Some readers have written questioning my series of columns lampooning the lavender graduation at UNC-Wilmington. That is the ceremony where UNCW graduates are given purple cords to show that they are gay and lavender cords to show they approve of homosexuality. Students then wear these cords when they get their degrees at the university-wide graduation ceremony.
Some self-proclaimed conservatives have reasoned that since participation in the ceremony is optional, lavender graduation isn't a topic worthy of column space. That view is misguided as it fails to account for ingrained patterns in our institutional history, which show that today's "option" is often tomorrow's mandate. So these columns are about more than sexual identity politics. They also have implications for freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. Consider the example of our now-infamous Seahawk Respect Compact.
Some years ago, a staff member wrote to me in distress because he was being pressured into signing the respect compact. He feared that there would be repercussions for not signing it, even though it was said to be optional. Since then, there have been three developments with regard to the compact.
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