Peter Leithart, with whom I just spent a wonderful three days in Canada, observes that the Republican Party has given up on traditional marriage, 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.