The recent Duck Dynasty controversy brings a very important issue to light in our American political discussion. That issue being the constant culture war that goes on between the Left and the Right and the American Rights' flawed view "Freedom of Speech"
As many of you know, Phil Robertson stated inflammatory remarks about gay people.... He said "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there," he explained when asked by GQ's Drew Magary what exactly he considered sinful, "bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."
Those comments angered many people in America and thus the network decided to cancel the show. However a surprise was going to be in store for the network. Right Wing talk radio rose to the defense of Robertson and the show will be brought back to television in January.
The American Political Right rose to the defense of Mr. Robertson because its flawed notion of freedom of speech. Freedom of speech does not apply to speech made to private actor at all. Freedom of speech applies only in governmental actors.
The state actor rule is what governs whether an issue is a matter of free speech or an equal protection concern,
"...performance of a "public function" (a function that has been traditionally and exclusively performed by the state) is state action (Marsh v. Alabama, 326 U.S. 501 (1946)), if an individual or organization sues to judicially enforce a contractual right it is state action (Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948)), but if the government coerces, influences, or encourages the performance of the act, it is state action (Rendall-Baker v. Kohn, 457 U.S. 830 (1982)), If... the government and the private party enter into a “joint enterprise” or a “symbiotic relationship” with each other it is state action (Burton v. Wilmington Parking Authority, 365 U.S. 715 (1961)); If ... the government is "pervasively entwined" with the leadership of the private organization, the acts of theorganization are state action (Brentwood Academy v. Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, 535 U.S. 971 (2002)).
In other words there are four key rules and one of those has to apply for an issue of free speech to arise. First an actor could be performing a state action and A.E. is not performing a state action. The second question is the government trying to influence the speech and it clear that the government is not trying influence the speech. The third question is whether the government is in a joint enterprise with the organization restricting the speech and they are not involved with A.E. Fourth, is the government in directly connected with the leadership of the organization. On this count and all the other counts, The Duck Dynasty issue does not apply. Thus what Phil Robertson said is not an issue of freedom of speech..
The Duck Dynasty issue has not been the first or nor will be the last where the American Right has come to the defense of people who had views opposing homosexuality. The Chick Fillet stance against equal rights same sex couples and the American Right's of it defense of their opposition to gay marriage is another example. One case that will be interesting is Hobby Lobby's fight against the birth control mandate. If they win then corporations also effectively have freedom of religion and speech rights.