Monday, August 15, 2016

Schubert at Witherspoon: GOPers are not "moving on" from marriage

Schubert was in his glory - eight years ago
Frank Schubert, Political Director of National Organization for Marriage and Defender of the Faith©, asserts that Republicans who try to move on from marriage will be held accountable by voters. This stems from wishful thinking that the Supreme Court did not resolve this issue on June 26, 2015. Schubert's problem is very simple; The Catholic Church does not approve of either gay people or their marriages. Well, that settles it, right?

Some economic realities are also likely to have stimulated Schubert's displeasure. Schubert prospectively lost tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars with the demise of Missouri's SJR 39 because the matter would have been on the ballot. It is likely that he would have been the campaign manager. Aside from fees his company, Mission Public Affairs, would have purchased all of the media taking 15%+ off the top.

At Witherspoon Institute's pseudo intellectual blog, Schubert writes:
Anne Zerr is the latest example. A state house member in Missouri, Zerr was one of three Republicans who refused to support SJR 39, a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would protect supporters of marriage from being punished by government for refusing to be part of same-sex “marriage.” SJR 39 is essentially the Missouri version of the First Amendment Defense Act pending in Congress. Grassroots activists had pushed the measure through the state senate to protect the bakers, florists, photographers, innkeepers, and others who have been targeted in other states with lawsuits, fines, and financial and reputational ruin from facing a similar fate in Missouri. SJR 39 would have let voters decide the issue. But when LGBT activists and their allies in corporate America expressed their opposition, Zerr caved and helped kill the proposal.
Oh the poor dear Christians who have to serve gay couples in their public accommodations. How dare we throw money at their businesses. Schubert is correct in that this was a state's version of FADA which means that it would have been unconstitutional per se. To claim that FADA is “pending in congress” is a bit of a stretch. It is dead and unlikely to be reanimated.

As for “bakers, florists, photographers, innkeepers” it seems to be the same couple of bakers and the same florist and the same photographer and the same couple of innkeepers that are topical for having run afoul of nondiscrimination ordinances over the last eight years or so. Schubert doesn't care. His interest is the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Unfortunately for Anne Zerr, she then faced voters in a Republican primary race for an open state Senate seat. Social conservatives saw an opportunity to send a message to the echo chamber by opposing her. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) funded mailers and phone calls targeting Zerr for her refusal to allow voters to protect supporters of marriage. And ordinary voters responded. NOM endorsed her main opponent, conservative businessman and devout Catholic Bill Eigel, who supported SJR 39. On August 2nd, Eigel defeated Zerr in the Republican primary.
NOM spent about about $6,500. The Club for Growth spent $150,000 on her competitor. I hope, by the way, that Schubert is somewhat correct. My theory is that if Republican extremists prevail in primaries this will create more opportunities for Democrats. But I digress. Or maybe I do not:
This phenomenon is not limited to state legislative races. In 2014, two prominent gay Republicans were recruited by GOP leaders in Washington to run for congressional seats in California (Carl DeMaio) and Massachusetts (Richard Tisei). Both made support for gay “marriage” a prominent feature in their election campaigns. As a result, social conservatives opposed them both, some going so far as to endorse their Democratic opponents on the theory that the lesser of two evils was to have a bad Democrat serve for two years rather than a bad Republican serve for decades. DeMaio and Tisei each raised millions, but both were defeated.
Progressive Democrats who support LGBT rights won both of those races. I suspect that both will be reelected (things seem to be shaping up that way).
A similar thing has happened in races for the US Senate. In California, Republican Tom Campbell, a former state legislator and member of Congress, came out in support of redefining marriage. …
That was 2010. He lost his primary bid to Carly Fiorina who lost to Barbara Boxer by ten points.
This past cycle, Monica Wehby was the Republican nominee for US Senate in Oregon and promptly aired a TV commercial announcing her support for redefining marriage. Conservatives responded by openly opposing her, and Wehby was trounced. …
2014. She won her primary and lost in the general election to Jeff Merkley by nearly 20 points because of accusations of stalking and plagiarism. She refused to participate in the major debate in October.
… Tom Cotton in Arkansas and Thom Tillis in North Carolina both benefited from independent expenditure campaigns from groups like NOM in winning their elections.
Both races were in 2014.
It’s not only partisan candidates who have seen this effect. In Iowa, three sitting members of the state supreme court, including its chief justice, were removed from the bench by voters furious with their ruling imposing gay “marriage” in that state. An aggressive campaign opposing their judicial retention was mounted by social conservatives to alert voters to their judicial misdeeds.
2010 and after a flood of money from outside Iowa.
Finally, it is also important to note the importance that support for marriage played most recently in the GOP when grassroots Republican activists made their views clear in crafting the national Republican Party platform last month in Cleveland. …
Never fans of social issues to begin with, it’s a safe bet that the consulting class, corporate lobbyists, and wealthy donors will ignore the mountain of evidence all around them that rank and file Republican activists and voters revere marriage and will act to defend it. But Republican candidates should come to understand that succumbing to the pleadings of the elite echo chamber can come at a very high price: their very political careers.

A few things are missing.

First of all, other than the disapproval of the Catholic Church, Schubert makes no case for undoing Obergefell. Exactly why should we go backwards? What is it that has happened over the past 14 months that should cause us to change public policy? For that matter I dare Schubert to begin a sentence with: “In Massachusetts” and conclude it with evidence from Massachusetts to reverse marriage equality.

Secondly, exactly how does Schubert presume to reverse Obergefell? He does not say. Does he really believe that a constitutional amendment is a reality? If he is unable to come up with a tangible harm of same-sex marriage (neither in the abstract nor hypothetical) a new case challenging Obergefell is impossible because the plaintiff would lack Article III standing.

Finally, it seems pointless for politicians to oppose a settled issue lest they be forced to answer the same question of why and how. Similarly politicians are unlikely to run as proponents of marriage equality because doing so is pointless — the issue is settled. Schubert is living on his past successes like that idiotic Iowa campaign six years ago to unseat judges who maintained their dignity by not opposing the campaign. The last time this issue was on the ballot was 2012 and marriage equality won in campaigns in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

Eventually if Republicans do not move on regarding marriage equality they risk their careers. The country does not want to reverse marriage equality and then start the controversy all over again with ballot measures and new cases making their way to the Supreme Court. The polls suggest that about two-thirds of our citizenry support same-sex marriage. But it is irrelevant. The issue is settled.

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