CFFS Backs VA Bill Forbidding Forced Masking of Children on First Amendment Grounds
Legislation sponsored by Democrat state senator brands mask mandates as political speech
Mesa, AZ – The ongoing national battle over forced masking of adults in public spaces, and especially of children in school settings, took a dramatic turn this week in Virginia. As school districts across the state brazenly defied Governor Glenn Youngkin’s new executive order banning mask mandates in Virginia schools, a state legislator is now sponsoring a bill that would make the forced covering of children’s faces a violation of the First Amendment.
State Senator Chap Petersen, a Democrat from Fairfax City, believes that the issue of facemasks is no longer one of health and safety, but rather a debate over political ideology.
“It has become hard, if not impossible,” Petersen wrote on February 7, to find a respected medical researcher who still defends Forced Masking of Children as a public safety measure. The decision to wear a mask in public – when there is so little correlation with public health – makes it de facto a political decision. In other words, by wearing a mask in a public setting, the wearer is able to communicate a political message, e.g. ‘I Care About Others’ or ‘I voted for Biden’. You are forcing children to make a political statement that they (and their parents) may not believe. That violates the First Amendment.”
The senator’s words were music to the ears of Patrick Wood, Executive Director of Citizens for Free Speech (CFFS) which has been actively working to end face mask mandates across the country.
“Reasonable people have known for nearly two years that the forcible masking of children was not only unnecessary, but that it actually compromised the health of children,” Wood said. “CFFS consulted with medical experts who presented evidence that making kids inhale their own carbon dioxide for 7 hours a day, through a dirty, mucous-covered piece of cloth was not healthy for them.
“We also argued against masking from a First Amendment perspective, because people could not effectively communicate or express themselves from behind these face covers. Now, however, we have an elected official who is clarifying the message perfectly. The masks are indeed being used to make political statements, and as we are all aware, forced or compelled speech is just as much a violation of the First Amendment as suppressed speech.”
David Kamioner, contributing editor for LifeZette wrote last June, pointed specifically to President Joe Biden as the prime example of masks as a political statement.
“From day one of his presidency Biden wore masks in absurd situations that had nothing to do with science…Biden, we were told, was just setting a good example. But he wasn’t, he was setting a paranoid and cultish example. The example he set was that wearing a mask showed you cared…that it made you a good person. No wonder so many people now fear taking off the mask in case they look like a Republican, or God forbid a Trump supporter. The blue mask became the red MAGA hat of the left.”
Wood echoed Kamioner’s contention.
“Near the very beginning of the Covid response protocols established by elected officials, the battle over forced masking became one of ideology rather than immunology,” Wood emphasized. “Wearing the mask showed you were more left-leaning, while going mask-less indicated you were more conservative and independent-minded. Senator Peteresen’s bill is spot-on, and our kids should not be forced to make political statements against their or their parents’ will. CFFS will be mobilizing its efforts to push for similar legislation, on free speech grounds, in other states that continue to muzzle their school children.”
*NOTE: At the time of this release, the Virginia Senate had passed Petersen’s bill in a 29-9 vote, with all Republicans and nearly half of Democrats voting in favor of the legislation.
For more information about CFFS please visit www.CitizensForFreeSpeech.org.