet decide not to publish any opinions in favor of gay marriage," one person wrote. "But then again, conservatives are actually capable of tolerating views which may differ from their own."
"This is what happens when you narrow-minded ideologues run newspapers," another person wrote. "Go be a community activist if that's what you want. But people really want the news presented them unbiased and objectively. This is why newspapers are all going out of business. You guys are still clueless. No one buys a paper to read your opinion or to be told how to think by spoon feeding or censorship. We want accurate news. Period."