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On Gay Marriage, GOP Is Gutless

Peter Leithart, with whom I just spent a wonderful three days in Canada, observes that the Republican Party has given up on traditional marriage [1], noting that the new line on SSM seems to be “personally opposed, but…” Excerpts:

It’s not surprising that marriage has been muted. What surprises is how easily the GOP has fallen into line. If a Republican candidate did the private/public two-step on abortion, his campaign would be abortive. When a candidate does it with marriage, there’s nary a peep. It seems the GOP has determined that marriage isn’t worth much of a fuss. Where are the howls of protest? Where have all the Bad Republicans gone?

Declaring a personal commitment to traditional marriage is nothing more than a sop to social conservatives unless it’s backed up by action. Either marriage is a basic institution of society, or it isn’t. Either family is essential to healthy public life, or it’s not. If the GOP isn’t willing to risk anything to conserve this institution, what is it conserving?

Its relationship to its corporate donors, and, I suppose, its long-term viability. That ship has sailed, unfortunately, and I don’t blame the GOP for being realistic about these things — to a point. And that point is its pathetic refusal to articulate and press a strong defense of religious liberty against the attacks by progressives and other gay rights supporters, especially those in the donor class.

This moment was entirely foreseeable — in fact, I saw it coming in 2008, and started writing about it back then. I said that social conservatives ought to realize we’ve lost this part of the culture war, but we ought to start mounting strong defenses, legally and rhetorically, on religious freedom grounds, to protect our institutions. The national Republicans have been by and large a disappointment on this.

So, I disagree somewhat with Peter. I can understand why the GOP wouldn’t be interested in the quixotic attempt to do away with Obergefell. But to sit back and watch the gay rights juggernaut roll over the religious liberty of orthodox Christians and other religious dissenters from the new regime of intolerance is repulsive. Social and religious conservatives have to know now that the Republican Party is not our friend.

And yet, most of us will end up voting for these jackals anyway in November, because of the Supreme Court. Such is life.

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99 Comments To "On Gay Marriage, GOP Is Gutless"

#1 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 8, 2016 @ 2:32 pm

And yet, most of us will end up voting for these jackals anyway in November…

Do you have any idea how foolish, even clueless, that sounds to the hypothetical reasonable man relied upon by the judiciary?

I left out that phrase “because of the Supreme Court” out of Christian charity. It conveys not only foolishness, but a slimy manipulative attitude, compounded with futility.

[NFR: Nope. It’s a matter of self-defense. — RD]

#2 Comment By Captain P On April 8, 2016 @ 2:51 pm

We’re now seeing a major downside of living in a two-party country. In a country that gave opportunities to third parties, Christians would be able to migrate to, say, the Constitution Party, but there’s no electoral viability there, sadly.

#3 Comment By Anne On April 8, 2016 @ 2:59 pm

Far be it from me to defend the GOP, but I agree with Marcel: I think most of the Republicans you refer to aren’t really cowards, but just think opposing SSM is more wrong than supporting it, and just wish their religious constituents would let it go and focus on voting Republican to get what they want out of the Supreme Court. As if. If there are any cowards they’re the ones who believe pro-choice is the fairer position on abortion but mouth the pro-life line because polling shows it’s the key to those religious voters they decided long ago constitute a voting bloc they can count on no matter what else they do. For the longest time, everybody knew most prominent women in the party, including the Bush wives and Bush’s female advisors, e.g.,Condaleeza Rice, were all pro-choice;the trick was to keep them mum. Some of the younger (more religious AND ideological) pols, e.g, Cruz, Santorum, Ryan, really are pro-life. Dubya probably was too. But not so the bulk of the grand old establishment, including its business wing. They have to shut up and pretend. On this issue, at least, Donald Trump follows GOP tradition to a T.

#4 Comment By panda On April 8, 2016 @ 3:12 pm

“It’s not surprising that marriage has been muted. What surprises is how easily the GOP has fallen into line. If a Republican candidate did the private/public two-step on abortion, his campaign would be abortive. When a candidate does it with marriage, there’s nary a peep. It seems the GOP has determined that marriage isn’t worth much of a fuss. Where are the howls of protest? Where have all the Bad Republicans gone?

I have to say that quotes like this baffle me utterly. I presume that the author of that parapraph is strongly pro-life, and as such, he views abortion as murder, and the post Roe status quo as akin to a holocaust. Now, from the traditionalist point of view, gay marriage is bad, but it is not killing anyone, and, as Rod and many others on these comboxes agree is not much more than a deepening of already existing trends against “traditional marriage.” Given this radical disparity, why shouldn’t GOP politicians save their limited political capital to the more important issue (and you know, on that front, they are passing hundreds of restrictions every year)?
The only way I can make sense of this complain is by surmising that the author is either a very bad strategist (frontal attack on all fronts will not get you anywhere), or not very serious about abortion…

#5 Comment By jamie On April 8, 2016 @ 3:36 pm

The nature of our political system as it is, mostly due to non-proportional voting, parties don’t have true ideals or principles, they just assemble interest groups into coalitions. Traditonal marriage proponents aren’t a big enough constituency to justify the loss of urban, socially liberal voters, and their campaign munny.

Also let’s not oversell it, several state-level Republicans have gone to the mat for “religious freedom” because they can bear to lose liberal support. The national party is helpless to aid them, though.

[NFR: After all this time, does this really need to be explained to you? By your logic, if we allowed polygamy, that would strengthen marriage. — RD]

If millions of people do X, while the law insists that X does not exist, it brings disrepute upon the law.

#6 Comment By Wes On April 8, 2016 @ 3:39 pm

As Kasich said a couple debates ago, we Christians should just move on.

#7 Comment By TA On April 8, 2016 @ 4:21 pm

Either marriage is a basic institution of society, or it isn’t. Either family is essential to healthy public life, or it’s not.

I suppose it’s just a rhetorical point on Leithart’s part to make himself sound winsome, but a majority of liberals would agree with that statement.

The difference is that they would look at the nice lesbian couple with two kids that live across the street and see a marriage and family that fully conforms to his statement.

It’s the flip side of this that is unpopular. To stand up, point to that couple, and say that those two people right there, along with their children, are destroying marriage and the health of the society is where you’ll get push-back.

#8 Comment By Rossbach On April 8, 2016 @ 4:37 pm

“And yet, most of us will end up voting for these jackals anyway in November, because of the Supreme Court.”

Or maybe not. If the GOP leadership doesn’t care enough about society’s most fundamental institution to protect it using it’s legislative power, what reason have we to think that they will ensure the confirmation of Supreme Court justices who care?

#9 Comment By Noah172 On April 8, 2016 @ 5:29 pm

you’re fairly likely to get a Presidential nominee (Ted Cruz) who is anything but cowardly on the topic of gay marriage

Umm guys, the GOP nominee is gonna be Cruz. If there is a miracle and he wins the general, you don’t have to worry about him appointing a milksop

What kind of people fund Cruz’ Super PACs? For whom did his wife work, providing (I presume) the bulk of the Cruz household income? From whom did Cruz take an ethically shady million-plus-dollar loan to fund his Senate race? What kind of people has Cruz been wooing since Bush and especially Rubio flamed out to serve as bundlers of donations?

Not small-town, hee-haw Bible-thumpers, that’s for sure.

With his legal background, Cruz actually is the Republican candidate most likely to appoint consistent conservative jurists — but, as with abortion, a Supreme Court reversal of the offending ruling would simply return the issue to the democratic process. This would mean a continuation of homosexual marriage and an erosion of liberty for dissenters in at least much of and maybe most of the country. (2015, as in 1973: greedy, impatient leftists could not realize or accept that their pet cause was advancing, if only incrementally, across the country due to a liberalization of public opinion; they had to have total victory and total humiliation for the unenlightened NOW.)

On the executive and legislative fronts, don’t expect much from Cruz pushing back against the lavender agenda.

#10 Comment By Intelliwriter On April 8, 2016 @ 5:50 pm

The LGBT community gained acceptance by seeing it normalized in TV and film. Now you’re starting to see atheism become normalized. It’s astonishing really and we will definitely see atheists elected to office within our lifetimes. If that helps to again enshrine the separation of church and state, I’ll be all for it. I have always felt that the more religion is thrust into politics, the bigger the backlash.

#11 Comment By Scott F. On April 8, 2016 @ 7:22 pm

Rod –

I think TA has the gist of it. The merits of marriage, family and community are not lost on liberals in this country. These are critical pillars of my Methodism, so I consider this a matter of religious liberty in much the same way you do.

What I don’t understand is how it is that the moral battle has to be over the participants in a marriage rather than the nature of a marriage. Plant your flag in defense of fidelity, commitment, loyalty, honesty and perseverance in a marriage. Do that and I strongly suspect you won’t find yourself so alone in the fight. The enemy of marriage is promiscuity, not homosexuality.

[NFR: But see, you’re wrong: it *is* about the nature of a marriage. — RD]

#12 Comment By Scott F. On April 8, 2016 @ 7:51 pm

[NFR: But see, you’re wrong: it *is* about the nature of a marriage. — RD]

Sorry, Rod. I enjoy your writing and I come here regularly to read you as I feel it is important to try to understand a broad range of perspectives as one grapples with the world.

So, it is with this regard toward you in mind that I must say the assertion you make above is summarily unhelpful. I don’t even know what position you are claiming. Are you saying the members in a married couple define the nature of that marriage? Are you saying that fidelity, commitment, loyalty, honesty and perseverance are impossibilities in a same sex marriage?

There are times when I’m convinced that your Benedict Option truly is the only course available to you. You simply have no interest in finding common ground with the broader population.

[NFR: Sure, those qualities can be found in a same-sex union. But it is not marriage. — RD]

#13 Comment By PM On April 8, 2016 @ 9:17 pm

@William Springer

Very well said!

@balconesfault

Thanks for a view I haven’t heard before!

#14 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 8, 2016 @ 9:29 pm

The enemy of marriage is promiscuity, not homosexuality.

Perhaps. But maybe two men, or two women, simply are not the content of a MARRIAGE. Maybe. I’m not saying its true, I’m saying it is a perfectly valid scruple to hold.

Several years ago, a religious columnist named James Watkins posted a column exploring why God is so bent out of shape by homosexuality. Watkins obviously believes that marriage IS the union of a man and a woman. He also felt uncomfortable about being mean to gays. He said he’d rather lick a flagpole in 20 below zero weather than tackle this subject. But he tried anyway, because he felt he had to.

His hypothesis, and he offered it as no more than a hypothesis, is that perhaps the marriage of a man and a woman reunites the image of God, and two men, or two women, just don’t do that. He illustrated this with jigsaw puzzle pieces that fit, in one instance, and didn’t, in another.

Now, again, you don’t have to believe that. You can be an atheist and say I don’t believe in God anyway. You can be a Methodist and say that we are not bound by certain Old Testament passages and I believe Jesus wants gay couples to be happy, faithful, committed, loyal, honest, and to persevere in their marriage. Or, you can believe that no matter how good it makes you feel, two men or two women simply are not a marriage.

Its not beyond the pale. Its not ipso facto antithetical to Christian faith. I can comprehend it quite as well as I can comprehend who passionate pro-life people are given that they believe abortion at any stage of pregnancy is homicide — although I disagree with the premise.

we will definitely see atheists elected to office within our lifetimes

I’m sure its happened many times already. So what?

Nope. It’s a matter of self-defense. — RD

And you believe that… which only confirms my original point.

#15 Comment By Bobby On April 8, 2016 @ 9:48 pm

I entered the professional world in 2001, working for a Fortune 250 company in Ohio. It was a typical white-collar workplace, which probably leaned in a center-right direction.

Even so, my colleagues at that time generally supported civil SSM. In 2004, when Ohio was voting on a constitutional amendment banning SSM, one guy got fired for driving a car onto company property bearing an anti-SSM bumper sticker. For educated white-collar folks outside of the Bible Belt, the tipping point on SSM probably occurred sometime around 1998.

#16 Comment By WAB On April 8, 2016 @ 9:53 pm

[NFR: Oh for heaven’s sake, you can’t possibly think that sweet reason has anything to do with this, do you? I think you probably do. This is about raw power. We are in “badges? we don’t need no steenkin’ badges” territory. — RD]

C’mon! You guys should have thought about three decades ago; when you had the power. There were plenty of moments when orthodox religious and evangelicals could have carved out some space for the gay community. When they would have been glad to take an extended hand. Instead what they got was Jerry Falwell and John Paul II. “Sweet reason” delayed is Reason denied. It’s not Merited Impossibility Rod, it’s “karma”.

#17 Comment By KevinS On April 8, 2016 @ 11:49 pm

“The Republican Party has given up on traditional marriage.” Huh? I call BS. What does this mean? That the Republican party wants to ban or undermine traditional marriage? Let us set this straight (no pun intended)…Not one traditional marriage has been ended or prevented by the legalization of SSM. Though you want to present your position as “defending traditional marriage,” it is actually about preventing SSM (though you have grudgingly accepted its reality).

#18 Comment By E. Potson On April 9, 2016 @ 12:44 am

Noah172: greedy, impatient leftists could not realize or accept that their pet cause was advancing, if only incrementally, across the country due to a liberalization of public opinion; they had to have total victory and total humiliation for the unenlightened NOW.

I know it’s somewhat impolitic to say, but other than the fact that it’s humiliating for the losers, what’s actually wrong with obtaining total victory NOW? If one believes that the losers in these culture wars are, in fact, causing harm to others should they be permitted to continue causing harm, albeit on a diminishing basis, merely because it would hurt their feelings if we forced them to stop the harm immediately? At the very best, that is an extremely selfish petition.

People who oppose SSM were not content to simply not enter into same-sex marriages for themselves. They wanted to make sure no one could enter into a SSM because they believed SSMs (and, before that, even Civil Unions) were harmful to the culture. So, they expeditiously passed laws, amended state constitutions and took all manner of other steps to outlaw SSM in order to prevent the harm they believed would ensue. Why wouldn’t those of us who are trying to prevent the harm we believe is caused by opponents of SSM and LGBT rights not do the same?

Moreover, if the struggle in a <culture war really is over how we shape the culture, then shouldn’t we be doing all that is legally permissible to make anathema not just the conduct we find harmful, but also the very mindset from which the harmful conduct arises? Is that the very intent of a culture war?

#19 Comment By Chris1 On April 9, 2016 @ 2:48 am

[NFR: But see, you’re wrong: it *is* about the nature of a marriage. — RD]

If only that were the case.

#20 Comment By KD On April 9, 2016 @ 6:33 am

Cruz is never going to get the nomination, there is no way he can lock up enough votes to win on the first ballot. He is a tool to prevent Trump from getting the nomination. He will never get enough delegates on the first vote to win, and they will ditch him in favor of Paul Ryan or Jeb! or one of the other hacks before the end of the Convention. Even if he gets the nomination through some miracle, the Establishment will stab him in the back and stump for HRC, even directly or indirectly.

He is a flawed candidate, whatever the DC Madam’s black book says, he has hired a bunch of representatives of “hate groups” according to the SPLC, and given all his rhetoric on women’s issues, gays, and the rest of it, what you have in Cruz is a ruthless and intelligent man who is not ideologically much different from Santorum, and not much more electable than Santorum.

I was wondering if we were going to see a VP Cruz, but he screwed that one up when he went after Melania.

#21 Comment By KD On April 9, 2016 @ 6:40 am

If social conservatives are ever going to succeed, it is not by marching lock-step with some kind of “Religious Right” strategy of the 1990’s, and by hoping and praying that if you elect GOP candidates for another 30 years, these folks on the Court are going to be any more likely to end liberal social engineering.

The problem is not political, it is cultural, and it can only be fought through the construction of an alternative cultural framework with alternative cultural institutions. The Benedict Option may be great, but I think a conservative movement completely disentangled from American partisan politics would also be great. It really is the party of stupid versus the party of evil.

#22 Comment By JonF On April 9, 2016 @ 8:38 am

Re: It’s a matter of self-defense.

And if one of these jackasses starts a war involving a nuclear exchange are you willing to accept a share of the guilt for the millions of deaths due to your desire for self-defense in a matter that would (I hope) seem laughably trivial against that scale?
It’s for this reason that I regard single-issue voting as profoundly immoral and foolish to boot.
As I have said before, given your beliefs and concerns, Rod, the proper course, morally, is not to vote at all, unless maybe there’s some minor party candidate who actually does conform to your ideals in the large.

#23 Comment By Rob G On April 9, 2016 @ 11:47 am

“They way to persuade your American brothers to embrace your cultural beliefs is through your actions, not your vote. This is how the gays did it too, btw. They only began to really win at the ballot box AFTER they began to win the public.”

Difference is, traditional religious people don’t have the media, the entertainment industry, academia, and corporate America on their side. It’s easy to “be heard” when you’ve been handed the world’s largest megaphone.

#24 Comment By Rusty On April 9, 2016 @ 11:58 am

We are in “badges? we don’t need no steenkin’ badges” territory.

I aver that for many gay people, it feels as though we are just now leaving said territory.

#25 Comment By Kyle On April 9, 2016 @ 12:02 pm

The GOP just keeps putting off today what it thinks it can do tomorrow. What I’ve learned from this election is a.) the establishment will not tolerate criticism of G.W. Bush regarding the Iraq War, or 9/11. b.) the establishment and pro-life movement has an unwritten rule that no woman in any circumstance who aborts her child no matter how far along in the pregnancy will ever face consequences; O.K. that’s fine if you want, but why don’t you repeat it over and over again, to help dispel the myth that the pro-life movement is anti-woman? Given that the pro-life movement is so concerned about it’s image that they shed tears over Trump’s talk with Matthews crying about how he’s hurting their precious movement, why don’t they tell us over and over again how soft they are on prosecuting any future anti-abortion laws? c.) the GOP loves delegate hunting and not finding and influencing actual voting citizens. d.) the GOP doesn’t like democracy any more than Democrats do, if the result doesn’t benefit them. e.) Head to head general election polls mean more to the establishment in March than they do in November. Just look at the delusional thinking that Romney had it in the bag in late October, 2012, when nearly every RCP poll average in key swing states showed Obama winning. f.) the GOP’s three main rules to live by are “no name calling”, “that’s not who we are”, and “no government shutdowns, no matter the cost, even if it means funding the harvesting of baby organs”. That’s your GOP in 2016.

#26 Comment By Turmarion On April 9, 2016 @ 2:11 pm

Rod: And yet, most of us will end up voting for these jackals anyway in November…

Siarlys: Do you have any idea how foolish, even clueless, that sounds to the hypothetical reasonable man relied upon by the judiciary?

I left out that phrase “because of the Supreme Court” out of Christian charity. It conveys not only foolishness, but a slimy manipulative attitude, compounded with futility.

NFR: Nope. It’s a matter of self-defense.

JonF.: And if one of these jackasses starts a war involving a nuclear exchange are you willing to accept a share of the guilt for the millions of deaths due to your desire for self-defense in a matter that would (I hope) seem laughably trivial against that scale? It’s for this reason that I regard single-issue voting as profoundly immoral and foolish to boot.

As I have said before, given your beliefs and concerns, Rod, the proper course, morally, is not to vote at all….

I think this lays it out. To be fair to Rod, IIRC he has cast protest write-in votes the last couple of cycles; but I don’t see how he can condone other socons voting GOP at all.

I mean, the assumption is that the GOP candidate might win; and that said candidate, if he wins, might appoint another Scalia (which further assumes that someone he thinks might be conservative actually turns out to be so–remember Earl Warrend and David Souter); and that said appointee might be confirmed; and that an appropriate case re abortion, SSM, etc. might come up during said justice’s tenure; and that said justice might sway the result in a way amendable to socons (remember, even Scalia was unable to do that in Obergefell).

A long list of “mights”; when if we look at observed reality, forty years of a majority-GOP-appointed SCOUTS have not yielded the results socons want, and the GOP has shown itself happy to trample socons while using them as useful idiots. All this while pursuing unending war, putting in place an Orwellian security state, destroying the middle class, outsourcing industry, etc. etc. etc. By what possible moral calculus does the single issue of gay marriage trump possible nuclear war, as JonF points out, to say nothing of the other factors I’ve just mentioned it.

I think the echo chamber and the paranoia is pushing a lot of socons–well, not into insanity, but into a really crazy set of priorities and a deep paranoia that is not supported by the actual evidence. It is truly astonishing to watch.

#27 Comment By Noah172 On April 9, 2016 @ 2:12 pm

People who oppose SSM… expeditiously passed laws, amended state constitutions

Like I said, democratic process. In more recent years, a few states had sanctioned homosexual marriage through the democratic process. Trads were not trying to get five insulated lawyers in Washington to forbid any state anywhere from redefining marriage: had Obergefell gone the other way, that would not have meant a nationwide ban on homosexual marriage, any more than Roe v. Wade going the other way in 1973 would have meant a nationwide ban on abortion.

#28 Comment By Patrick On April 9, 2016 @ 4:04 pm

@ JonF:

“And if one of these jackasses starts a war involving a nuclear exchange are you willing to accept a share of the guilt for the millions of deaths due to your desire for self-defense in a matter that would (I hope) seem laughably trivial against that scale?”

Well, there are currently one million abortions per year. But what is killing a child at eight months compared to forcing other people to pay for universal college?

Blood already on your hands by your logic, no far-fetched nuclear scenario needed.

@ E. Potson:

“I know it’s somewhat impolitic to say, but other than the fact that it’s humiliating for the losers, what’s actually wrong with obtaining total victory NOW?”

I think the idea is it will provoke a backlash like it did back then because you will go too far and the public will all of the sudden become conscious of the drift…I could imagine something like BLM making a Trump or Cruz Presidency plausible even though, absent something like that, the Democrats would have the advantage.

#29 Comment By Lee On April 9, 2016 @ 4:26 pm

From my own perspective I think its rediculous to attribute the definition of marriage to the auspices of the state. It’s simply a no win perspective for anybody…

Political parties should NOT have marriage platforms. Marriage is a matter between two individuals unique cultural spirituality and their gods or goddesses or even the Star Wars Force as they like.

The state should only manage the contracts of common law. Providing for a vatiety of living situations and desirable arrangements.

But then again my own spirituality requires I look within vs without in approaching life…I am also not subserviant to any greater power including the gods and goddesses. Not dependant on anything outside of myself to do or assert for me. Yes I know that is foreign to the Abrahamic mind morph excepting Judaism where their perspectives on religion and life are more similar to my own vs. Muslim or Christian.

But then again I gave up on the GOP or any political party long ago. Building ones local community and inner circles, gardens is where life is at. Its very powerful and life enriching…no one can break or shape those types of bonds.

But to look to the power of a political party or state to assert ones cosmetic social preferences in a society that is no longer based upon or serving European Christian majorities is at best an exercise in futility.

#30 Comment By VikingLS On April 9, 2016 @ 6:18 pm

JonF

There is a jackass that pushed us into a war in this election and she’s not a Republican.

#31 Comment By E. Potson On April 9, 2016 @ 8:43 pm

Noah172: Like I said, democratic process. In more recent years, a few states had sanctioned homosexual marriage through the democratic process. Trads were not trying to get five insulated lawyers in Washington to forbid any state anywhere from redefining marriage . . .

Are you referring to the same Trads who favor court decisions like Hobby Lobby and Citizens United that overturned legislation passed by democratically elected legislatures? Or the Trads who use the democratic process of the big state government to overturn local, democratically passed legislation that affected only the local municipality (see North Carolina)?

It’s naive, at best, if not outright disingenuous, to claim that action taken by one branch of the government is legitimate when it acts in ways that serve your interests and not legitimate when it acts in ways that are adverse to your interests. We live in a society with 3 co-equal branches of government, any one of which may legitimately act in ways that undermine the actions taken by any of the other two branches.

There’s very little headway to be made in a good-faith discussion by suggesting Trads are better than non-Trads because Trads use only the democratic process to get their way. We all already know such a claim is nonsense.

#32 Comment By E. Potson On April 9, 2016 @ 9:00 pm

Patrick: I think the idea is it will provoke a backlash like it did back then because you will go too far and the public will all of the sudden become conscious of the drift…I could imagine something like BLM making a Trump or Cruz Presidency plausible even though, absent something like that, the Democrats would have the advantage.

I know there’s been a lot of talk around these parts about BLM, SJWs, etc. creating a backlash that results in a Trump presidency, but that’s just a fantasy – kind of like the Quentin Tarantino movies Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained. There’s no actual evidence that there’s a reservoir of voters who are dislike Trump, but will vote for him because they dislike even more certain groups of other voters who also dislike Trump. This is just another complete misreading of society by the very same people who’ve managed to lose all the other culture war battles.

Leaving aside the political ramifications, I still maintain there’s nothing wrong in immediately stopping the harm these people cause, notwithstanding the humiliation they’ll suffer. The victims of that harm should not have to endure further harm merely so these people can save face.

#33 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 9, 2016 @ 9:28 pm

There is a jackass that pushed us into a war in this election and she’s not a Republican.

That’s one reason I voted for Bernie Sanders, right-wing social-democrat though he is. However, I think I would prefer to be pushed into a war by Hillary than by Donald. At least it would be a bit more coherent.

Political parties should NOT have marriage platforms. Marriage is a matter between two individuals unique cultural spirituality and their gods or goddesses or even the Star Wars Force as they like.

The state should only manage the contracts of common law. Providing for a vatiety of living situations and desirable arrangements.

That would be a very sensible solution.

“I know it’s somewhat impolitic to say, but other than the fact that it’s humiliating for the losers, what’s actually wrong with obtaining total victory NOW?”

Ask the victors of the battle for Prohibition. Ask the victors of the English Civil War. Ask the Stuarts. Ask the Federalist Party. Ask the nobility of France circa 1770. Ask the Jacobins circa 1818.

There were plenty of moments when orthodox religious and evangelicals could have carved out some space for the gay community.

Are you implying that until recently we lived under a theocratic government which made such decisions with impunity? “Orthodox religious and evangelicals” were only one among many voting constituencies, and by no coherent definition of either did all adherents vote the same way. They certainly did not have a party line adopted by a powerful central committee to which all subordinate cadre adhered.

#34 Comment By Dan On April 10, 2016 @ 2:50 am

The problem is by the nature of a culture war the culture has moved on.

We have some Trad Christians like Santorumn both trying to reverse Roe V Wade and Obergfell, but then impose federal bans or constitutional amendments but also talking on some occasions as if birth control should somehow be restricted.

Roe has been the law since 1973, in the forseeable future the point is coming where anyone with adult knowledge of the world before Roe is dead os such a small minority as to be irrelavant. There is clearly a loud minority who genuinley beleive life begins at conception and anything which interferes with that is murder, but in which case the view should be of course the “women should be punished”. The country does not agree and “leaders” of the pro-life movement know that. Some may be genuine in their beleifs some just want to carry on the losing fight to use the Trad Christians as a voting block or to make money from the very act of campaigning.

SSM acceptance in most of the country was happening in the 1990’s, the tipping point in the end came quickly but it happened and the country is not going back.

In democratic Politics the reality is Clinton is winning in November, but she is a relativly weak candidate and what can Bill do, and the possibility of 4 terms for the sme party, means 2020 is potentially different. Dems prob get the Senate back but no way get back to 60 seats. 2020 is important as a census in a high turnout Presidential year means reallocation of Congressional and State seats, the GOP did very well in a low turnout angry at Obama Tea-Party 2010. So well that if the 2012 elections were fought on the 2008 boundaries the House of Reps would have been Democratic 2012-now.

A viable GOP in 2020 could prevent a Democratic sweep for a generation, a second term Clinton with a Democratic House and Senate, and at at least one more change at Supreme Court by replacing an R with a D i.e. moving from 5:4 R:D to 3:6 R:D, will see a very different country.

#35 Comment By VikingLS On April 10, 2016 @ 8:59 am

“That’s one reason I voted for Bernie Sanders, right-wing social-democrat though he is. However, I think I would prefer to be pushed into a war by Hillary than by Donald. At least it would be a bit more coherent.”

Trump is despised by both parties, so at least he might face some pushback from congress. Clinton will face none from her own party (Democrats have not opposed Democrat led wars in decades) so it will come down to whether Republicans hate her more than they love war, always a delima for them.

#36 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 10, 2016 @ 2:04 pm

VikingLS, I cannot argue with your scenario for war, and I wouldn’t even try.

#37 Comment By E. Potson On April 10, 2016 @ 3:02 pm

Siarlys Jenkins: Ask the victors of the battle for Prohibition. Ask the victors of the English Civil War. Ask the Stuarts. Ask the Federalist Party. Ask the nobility of France circa 1770. Ask the Jacobins circa 1818.

Are you trying to make the argument that permitting gays to marry without delay or granting them immediate protection from discrimination in housing, commerce and the workplace will result in some really harsh blowback that, if clearly foreseen, would justify a delay in granting these rights to gays? If so, you should make the argument plainly instead throwing out vague references to historical events that are fraught with enough differing explanations and interpretations to be rather useless for this purpose.

#38 Comment By EliteCommInc. On April 10, 2016 @ 3:32 pm

“There were plenty of moments when orthodox religious and evangelicals could have carved out some space for the gay community . . .”

I have worked alongside people who chose this form of expression, and attended school with the same. In those days anon, I attended church regularly.

The default assumption that those who choose this form of expression lacked a space seems to be contradicted in almost every area of life. Inducing peculiar places of religion that thought the behavior was acceptable. I am unclear what it is you expected from people of faith.

#39 Comment By EliteCommInc. On April 10, 2016 @ 3:35 pm

“karma”

This is an odd turn. karma in relation to what I am unclear. If you embraced as something acceptable before God — that is not going to happen.

I am not sure you comprehend the eastern concept of karma.

#40 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 10, 2016 @ 9:06 pm

Are you trying to make the argument that permitting gays to marry without delay or granting them immediate protection from discrimination in housing, commerce and the workplace will result in some really harsh blowback that, if clearly foreseen, would justify a delay in granting these rights to gays?

No, Potson, I am not. I have a more subtle mind, and have read history more deeply than to offer such a pat little supercilious prescription as that. If you have an argument to make, you should make it plainly, rather than insinuating that I might or might not have banally implied something unstated, and then leaving your implication hanging like Martin Luther with a bad cold. (Do look up what Luther said it felt like when he had a bad cold).

Now, let’s look back briefly at the assertion I was replying too. Since I am not a Biblical literalist, I do value context:

“I know it’s somewhat impolitic to say, but other than the fact that it’s humiliating for the losers, what’s actually wrong with obtaining total victory NOW?”

I cited, in response, several examples of how history may well unfold in an unexpected manner, revealing that while at the apex of a temporary success, one felt that the whole world was fully converted to your previous cause, actually, there were huge reservoirs of people who clung to quite different perspectives and allegiances. If these are not somehow accommodated in the new order, they can become a continuing source of friction, no matter how thorough your efforts to liquidate them.

I do believe that the human race has made some progress over the long term in our history, but there is rather little evidence for a consistent “right side of history,” and certainly not in a matter of decades. The examples I gave are germane, but not because there was a “blowback,” which undid the gains of the previous regime (although in many instances, there was). What is germane is that the triumphalism of believing one has swept all before you can be a profound self-deception.

Generous concern for the humiliation of the losers is NOT the only reason to refrain from “total victory now.” One can, for example, “grant these rights to gays,” without “total victory now” and without “humiliation of the losers,” and generate a more enduring and positive foundation for sustaining whatever victory has been won.

You may have noted that I gave the examples of both Cromwell and the Stuarts. English history contains the victory of the roundheads over the Stuarts, the restoration of the Stuarts, and the Glorious Revolution that began the removal of the Stuarts, although the dynasty continued until the institution of Protestant Succession and the enthronement of the House of Hanover. None of these events totally undid the accomplishments of the previous eras, although they certainly generated some retrograde motion.

Now, to be a bit fantastical in my musings, suppose that after the overthrow of the French monarchy, Louis and Antoinette had been packed off to a chalet in the Massif Central, with a few trusted servants who begged to be allowed to remain with them? (There are always a few servants truly devoted to their old employers). Suppose the nobility had been offered similar deals, probably no more than a large cottage and a small pension where they could have kept a modest garden? After six months imprisonment at La Force, and facing certain execution if caught trying to escape, that could have looked quite good). Thus, the “emigrants” who fired the royalty of all Europe to invade the infant Republic might have remained irresolute for a time.)

Suppose the bloodthirsty search for “enemies of the Republic” had been moderated by a concern for evidence of certain guilt, of overt acts against the public safety? Thus, vacillating allies would have been placated, rather than alienated. Suppose a deal had been offered to the deluded peasants in the Vendee, that if they laid down their arms, they would be allowed to continue paying rent to their beloved feudal overlords until they noticed that all the other peasants in France had a much better standard of living?

Now, if I had the accumulated legitimate grievances of Madame Du Farge, I might well have been hot-headed and done intemperate things without realizing that I was endangering the revolution in the long run. A whole mob of people treated as disgracefully as the nobility of France had treated the lower orders might understandably do that. But frankly, the grievances of gays against the ancien regime are, relatively speaking, of no such magnitude.

The point is, whether blowback takes it all away from you or not, total victory is very expensive. I believe Obergefell should be overturned, because it was poorly reasoned, and was based on faulty premises. On the other hand, I expect that by the time it is, it will be so commonplace and accepted that the states issues marriage licenses to same sex couples that the practice will continue unabated. Things were moving that way anyway. And I don’t much care about that.

However, that acceptance will be smoother, and productive of much less high blood pressure for the holders of those marriage licenses, if we can put a stop to this silly nonsense of claiming anyone with a religious scruple is the moral equivalent of Simon Legree. I could go on and on, but I think the hypothetical “reasonable man” has gotten the point by now. Whether you have, you can answer for yourself.

#41 Comment By oakinhouston On April 11, 2016 @ 4:30 pm

Siarlys

” I believe Obergefell should be overturned, because it was poorly reasoned, and was based on faulty premises”

I think Siarlys knows this already, but for those that are putting their hopes in two Republican justices to overturn Obergefell

The way Supreme Court rulings are overturn (like Baker or Bowers vs. Hardwick) is: someone WITH STANDING makes a claim that a law or regulation, as written or as applied, is directly against the Constitution, and thus the constitutional rights of the person with standing have been violated.

To overturn Obergefell you need to:

– Show a particularized injury that is affecting you and file a claim
– Have the courts rule against you
– Argue -convincingly- that, with respect to your particular case, the reason why previous rulings up the judicial chain have been against you is because Obergefell specifically mandates that result

For all its highfalutin language, the only result that Obergefell mandates is that no state can deny a gay couple a marriage license, and whatever privileges and obligations that the status of marriage carries in that state, so I really cannot conceive of any damage that a social conservative can claim that is directly traceable to Obergefell, the way that gay people could claim that Bowers or Baker directly harmed them by allowing anti sodomy laws or the denial of SSM. Therefore, for starters, it will be difficult for a particular to claim standing

Alabama sort of tried to argue (they never really did) that Obergefell was trampling with the state constitution. Thus if can be imagined that a state could create a case for standing.

However, I really doubt that the SC will accept an argument that a state constitution can block rights that the US Constitution grants to the people. That would be a reversal not only of Obergefell but of most of the last 100 years of jurisprudence.

The argument cannot be that a state can revoke the rights of the people to enter into a SSM. That right has been recognized as protected by the US Constitution. The only reasonable argument Alabama or another state can make is that with respect to due process, the US Constitution is not supreme. Once you agree with that, you are opening the doors to all kinds of things, including a reversal of Brown.

What won’t ever happen is that, on their own, five conservative justices will decide to write an opinion without a case, saying they now believe Obergefell was wrongly decided, Ooops!

#42 Comment By Daniel On April 11, 2016 @ 7:41 pm

Drat! How did I miss this conference? We live only a few hours away. Was it recorded?

#43 Comment By E. Potson On April 11, 2016 @ 11:03 pm

Me: Are you trying to make the argument that permitting gays to marry without delay or granting them immediate protection from discrimination in housing, commerce and the workplace will result in some really harsh blowback that, if clearly foreseen, would justify a delay in granting these rights to gays?

Siarlys Jenkins: No, Potson, I am not.

Siarlys Jenkins, 714 words later and seemingly unaware of the contradiction: The point is, whether blowback takes it all away from you or not, total victory is very expensive.

If you believe immediately granting SSM and anti-discrimination protections in the workplace, housing and commerce will be “very expensive” victories, then you should describe what the associated expenses are and the rest of us can argue whether we think immediate victory is too expensive. You haven’t, however, described them – at all. Instead, you spilled a lot of pixels on Cromwell, the Stuarts, Louis, Antoinette and Madame Du Farge, every single one of whom is completely irrelevant to the present issue.

However, [acceptance of SSM] will be smoother, and productive of much less high blood pressure for the holders of those marriage licenses, if we can put a stop to this silly nonsense of claiming anyone with a religious scruple is the moral equivalent of Simon Legree.

LGBTs aren’t demanding social “acceptance” or agreement They’re demanding legal rights, and they want those rights irrespective of what other people think about LGBTs. Would it be better if opponents of these rights acquiesced and did so with cheer in their hearts? Sure, but until that time comes, LGBTs would still like to marry the persons they love and not live in fear of losing their jobs and homes or being refused service on account of being LGBT.

Moreover, no one in this discussion, nor in any of the mainstream LGBT rights groups has accused religious opponents of being Simon Legree, but you probably already knew that. What people have argued is that the basis for granting gay rights is sufficiently similar to the basis for granting civil rights to blacks, and the legal framework for analyzing whether gays should be granted these rights is the same legal framework that was used to decide whether civil rights should be granted to blacks. You may personally disagree with those arguments, but a majority of people do agree with them.

So, if the legal framework and the arguments both in favor (and against) LGBT rights are the same or substantially similar to the legal framework and the arguments in favor (and against) civil rights for blacks, how can opponents of LGBT rights possibly avoid eventually becoming the modern day equivalent of segregationists in the eyes of most people – especially after these opponents pass the kind of “religious liberty” laws that were just passed in Mississippi and North Carolina? It. Can’t. Happen. And pretty much anyone looking at this issue dispassionately will recognize that it can’t happen.

Lastly, I would think concern for LGBTs’ blood pressure would go hand-in-hand with ensuring they are free from discrimination, but maybe that’s just me.

#44 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 12, 2016 @ 1:55 pm

oakinhouston… I am indeed aware of the points you make about how a ruling of the Supreme Court might be overturned. Anyone seriously interested in overturning Obergefell should closely study how Lambda Legal and other interested advocates got from Bowers v. Hardwick to Lawrence v. Texas. It will take the same patience, persistence, the same calm determination and perseverence. These things are NOT accomplished by nit-picking every nominee to the Supreme Court, and it can easily take 20-30 years.

Standing would be an interesting question. However, IF a state asserts that there is NO federally protected right, then the fact that the court had ruled there IS does not, ipso facto, foreclose a reconsideration of that ruling, merely because there is a ruling currently on the books. Reconsideration, as the lawyers say, is a high hurdle, but not an impossible feat.

I think it is more likely that Obergefell will be reconsidered when some plaintiff makes a claim applying the high-blown rhetoric and overheated logic of the decision, to a different set of facts, and the court is confronted with the ghastly possibilities of its own precedent. It won’t be a case about same sex marriage. By the time it happens, the states may be so used to same sex marriage that they leave it alone. OR, by that time, the premises on which so many have blithely assumed that there’s no harm in it may have proven delusional, and there may be overwhelming demand to end the experiment.

To take a deliberately melodramatic example, suppose there is a case where a biologically full brother and sister want to marry, because they are deeply in love, and two lower courts so order. Their briefs will be full of citations to Obergefell. When it reaches the Supreme Court, the justices will realize the absurdity of the logic by which Obergefell was decided, over-rule the decision, offer a more sensible delineation of the meaning of “equal protection of the laws,” disavow Justice Kennedy’s ethereal choice of language, and perhaps that will even set the stage to reconsider Citizens United.

In reality, things will take a more unpredictable and less dramatic course, but nonetheless, something like that could happen.

If you believe immediately granting SSM and anti-discrimination protections in the workplace, housing and commerce will be “very expensive” victories, then you should describe what the associated expenses are…

My dear Potson, you must have counted 714 words without reading them, to get to the phrase you wanted, and then missed that it doesn’t even sustain your case.

LGBTs aren’t demanding social “acceptance” or agreement They’re demanding legal rights, and they want those rights irrespective of what other people think about LGBTs.

Utterly delusional. IF all the LGBTQWERTY crowd wanted was legal rights, we would not have essays in TIME magazine asserting ‘I’m not truly equal so long as the Catholic Church can refuse to host my wedding.’ We would not have florists and photographers getting sued by petulant whiners who can’t stand the thought that someone, somewhere in the world, has theological scruples about the teleological validity of their civilly legal union. We wouldn’t have NY Times columnists demanding that churches be compelled to change their dogma.

Moreover, no one in this discussion, nor in any of the mainstream LGBT rights groups has accused religious opponents of being Simon Legree, but you probably already knew that.

My dear sir, have you missed out on ALL the fallacious analogies to the civil rights movement, the abolitionist movement, all the cries about the next front on the right side of history? I admit, I may be confusing the LGBTQWERTY with the pro-life movement in a few rhetorical details, since both wrap themselves in the same undeserved mantles, but have you totally missed out on the heated rhetoric bandied in all the media?

And your next paragraph utterly contradicts your own denials, by making precisely the assertion you deny has ever been made!!!

Ultimately, lowering blood pressure requires that we walk away from the argument, with each getting something they can live with, albeit less than all they wanted.

#45 Comment By Limone66 On April 12, 2016 @ 4:25 pm

Sorry, but I just can’t spare any energy to worry about Gay Marriage, anymore.

First…Heterosexuals have made an absolute mockery of marriage. Divorce rates among heterosexuals approach 50%; among deeply religious Christians, it’s STILL as high as 33% (Southern Baptists). And if you’re a Christian, then divorce is EVERY BIT a sin as homosexuality…

…so get your house in order, first.

Second…I’m deeply amused by bakers, etc, who won’t make a cake for a gay couple based on their religious beliefs, but likely have NO QUALMS making it for people on their second, third, or whatever marriages. AGAIN…to a Christian, divorce is a sin, and only allowed in cases of adultery. And IF adultery is the cause, ONLY the wronged party is permitted to remarry.

So…do the bakers inquire as to whether or not the couples who come into their shops are divorced???

Third… in all honesty, the Libertarian in me says “Who cares?!?! It’s NONE of my business.”

#46 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 12, 2016 @ 9:24 pm

I’m deeply amused by bakers, etc, who won’t make a cake for a gay couple based on their religious beliefs, but likely have NO QUALMS making it for people on their second, third, or whatever marriages.

How do you know “they” have “no qualms”? Maybe some do, maybe all do. However, nobody making plans for their second marriage has ever sued over it. I also note that not all Christians reject divorce, and that bakers do not generally inquire, they refuse when the order placed makes it obvious.

But, as a political libertarian, I consider restraining the state from compelling the baker, photographer, or florist to engage in compelled speech trumps any broader right to nondiscrimination in commerce. It is a well known legal maxim that if the application of two laws conflicts, the more specific of the two laws at issue rules. As an economic socialist, I don’t give half a fig if the happy same-sex couple gets their flowers from Bill and Jane’s Flower Shop or from Happy Hippo Gardens.

#47 Comment By Eamus Catuli On April 13, 2016 @ 1:07 am

How do you know “they” have “no qualms”? Maybe some do, maybe all do.

Perhaps, but there was no movement to try to get carve-outs written into law for bakers and florists who object to divorce. That movement arose only in response to gay marriage, for some reason. This, I believe, is what raises suspicions about the true animus.

That said, I agree that a cake decoration or a floral arrangement specific to a certain event can reasonably be called “speech,” and that the state should be restrained from compelling speech. It would be nice if the state legislators whose handiwork we’ve been admiring here would stick to that issue.

#48 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On April 13, 2016 @ 1:03 pm

Perhaps, but there was no movement to try to get carve-outs written into law for bakers and florists who object to divorce.

Perhaps you missed my observation, “However, nobody making plans for their second marriage has ever sued over it.” Seldom does anyone devote time and effort to demanding protection from a threat that has never been made.

It would be nice if the state legislators whose handiwork we’ve been admiring here would stick to that issue. (Compelled speech).

On this I entirely agree. While I have a great deal of contempt for the knee-jerk reactions roundly denouncing these states for manifest bigotry, I have even more contempt for state legislatures that produce such incoherent legislation. North Carolina, in particular, tagged on vicious anti-labor measures, a true kitchen sink. Mississippi could have been more more limited and circumspect in its scope and choice of language.

Thus, I can say a pox on both your houses, except, we really NEED some clarity that neither is providing.

#49 Comment By Hugh Guillaume On April 16, 2016 @ 10:13 am

Voting for the lesser of two evils gains you, the voter, absolutely nothing because you are voting for evil. One should support only a candidate for public office at any level who clearly understands and supports the basic rights of humankind – life, liberty and property. Today, in 2016, none of the final four candidates for POTUS are qualified if held to this standard. Voting for any of them or for whomever becomes the Republican candidate is voting for pure evil. Don’t do it!