I have to disagree with Diane Brown ("Only closed minds stifle opposing viewpoints, May 16) on both her key points about Ben Carson's remarks on marriage equality and the opposition to him giving the commencement speech at Johns Hopkins University this year.
At best, Ben Carson's remarks showed a breathtaking lack of understanding, and at worst, bigotry. When opponents of gay marriage mention pedophilia and bestiality in the same sentence as homosexuality, they know exactly what they are doing: they are illegitimizing and belittling homosexual love as being as perverted and deviant as the other practices. Yes, Ben Carson "was" equating these things, no doubt about it.
Secondly, denying him the opportunity to give the commencement address is not stifling his speech, because he has plenty of other fora to express his views, such as Fox News. It is quite reasonable for Hopkins students and alumni to not want a bigot like him to inspire fresh graduates.
You can have reasonable disagreements about all kinds of issues like the economy and gun control, but when someone tries to denigrate a group of people based on their sexual preference and tries to deny them equal rights, that borders on hate speech, and we are not obligated to put up with it. In fact, we have a duty not to.
Owen BrownCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun