Friday, February 13, 2015

Marriage equality seems to frustrate Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson

Writing a piece titled Substituted Morality at the conservative website Townhall.com, Erick Erickson is befuddled by all this equality stuff. It is safe to say that he does not agree with my precept — if you don't like gay marriage then don't enter into one. Erickson is an influential figure on the right. I cannot fathom why he would waste intellectual currency on an issue that presumably doesn't affect him.
The United States Supreme Court will, by June, plunge the nation back into the throws of culture war. At least five justices will substitute their values for those of democracy, further undermining the democratic underpinnings of our republic.
Assuming that he is correct – that the Supreme Court will strike down state bans on same-sex marriage – the fact that a small segment of our society will strongly disagree is irrelevant. At this point it is an undeniable truth that same-sex marriage affects only those thus wed along with family and friends of the betrothed. Is Erickson stressing over a gay family member's upcoming wedding? As for what underpins our republic, it is our Constitution and the rule of law transomed to American culture. Americans continue to strongly believe in  fair play. Allowing same-sex marriage is the fair thing to do. It also affords equal protection under law to gay couples and their children.
By June, the nation's top court will find that gay marriage is in the constitution. They will, more likely than not, go all the way instead of deciding the states can decide for themselves. In 1973, the Supreme Court again substituted the morality of five members of the court for the nation and legalized abortion. At the time, liberal publications assumed the issue would be settled, but it is a fight the nation is still having. Gay marriage will be no different.
I hope that Erickson is right about the direction of the Court. Yet here we are again with “another go at Roe.” This isn't about substituting either morality or judgment. This is about an analysis of constitutional rights. The Court has chosen a very narrow focus which is the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment. It is something that voters did not consider when they approved state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. When voters act as legislators they are subject to the same judicial scrutiny. Come on. Erickson knows all this.

To stir up a Roe v. Wade controversy one needs a perceived victim. National Organization for Marriage (along with the likes of ADF and Liberty Counsel — and now Mr. Erickson himself) have tried to fill this void with people who flout anti-discrimination ordinances and others with terrible judgment about what is appropriate in the workplace. Those folks are victims of their own stupidity — not gay marriage.

Were I a “Christian” baker or florist who did not want to service a gay wedding I would have the common sense to tell the couple that I am obligated under law to serve them – and will do so – but prefer not to for religious reasons. That should put an end to the matter. The reason that bakers and florists and whatever don't do that, in my opinion, is because they have been lured into becoming martyrs for the faith. They want the couple to file a complaint and they want the attendant notoriety. That's on them.
Currently, as gay marriage becomes more common, popular acceptance of it has declined. Given that the data shows less than seven percent of the nation is gay, the numbers will never be large enough for popular acceptance based on familiarity. Likewise, as people feel gay marriage has been imposed by fiat rather than democratic means, resentment will grow.
What right wing posterior did Erickson pull his data from? First of all, as gay marriage has become more common acceptance has only increased.  Secondly, almost everyone has a gay family member, friend or coworker. Finally, there doesn't seem to be any resentment over court imposed equality. In a 2012 poll, 62% of Massachusetts residents said they think marriage between same-sex couples should be legal and only 30% said it should be illegal. Where are all the protests in Massachusetts, Iowa, New York and so on? Even NOM doesn't seem to have meaningful opposition mass in any marriage equality state.
[ … ]
Contrary to the talking point that gay rights is akin to the struggle for civil rights, anyone who stands in a crowd can pick out the black person, the Asian person, the Hispanic person, the white person, the male and the female. That is not so with gay and straight unless someone of immodest behavior goes out of his or her way to show it. Likewise, no gay person has been held in captivity and forced to be a slave, seen a national civil war to liberate gays, and then systematically been denied his right to participate in democratic society. Equating gay rights with civil rights may sound good, but the two are not comparable.
That doesn't seem to really be a talking point except from people trying to claim that it is in order to create divisiveness between the gay and black communities. Furthermore, Erickson surely knows that civil rights are defined by equality. Gay rights are civil rights and you don't have to take my word for it. Numerous icons of the African-American struggle have said so including Congressman John Lewis (the last of the Big Six). Moreover, that is the official position of the NAACP. Who is the authority on this matter, Erickson or Ben Jealous?
What is most tragic is that gay rights activists now want to deny people of faith their right to free association. No mainstream Christian believes a Christian should be able to not provide goods and services to a gay person anymore than to a black person. But people of faith should be able to deny goods and services to a gay wedding, which they see as ordained by God and not the state. Gay rights activists refuse, however, to concede the point.
I won't concede the point and it certainly isn't tragic (oh you drama queen). I won't concede the point because I do not believe that selling flowers or baking cakes for a wedding is doing anything that is religiously prohibited. But hey, if you don't like anti-discrimination laws, the right has been quite capable of reversing them of late.  

Erickson goes on to describe the victims list; the Kleins (Sweet Cakes by Melissa), that New Mexico photographer and so on. That fact that these anti-discrimination laws do exist is not a reason to deprive anyone of marriage equality. It is in that context that Erickson is being intellectually dishonest.

In the end it is Erickson who would like to substitute his morality for those who are responsible for the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage. As I said, he is frustrated that he is failing to do so.

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