Sadly for all of us, the world failed to be utterly destroyed by either Sequestration Freaky Friday or any additional visits of world shattering comets. (At least on the first pass, that is.) So we may as well tempt fate and toss another stick of dynamite on the fire.
For a long time now, opposition to gay marriage has been one of the cornerstones of the conservative platform, libertarian circles aside. But with the sudden splash of cold water to the face that came with the last election, the drums in the deepest recesses of Moria have been growing louder. And some of the drumming is coming from Cato.
With the case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, now before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Cato Institute has joined the Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC) on an amicus brief that focuses on supporting marriage equality under the Equal Protection Clause. Our brief explains that the purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment was not exclusively to address the disparaged rights of former slaves but, as the historical record shows, was intended to be universal in its protection of “any person” within U.S. jurisdiction.
Bilbo’s old sword began to glow a bit more when George Scoville sat down at his keyboard.
Republican lawmakers stand athwart marriage equality at their peril
Craig Stowell always suspected his brother might be gay, and he made sure to let his brother know he would love him no matter what if his brother ever came out to the family. It was the right thing to do. But Stowell didn’t become involved in political fights for marriage equality until Republicans in the New Hampshire legislature introduced HB 437 in 2011 to repeal the Granite State’s 2010 law conferring the same state protections on same-sex marriages that traditional marriages enjoy. (The legislature had tried previously — and failed — to repeal New Hampshire’s 2006 law protecting civil unions between gay couples.) Gay marriage proponents defeated HB 437 in 2012.
“When I look at my brother,” the New Hampshire Republican politico and Iraq War veteran told me over the phone, “I can’t help but want him to have the same rights I have.” As support for marriage equality continues to grow across the country, Republican lawmakers should embrace the opportunity to become leaders on the issue.
Long time Hot Air favorite Liz Mair has weighed in as well.
There are plenty of bad reasons to support gay marriage running around today, depending on where your priorities settle out. Yes, I could point out the increasing demographic shift which shows that younger voters support the idea across party lines more than they oppose it. But if the only reason you have to support gay marriage is a fear of losing yet another election or five, that doesn’t come across as a very sincere, heartfelt position.
The “big tent” argument carries considerably more appeal, since there’s obviously nothing wrong with a party serving as a forum for diverse opinions to be vigorously debated. But again… when brought up as the only positive factor in favor of the idea, it still seems to carry with it a bit of hypocritical seasoning. Welcoming people you clearly oppose on one of their fundamental issues simply for the purpose of trying to talk them out of it is small “d” democratic in nature, but lacks a certain esprit de corps.
In the end, the only pitch I would make on this subject is the same one I’ve had for years. It’s not that I particularly give a hoot who gets married to whom, nor the spiritual implications of any given union. Those are matters for the individuals to wrestle to the ground between themselves and their higher power. No, in the end the only thing which moves the needle on this for me is the conviction that the government – pretty much at any level – has no license to be involved in the business of marriage. And yes, that includes the oft foisted compromise we hear of it being “a state level issue.” (This, in my opinion, is the last refuge of people who don’t want to oppose or support gay marriage openly for fear of electoral retribution, but want to hang on to credentials with the conservative base.)
If we don’t want the government expanding its reach into every aspect of our lives and restricting itself to its proper and necessary functions, leaving the private matters of the individual up to them, there seems to be little else to say. If Uncle Sam came to your door trying to tell you who you must marry, I’d be right there defending you against them. But they’re not in this case. And why is marriage locked into the tax code and so many other aspects of law to begin with, making it all the harder to extract? I can understand credits for raising the next generation of children – yes, even adopted ones – but why for a spouse? Why should I get some benefit on my taxes for having married my wife and sharing a house that two sisters who share a house to cut expenses can’t get?
It’s not an even deal for the citizens in the end. And if it turns out that accepting such a concept winds up stopping another drubbing at the polls, well that’s just a bonus. You may now commence breaking out the flamethrowers