Compelled speech

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Compelled speech is a transmission of expression required by law. A related legal concept is protected speech. In the United States, compelled speech is governed by the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution. In the same way that the First Amendment protects free expression, in many cases it similarly protects an individual from being required to utter or otherwise express a thought with which they disagree.

Examples of compelled speech supported by law[edit]

Examples of compelled speech not supported by law[edit]

Government speech[edit]

A government of, by, and for the people also speaks on behalf of its people. The government is not required to express views held by groups in the population.

Compelled speech (Canada)[edit]

In Canada, the concept of "compelled speech" became controversial following the Canadian federal government's Bill C-16, which would add "gender identity or expression" as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act. University of Toronto Psychology professor and clinical psychologist, Jordan Peterson, used the term "compelled speech" to describe the bill on September 27, 2016, in his lecture video series on his YouTube channel.[5] in which he denounced political correctness, in general because of free speech, and compelled speech, in particular. In his video Peterson announced he refused to be compelled to use genderless pronouns.[5][6] A subsequent October 2016 video filmed after a free-speech rally at the University of Toronto went viral. Since then he has attracted a wide following and received significant international media coverage.[7][8][9] By 2018, "compelled speech" had become a "very divisive subject within the Ontario law profession" and was the object of much tension.[10] Peterson's talks on university campuses, such as Queen's University, with its Faculty of Law, have been controversial.[10]


  1. ^ Bader, Hans (April 24, 2017). "Obama-Era DOJ Violated Free Speech Through Burdensome Demands for Disabled Access". CNS News. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Frankel, Alison (April 24, 2017). "When the government can make businesses talk". Reuters. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  3. ^ Nolan, Mike (February 24, 2017). "Orland Park vehicle sticker with Blue Lives Matter symbol stirs debate". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  4. ^ Jess Bravin, "Governors Seek to Curb Confederate Flag License Plates: Moves follow Charleston mass killing, Supreme Court ruling", Wall Street Journal (June 23, 2015).
  5. ^ a b DiManno, Rosie (November 19, 2016). "New words trigger an abstract clash on campus". Toronto Star. 
  6. ^ Craig, Sean (September 28, 2016). "U of T professor attacks political correctness, says he refuses to use genderless pronouns". National Post. 
  7. ^ Bartlett, Tom (January 17, 2018). "What's So Dangerous About Jordan Peterson?". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 
  8. ^ Blatchford, Christie (January 19, 2018). "Christie Blatchford sits down with "warrior for common sense" Jordan Peterson". National Post. Retrieved January 19, 2018. 
  9. ^ Lott, Tim (January 21, 2018). "Jordan Peterson: 'The pursuit of happiness is a pointless goal'". The Observer. Retrieved January 21, 2018. 
  10. ^ a b Woolf, Daniel (March 12, 2018). "Why we invited Jordan Peterson to discuss compelled speech". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 26, 2018.