Thursday, May 15, 2014

Carson Holloway condemns premature evacuation on behalf of the Church

Carson Holloway
Carson Holloway
Through its blog, Witherspoon Institute (which is run by an Opus Dei numerary) provides an outlet for Catholic extremism. Today it is Carson Holloway's turn to vent. Holloway, an associate professor of political science at University of Nebraska was a William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life at Princeton University's James Madison Program in 2005. That, of course, is Robby George's program at Princeton. George is also the co-founder of both Witherspoon and National Organization for Marriage. There is something incestuous about all of this.

Holloway's piece on the blog is titled “Premature Talk of Surrender on Same-Sex Marriage.” Holloway seems to believe that marriage discrimination is an issue of principle and mandates that the GOP continue to advance the agenda of the Church. He also attempts to bundle it with reproductive choice.

Conservatives must defend marriage for both principled and practical reasons. The Republican Party cannot surrender the cause of marriage without also surrendering the cause of life.
According to Holloway:
Recent suggestions of surrender are noteworthy because they go beyond the now-familiar claims from the left about the “inevitability” of nationally approved same-sex marriage, claims that were always intended as a substitute for actual argument about the proper understanding of marriage. Now, even some voices on the right are speaking of American conservatism’s coming defeat and surrender on the question of marriage.
He is not off to a good beginning. At some point (probably after winning at the polls in 2012) gays and their advocates felt that they achieved critical mass on marriage equality. Many of us came to believe that national marriage equality was inevitable. However, we achieved victories after Proposition 8 by making sound arguments. We made people aware of the fact that we were trying to make lives better for our children and ourselves through the legal protections and social recognition afforded by marriage equality. Inevitability has never been a substitute for anything. Indeed, National Organization for Marriage began fighting against inevitability before most of us came to that conclusion or even uttered it. They did so because nothing will dry up donations faster than the sense of futility.

As for the issue of principle:
As a matter of principle, the American right cannot, because of its character and mission, stop making the case for a normative conception of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Most obviously, to cooperate in treating this historic understanding of marriage as merely optional would be to cooperate in fostering social conditions that are harmful to children.
Huh? “Most obviously?” If gay couples can wed that has an adverse effect on the children of so-called traditional marriages simply because gay couples can wed? Seriously? Hollow continues, quite verbosely, thereafter but, well, it doesn't get any better.
Finally [not by a long shot], any authentic American conservatism must be concerned with preserving the essentials of American constitutionalism and the rule of law. As a practical matter, however, the victory of same-sex marriage must be a defeat for the Constitution and the rule of law.
Holloway misunderstands conservatism. He is referring to religious conservatism. The idea that same-sex marriage recognition is a defeat for the Constitution and the rule of law is patently absurd. It is a preposterous and arrogant notion of Holloway's presumptive monopoly on wisdom. Since the Court's ruling in United States v Windsor, numerous federal judges (every judge hearing a case) have concluded that it is marriage discrimination that insults the Constitution and the rule of law. The rule of law requires both due process and equal protection which are the grounds on which the courts have systematically reversed same-sex marriage bans. Holloway then tells us that the judicial interpretation of the 14th Amendment is all wrong. I'll spare you the demagoguery. While I would agree that the intent of the 14th Amendment was different, its application has nothing to do with original intent. There is nothing in the amendment limiting its application.

As for what Holloway calls “The Practical Political Angle:”
Political conservatism—and its political instrument, the Republican Party—cannot afford to abandon the cause of marriage. This inability is rooted in the same-sex marriage battle’s inextricable connection to issues that are necessary to any realistically conceivable winning Republican coalition.
What these guys never seem to get is that it's not just the 5% of the citizenry who are gay. Rather, it's the 40% to 50% of the population that have close gay family members. When the GOP offends these folks with as the American Taliban, these people stay home on election day. More importantly, Republican candidates need soft money from folks like the Koch brothers. They and their lead counsel (Ted Olson) support marriage equality as does most of American business. Holloway needs to take a look at HRC's corporate equality index. Even an organization like Walmart provides full benefit parity for same-sex partners.

Business supports the GOP for economic — not social reasons. Holloway goes on to explain that a Republican President would nominate judges who oppose marriage equality. Even if true that would be 2017. The Court is likely to rule on a case next year. Furthermore, it depends upon which judges are being replaced by which President. Obama will be in office for another 2½ years. Then they need to figure out how to get a GOPer elected in the first place. Ms. Clinton is looking pretty powerful these days.

Holloway continues with “The Abortion Connection. At its core it is this:”
… any Republican president who makes and keeps a pledge to nominate constitutionalist (and, implicitly, anti-Roe) justices, will inevitably be hacking away at the foundations of both the right to same-sex marriage and the right to abortion. As a practical matter, it is impossible to imagine a constitutionalist jurist who is willing to revisit and overturn Roe—a forty-one-year-old ruling that was approved by a seven-person majority—yet who will treat as untouchable a ruling in favor of a right to same-sex marriage—which will be brand-new, based on a novel theory of the Fourteenth Amendment, and will have passed by a five to four vote.
The highlighted portion is the most intellectually honest part of this entire polemic. I would ask the same question of same-sex marriage. I cannot find an example of the Supreme Court ever taking away rights that a prior session granted. It is just wishful thinking and it's conditioned upon the right Republican getting elected and getting the right judges confirmed by the Senate and then the Court choosing to hear a case that would cause the justices to challenge settled law.

Meanwhile, there are legal challenges in 31 of the 33 states that do not recognize same-sex marriage. We will continue to win most, if not all, of these in state and federal courts. Would the Supremes overturn this many decisions that also have the overwhelming support of the general public? I doubt it.
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