If Same Sex Marriage Is a Civil Rights Issue...
By Grant Dossetto
The passing of Amendment One in North Carolina, making the Tar Heel State the 32nd state in the country to enshrine in their constitution that marriage is between one man and one woman, created the predictable flurry of outrage among gay rights supporters. Shrill complaints of bigotry and homophobia with an added dose of backwardness filled up airwaves, internet forums, and Facebook statuses all intended to smear the 88% of states and over 90% of Americans who now live where same sex-marriage is illegal as the worst kind of bigot and homophobe. Many in the gay rights community cloak their cause in grandiose terms. It is not simply another front in the culture war, a values vote issue. To supporters, gay rights have taken on more importance. If a state will not allow two members of the same sex to marry, then it is committing a violation of those people's inalienable human rights. These supporters' actions indicate something entirely different. In fact, there is a good case to be made that if you view same-sex marriage as a human rights violation, the worst offender is the same-sex marriage supporter himself.
National polling outlets such as Pew and Gallup put support for same-sex marriage at around 50%. If the country were truly nationally split, then it would seem impossible for traditional marriage to have the support that is has enjoyed in this century. Traditional marriage is now 32 for 32 on state constitutional ballots, enacted in centrist or outright liberal states such as Maine and California in direct response to legislative statutes recognizing same-sex marriage, as well as plenty of traditional Democratic strongholds such as Minnesota and Michigan by overwhelming majorities. It passed in North Carolina, while garnering national attention, with over 60% of the vote. Traditional marriage support is truly a bipartisan platform which attracts people across race and income as well as political affiliation. Can this majority coalition truly be at its core nasty and bigoted? Conceding that point actually makes same-sex marriage supporters look worse.
There are many theories why same-sex marriage polls better than it performs at the ballot box. Some, such as Public Policy Polling tweeted on Tuesday, suggest a Bradley effect on the issue -- i.e., that the average voter will say to a pollster that he supports same-sex marriage to avoid being viewed as a bigot but vote differently at the polls. Another explanation appears more plausible, though, and that is that same-sex marriage is particularly popular among voting blocs who do not turn out to the polls in high numbers. Voting is not a difficult task though, and even cynicism or disbelief in the political structure in your local capital or Washington, D.C., the usual excuse for not voting, rings awfully hollow when you have a chance to right a great -- many say the great -- moral wrong of our age. How can one claim that an issue as a human right and then refuse to make any sacrifice to vote on the issue? Gay rights, according to its supporters, are more than a school board election or art museum millage. It is modern slavery, modern Jim Crow, and the response to that is indifference and apathy? That is bigotry.
A failure to vote is not the only anti-gay behavior that occurs among the same-sex marriage crowd. Whom the same-sex marriage supporter votes for also exposes a terrible homophobia. This week, Barack Obama came out for same-sex marriage. His support was in no way unconditional, though; he carefully parsed that he personally supports the practice but that states have the right to decide. How many other issues has Obama determined were purely states' rights issues? Not health care, or border enforcement, or abortion, or even coal plant emissions, to name but a few issues that should fall below an innate human right. As Bruce Carroll, the creator of gaypatriot.org, wrote this week, replacing same-sex marriage with slavery in Obama's quotation sounds like something President James Buchanan would've said circa 1860:
At a certain point, I've just concluded that - for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that - I support abolishing slavery. Now - I have to tell you that part of my hesitation on this has also been I didn't want to nationalize the issue. There's a tendency when I weigh in to think suddenly it becomes political and it becomes polarized.
And what you're seeing is, I think, states working through this issue -- in fits and starts, all across the country. Different communities are arriving at different conclusions, at different times. And I think that's a healthy process and a healthy debate. And I continue to believe that this is an issue that is gonna be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue, what's recognized as abolishing slavery.
Buchanan is widely regarded as the worst president in the history of the Union. Why does Obama get a pass from the gay rights equal human rights crowd?
In fact, Barack Obama is three years behind Dick Cheney in holding that position, yet there was no glee among the most ardent same-sex marriage supporters when the Republican said the same. Ted Olson, Bush's solicitor general, is actively representing the gay rights movement in a case going to the Supreme Court, but the two Republicans' positions and active contributions to the cause are ignored because of their political affiliation. Obama in 1996 in Chicago said he supported gay marriage when it remained a fringe issue. He then publically switched opinions to supporting traditional marriage before halfway reversing this past week. There is no evidence that his private opinion ever wavered, but for at least the last eight years he was publicly dishonest in supporting same-sex marriage. To support Obama for president this year can show only that you are unserious about same-sex marriage politically. That would make you a bigot, using liberal standards on the issue. And yet, there is no doubt that pro-same-sex marriage advocates will do just that.
The Democratic Party will receive the overwhelming majority of votes among same-sex marriage supporters who define the issue as a civil or human right, yet for two years it possessed filibuster-proof majorities in Congress and the executive branch and did nothing on same-sex marriage at the federal level. Is that not rank bigotry? Obama has modified his position only after he lost the votes to accomplish such a goal. He can now take one position comfortably, knowing that he will never have to sign into law a bill that holds him to it. We could not say that in 2009 or 2010, when he conveniently remained silent. The past twelve years of Democratic presidencies have produced only one piece of legislation in regard to same-sex marriage; the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). That legislation says that states that do not approve of same-sex marriage do not have to recognize marriages that occur in states which do. Imagine if you replace same-sex marriage with slavery, which is the far-left position on the issue. A Democratic president, Bill Clinton, signed into law the modern equivalent of the Fugitive Slave Act. This was never overturned by Barack Obama, and gay rights opponents have treated the legislation far less hostilely than the North reacted to the idea that they were forced to recognize that certain blacks were due fewer human rights because they hailed from slave states in the South.