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
“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
“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
“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.