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Free Speech Gets Heated
at L.A. City College

Free Speech Gets Heated
at L.A. City College

Antigay protesters have taken to Los Angeles's City College campus in support of Jonathan Lopez, a Christian student who claims his professor kept him from finishing a classroom speech about his religious beliefs and opposition to same-sex marriage.

Antigay protesters have taken to Los Angeles's City College campus in support of Jonathan Lopez, a Christian student who claims his professor kept him from finishing a classroom speech about his religious beliefs and opposition to same-sex marriage.

Lopez has sued the Los Angeles Community College District, claiming he was discriminated against because of his religious views.

On Monday a half dozen people turned out on the campus to show their support for Lopez -- and their opposition to gays and lesbians, waving signs reading "God Hates Gays."

Lopez made his speech during the emotional protests which followed the passage of California's Prop. 8, which banned same-sex marriage throughout the state. Lopez alleges that his professor called him a "fascist bastard" and told him to "ask God" for his grade. He says the professor later threatened to retaliate against him for complaining.

Lopez is being represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, cofounded by Focus on the Family's former director James Dobson.

The teacher responsible for allegedly censoring the speech -- John Matteson -- is in the sights of antigay activists. A Pulitzer Prize-winning New York biographer who happens to have the same name and occupation as Lopez's instructor said he has received a dozen or so nasty e-mails intended for the community college professor.

"Some of them threatened my life," said the New York-based John Matteson, an associate professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

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