John Diaz wrote yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle.
A supporter of Proposition 8, fed up with what he believed was the gay community's and "liberal media's" refusal to accept the voters' verdict, fired off a letter to the editor.
"Please show respect for democracy," he wrote, in a letter we published.
What he encountered instead was an utter lack of respect for free speech.
Within hours, the intimidation game was on. Because his real name and city were listed - a condition for publication of letters to The Chronicle - opponents of Prop. 8 used Internet search engines to find the letter writer's small business, his Web site (which included the names of his children and dog), his phone number and his clients. And they posted that information in the "Comments" section of SFGate.com - urging, in ugly language, retribution against the author's business and its identified clients.
"They're intimidating people that don't have the same beliefs as they do... so they'll be silenced," he told me last week. "It doesn't bode well for the free-speech process. People are going to have to be pretty damn courageous to speak up about anything. Why would anyone want to go through this?"
It's the same kind of tactics liberals always accuse conservatives of doing, silencing debate. But if you don't agree with them, they're always the one who will attack you for exercising your free speech by calling you a bigot, intimidating your family, or calling up your place of business to get you fired.
In that sense, these gay marriage supporters have adopted the same intimidation tactics similar to what the Ku Klux Klan did after the Civil War to legislators and activists who fought southern discrimination. And perhaps that's a good analogy, since they've already resorted to using racial slurs and outright bigotry towards Catholics, Christians and Mormons.
For all their talk about "tolerance" and fighting "hate," the pro-gay marriage crowd is doing their best to be the biggest purveyors of intolerance, bigotry and squashing of the First Amendment rights of those who disagree with them.
And you can bet once again, with the lawsuits from the spineless city and county governments in liberal areas of California, they'll try to use the courts to steal another important right.
The right to vote and have it count.