Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Prop8 fallout: Conservatives risk the wrong side of history

From Fox News (!) commentator Margaret Hoover:
As a conservative Republican representing the next generation of attitudes towards gays and lesbians, I encouraged the readers of last January to take a careful look at the arguments and evidence in the Prop 8 trial, Perry v. Schwarzenegger....The trial assembled a thorough record of evidence that Prop 8 unreasonably discriminates against gays and lesbians, relegating them to second-class citizenship....

Surprisingly, the defense’s two lone witnesses also offered compelling reasons [in] favor of marriage equality. ...The trial testimony ... demonstrates that the defense could muster no sound line of reasoning for the laws to discriminate against gays and lesbians....

Now, with a decision handed down that social conservatives despise, a judge whose sterling reputation as a conservative for twenty years on the federal bench is under attack....The irony of this case is that Judge Walker is not a liberal activist judge but one whose career has proven him to be a tempered judge, true to the Reagan-Bush conservative jurisprudence that he was nominated to represent on the bench.

Conservatives cannot deny that our Founders intended the judiciary as an equal and independent branch of government purposed to ensure the protection of every citizen’s rights. ...

The aforementioned arguments against Judge Walker’s Perry v. Schwarzenegger decision risk undermining legitimate conservative gripes about the judiciary and putting conservatism once again, on the wrong side of the latest chapter in American civil rights.
Read the whole thing. Some people get it.

Meanwhile, Russ Douthat and others try to balance their religious views, and Andrew Sullivan takes Douthat to task. Elsewhere, Sullivan writes,

There was and is something about these words - engaged, married, husband - even though they may contain a mountain of different experiences, that made us a family. I think conservatives should favor the unification and mutual love and support of families. And that means they must by definition favor the mutual love and support of the gay people in them.

This is not about creating something new. It is about making a home for people who have been here all the time for centuries. It is about making the human family whole.

And Glenn Greenwald:
Churches, synagogues and mosques are free -- as they should be -- to sanction only those marriages which their religious dogma recognizes. Parents are completely free to teach their children that certain marriages are superior and others immoral. And columnists like Douthat are free to argue that the relationships they want to have are not just best for themselves but are, as an objective matter, morally and theologically superior.

They just can't misuse secular law to institutionalize those views or coerce others who don't accept them into having their legal rights restricted based on them. But if they're as right as they claim they are, they shouldn't need to coerce others into acceptance through legal discrimination. Their arguments should prevail on their own. The fact that they believe they will lose the debate without that legal coercion speaks volumes about how confident they actually are in the rightness and persuasiveness of their views.

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