MICHAEL BARONE: Liberal Officials Penalizing Free Speech. “As a conservative on most issues and a supporter of same-sex marriage, I find it fascinating that liberal politicians are so ready to clamp down on others’ speech. It’s certainly permissible to refuse to patronize a restaurant because you dislike the owner’s beliefs and to encourage, by means short of violence or intimidation, others to do so. It’s also kind of foolish and in my view would be a waste of time to have to research owners’ or managers’ political views before going somewhere to eat. But for public officials to penalize people because of their expressed beliefs—well, I wouldn’t go as far as blogger Elizabeth Scalia does when she titles a blogpost “this is how fascism works,” but it’s pretty nasty stuff. Mayors Emanuel and Menino are treating opposition to same-sex marriage as something akin to Hitlerism or Stalinism. But it’s not.”

Well, it is now, since Obama’s changed his views. If you hold the view of gay marriage that Obama held until his “evolution” a few weeks ago, that’s a thoughtcrime of the first order and makes you a public enemy. We have always been at war with EastAsia supported gay marriage!

Somebody should explore this phenomenon in depth. And it’s funny that Mayor Menino is posturing as some sort of defender of decency, but there’s nothing more indecent than a city in which your right to do business depends on whether the downtown hacks approve of your ideas.

Meanwhile, I wonder if his threats didn’t open him, and Boston, up to a federal civil rights suit. He’s threatening to use the apparatus of government against people for constitutionally protected speech and beliefs. The Chick-Fil-A people, as good Christians, will probably forgive him, but if it were me, I’d do my best to make an example of him. Some lawsuits, some depositions, some inquiry into his relationships with people in the restaurant business….

UPDATE: More thoughts over at Gay Patriot, plus a recognition that Republican politicians didn’t try to keep gay-friendly enterprises Disney and Home Depot out of their jurisdictions. No, but Republican politics isn’t based around always having someone to hate. For the left, it’s always Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, the Kochs. It doesn’t matter who the bogeyman is, but it’s essential that there be a bogeyman in order to ensure solidarity.