On Saturday, a group of Religious Right activists at the Values Voter Summit were pitched on the possibility and necessity of a stronger union between social conservatives and libertarians, a discussion that was heavily tinged with the rhetoric of anti-Christian persecution that dominated the weekened.
In a panel titled “Moral Decline Causes Big Government,” the American Principles Project’s Maggie Gallagher (formerly of the National Organization for Marriage), the director of Rand Paul’s PAC, Doug Stafford, and conservative pollster Kellyanne Conway made their best case for libertarians to adopt social conservative causes — or, given the makeup of the crowd, for social conservatives to be open to an alliance with libertarian conservatives.
Gallagher brought up the Religious Right’s fears about the persecution of conservative Christians by the LGBT rights movement, warning that with the current Supreme Court she was “not optimistic” about preventing marriage equality from becoming law in all 50 states, and that if that happens, there will be “more cases where people are being oppressed…for their views on marriage.”
Libertarians, Gallagher said, should share the concern of social conservatives about gay rights advocates “using the government to impose this new, strange sexual orthodoxy” and their fears of “the horrible things the left is going to do.” She warned that the window for a stronger alliance was narrow, because if LGBT rights advocates succeed, “there’s not a way to build a winning conservative coalition.”
She also made an ideological case for libertarians to join social conservatives, arguing that “the decline of marriage” caused the growth of “pretty much every part of government, besides the defense budget, in America.”
“When the family falls apart, the government grows to step in,” she said.
Conway told the crowd that “values voters and libertarians have a great deal in common” from opposition to “big government” and abortion rights to being “sick of lawyers in black robes making stuff up” to a refusal to “redefine” family to be “whatever feels cool.” She also saw an opening to win over libertarians with the Religious Right’s increasing reliance on persecution rhetoric, or what she called the “assault on religious liberty in so many parts of our culture.”
Stafford echoed Conway, explaining that many libertarians oppose abortion rights and putting in a plug for the two groups to work together and with liberals to end the drug war.
Whatever the few libertarians in the room might have thought of the panel’s appeals, however, the bulk of the social conservative crowd seemed deeply skeptical of any attempt to woo libertarians. The biggest round of applause at the event came when a man came to the microphone, introduced himself as a pastor and proceeded to deliver a soliloquy against such “sins” as homosexuality. In an apparent jab at Sen. Paul’s position that marriage equality legislation should be left to the states, the pastor said, “Don’t let the states decide on marriage. God has already decided!”
As the panel ended, after little discussion of the morality of same-sex marriage, the woman next to me turned to me and shook her head. The panelists, she said, “didn’t listen to a thing that pastor said.”
In an interview with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios this morning, globe-trotting anti-gay activist Scott Lively insisted that he doesn’t hate LGBT people or “want them to be harmed in any way” or “put in jail.”
Instead, he said, “I want them to receive salvation in Jesus Christ, repent of their sins, and be able to enjoy the blessings of being able to live a heterosexual life and have a wife or a husband — depending on what their gender is — and the great blessings that come from doing things the God designed us to live. “
“It’s a hit list, and a hit list file, it’s like the 10 Most Wanted list,” he told Rios.
“This is nothing less than directions to the next Floyd Lee Corkins on who to assassinate and where to find them and inflammatory rhetoric to get them all wound up in order to feel motivated to be able to do it,” he said, referring to the mentally disturbed man who attempted a shooting at the Family Research Council. “It’s a hit list for assassination.”
“Every leftist organization in America knows they have people that follow their rhetoric who are willing to commit murder,” he added.
When Rios responded that she herself had had “vile” things said about her, Lively responded, “It’s demonic, it’s literally demonic. What you’re seeing is demonic expression through human agents that have given themselves over to the Devil.”
This past weekend, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown was scheduled to stop in France on his way back from Moscow to train activists with the French anti-gay group Manif Pour Tous. Manif Pour Tous is the most prominent organization working against LGBT rights in France, and has strong ties with American groups, as evidenced by its president Ludovine de la Rochere’s appearance at this year’s March for Marriage in Washington, D.C.
So what was the Manif Pour Tous event that Brown participated in like? A reporter from the French publication Le Nouvel Observateur went to the group’s “summer university,” where she was barred from individual workshops like Brown’s, but did sit in on the general sessions, where she captured the following astounding quote from de la Rochere:
Depuis l’adoption de la loi du mariage pour tous, il y a eu 721 requêtes d’adoption par des couples homosexuels. Donc il va y avoir 721 enfants orphelins de plus, au nom de la loi!
Which translates roughly to:
Since the adoption of the law of marriage for all, there were 721 requests for adoption by homosexual couples. So there will be 721 more orphaned children, in the name of the law!
Yes, according to de la Rochere, children raised by same-sex couples end up as orphans.
This kind of rhetoric is similar to what Brown has been pushing in his travels, warning Russian lawmakers last year that adoption by same-sex couples deprives children of their “right to have normal parents: a father and a mother.”
Georgia pastor and activist Jody Hice, who is now the GOP nominee to fill Rep. Paul Broun’s U.S. House seat, explained on an episode of his radio program posted today that LGBT people aren’t asking for equal rights because “gay people have the same rights as everybody else.”
“Let’s just suppose a gay person comes up to you and says something like, ‘Why shouldn’t I have the same rights as everybody else? Why can I not marry the person I love?’” Hice said.
“Well what rights are we talking about?” he asked, before implying that gay people can simply marry someone of the opposite sex: “Gay people have the same rights as everybody else. There are no rights that are missing. They have the same rights as anyone. We are Americans and we all have the same rights.”
“People have been loving one another as companions and so forth for a long, long time and they have been giving care to one another for a long, long time without calling every instance of love and mutual care, without calling that marriage. But now all of a sudden we have the demand to fundamentally redefine the world marriage,” he continued.
Later in the program he likened same-sex marriage bans to prohibitions against bigamy and incest, saying that when it comes to marriage, “homosexuals, gay people, have exactly the same right as heterosexuals have.”
“Homosexuals have the right to be married but what they are demanding, in reality, is that marriage be redefined to suit them,” he said.
“We already have marriage laws that prevent people from marrying the person they love,” he said, citing people who want to marry their siblings.
For the last two days, Mat Staver and Matt Barber have been discussing the Family Research Council's "Ten Arguments From Social Science Against Same-Sex Marriage" document on their daily "Faith and Freedom" radio show. On today's broadcast, the two cited reason number six - "Same-sex 'marriage' would undercut the norm of sexual fidelity within marriage" - to argue that legalizing gay marriage would somehow result in straight couples becoming less faithful.
Citing quotes from gay writers like Andrew Sullivan and Dan Savage, Barber and Staver argued that gay male couples are more likely to have open relationships, which they then used to bizarrely assert that letting gays get married would ultimately undermine the practice of monogamy within straight marriages.
"You start doing that in a marriage relationship with a man and a woman," Staver said, "and the woman's just not going to do it."
"We know that women serve to domesticate men," Barber added. "That's not an opinion, that's the social science that shows that women ultimately bring men into their role as father, as provider, and protector for the household and they domesticate men and that lends itself toward monogamy."
There are plenty of straight couples, of course, who engage in open relationships, so what any of this has to do with gay marriage is anybody's guess.
Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber is on high alert after a federal judge issued a final ruling striking down Utah’s ban on polygamous relationships, and joined Janet Mefferd yesterday to discuss the ruling, which he said was just the latest sign that support for same-sex marriage took a “sledgehammer” to our society and will send it all “tumbling down.”
Barber lamented that Americans are too busy to do the careful analysis that would lead them to agree with him and instead are buying into the gay rights movement’s “propaganda.”
“Unfortunately, much of America right now is — you know, we’re all busy, people don’t have time to actually engage the process of analysis on these things and look that A leads to B that leads to C, and take it all the way down to Z, which is disastrous — they don’t have time for that, and people buy into the propaganda,” he said.
“I just hope that people will recognize that when we deviate and try to redefine something that cannot be redefined — particularly when that thing, we’re talking about marriage here, is a fundamental cornerstone of any society — if we take a sledgehammer to that cornerstone, the results are disastrous and everything comes tumbling down.”
On her “Mission America” radio program yesterday, Linda Harvey weighed in on the National Organization for Marriage’s boycott of Target in response to the company’s filing of a court brief in support of marriage equality.
Harvey echoed NOM in taking particular issue with Target’s characterization of same-sex marriage bans as “bans” and “discrimination.”
“Have you noticed how this is how headlines often read these days?” Harvey said. “They talk about laws on natural marriage as being ‘bans’ on same-sex so-called marriage. And that’s incorrect because people who are male can still marry people who are female. The only obstacle for a few people is the presence of unnatural desires. Those desires can change with a different mind and heart.”
Later in the broadcast, Harvey read from a response she received from Target, in which the company expressed support for the “LGBT community.”
“So where’s the inclusivity for traditional values families? Target also thinks there’s an LGBT community, but what about a Christian morals community? Do they get the fact that most people have had it up to here with pushing deviance and perversion into everyone’s lives in America? That most Americans don’t accept the idea of two men or two women being married when they are obviously not?”
In a WorldNetDaily column today, Joseph Farah came up with a creative argument for exempting businesses that deny services to gay couples from nondiscrimination laws. Opposing same-sex marriage, Farah argues, is itself a “sexual orientation” and therefore a law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation is actually discriminatory against the sexual orientation of marriage equality opponents.
Let me pose a hypothetical intellectual challenge: The law that forms the basis for the action against the Giffords in New York is a provision that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Yet, isn’t that precisely what is happening to the Giffords? Are they not being coerced to accept and approve someone else’s sexual orientation? Are they not permitted to hold their own sexual orientation, one that acknowledges their God’s definition that marriage is a union of one man and one woman?
The Giffords are not campaigning to prevent other people from following their own conscience as to their sexual choices and activities. It’s just the opposite. They are being coerced by the state to take part in the sexual choices and activities of others.
Isn’t that obvious?
Farah finishes things up on more familiar ground, attempting to tie together the gay rights movement and Islamic radicals.
When “non-discrimination” becomes victimization of those with different religious and moral convictions, we literally have the establishment of a state religion and, effectively, the repeal of the First Amendment.
Who wants that?
It’s not Christians.
It’s not Jews.
Just look around and see for yourself.
Some people are trying to get the state to force those with different values, morals and religious idea to serve them in ways that violate their consciences.
I only see that kind of coercion demanded among two groups of people today – those who believe in the unlimited power of the state as their “god” and others who believe their god wants them to kill or subjugate all “infidels.”
Yesterday's marriage equality ruling from a federal district court in Florida, like so many before it, strikes down laws preventing same-sex couples from marrying. And like all the ones before it, this ruling isn't a theoretical treatise on the law, but a legal opinion affecting real people.
All of the people suing to vindicate the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution have a story to tell. All of them are important. The judge briefly describes them, such as this lesbian couple:
Arlene Goldberg married Carol Goldwasser in New York in 2011. Ms. Goldwasser died in March 2014. The couple had been together for 47 years. Ms. Goldwasser was the toll-facilities director for Lee County, Florida, for 17 years. Ms. Goldberg is retired but works part time at a major retailer. The couple had been living with and taking care of Ms. Goldwasser's elderly parents, but now Ms. Goldberg cares for them alone. Social-security benefits are Ms. Goldberg's primary income. Florida's refusal to recognize the marriage has precluded Ms. Goldberg from obtaining social-security survivor benefits. Ms. Goldberg says that for that reason only, she will have to sell her house, and Ms. Goldwasser's parents are looking for another place to live.
Think about it: If the grieving Arlene Goldberg loses her house just because she couldn't get married, that is what victory for the Religious Right looks like.
Recall that the Religious Right has not only spent the past thirty or forty years fighting to prevent gays and lesbians from marrying. They have also fought tooth and nail against every advance in civil rights that has come during that time, affecting employment discrimination, child custody, healthcare decisionmaking ... you name it. Victory for them has meant forcibly separating parents from their children, firing gay teachers, making grieving mourners lose their homes, and much, much more.
Fortunately, most Americans don't side with the Religious Right. More and more Americans are recognizing that whatever negative assumptions they may have once had about lesbians and gays were simply not true. And they're realizing that discriminatory policies cause real harm to real people and should be changed. Most Americans don't like the idea of gratuitously hurting completely innocent people.
As for the Religious Right, hurting innocent people isn't just an infrequent or accidental byproduct of the movement's policies. They have been dedicated for decades to denying LGBT people as many legal rights as possible. The harms caused by the absence of those rights is what victory looks like for them.
Finally, some good news: today a federal judge in Florida struck down the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples.
U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, nominated by President Clinton in the 1990s, ruled the 2008 ban unconstitutional on equal protection and due process grounds and predicted that future generations will look back with shock at the views of those who supported the ban:
'When observers look back 50 years from now, the arguments supporting Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage, though just as sincerely held, will again seem an obvious pretext for discrimination,' Hinkle wrote. 'Observers who are not now of age will wonder just how those views could have been held.'
While the decision has been stayed — meaning that couples cannot immediately begin getting married — it is a significant step forward for equality. Congratulations, Florida!
Robert George, the reigning intellectual godfather of the Religious Right, complains in an interview with the Christian Post today that judges who recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry are not only ignoring the Constitution, they are ignoring his own brilliant arguments.
George, co-author of the Manhattan Declaration and co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage, published a law review article and book, “What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense” with Sherif Gergis and the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson. George is quite proud that Justice Samuel Alito cited their arguments in his dissent to the Supreme Court decision overturning part of the Defense of Marriage Act. But he cannot accept that any judge with a commitment to the Constitution could possibly disagree with him.
George broadly renounces all judges who have ruled in favor of marriage equality as engaging in a “pure ideological power play.” He acknowledges that marriage equality rulings have come from judges nominated by both Republicans and Democrats, but portrays them all as “liberal judges who don’t like traditional morality and the traditional understanding of marriage and want to overturn it.”
“So they’re abusing their offices, they’re usurping the authority of the elected representatives of the people, and sometimes the people themselves acting through referendums and initiative, to impose their own vision, their own preferences, their own political policy preferences on the American people. It’s not right and it’s unconstitutional.”
George is incensed that judges are applying the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to same-sex couples, because he says the authors of that mid-19th Century amendment were not thinking about marriage equality.
“It’s just an offense against constitutionalism, against the rule of law, against the idea that the people rule themselves in a republican form of government, to seize on a provision like the Equal Protection Clause and to overturn the laws of marriage.”
But most of all, George cannot seem to accept that an ideologically diverse set of judges, in dozens of opinions, could have considered and rejected his arguments.
“It seems to me that the courts, if they’re going to strike down the marriage laws in the name of the 14th amendment, do have an obligation to at least engage the argument that we presented, but so far they haven’t. And I know the reason why they haven’t. The reason why they haven’t… is that they don’t have an answer for the argument.”
That is ridiculous. But don’t take my word for it. I ran Robert George’s claims by Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and a major player in marriage equality advocacy. Here’s what he said:
Judges across the country have considered the arguments put forward by Professor George and others—that marriage is essentially tied to heterosexual procreation and to the alleged “sexual complementarity” of men and women—and have overwhelmingly concluded that they are not persuasive. In fact, most of those courts have held that such arguments are so tenuous and illogical that they fail even the lowest level of constitutional scrutiny.
In a speech to the Stanford Anscombe Society last month, anti-gay activist Robert Oscar Lopez explained that he would support marriage equality…if it didn’t come with protections for children raised by same-sex parents.
“I supported marriage for a long time,” Lopez said, “but the problem is that the people who have supported gay marriage have chosen to yoke gay marriage and gay parenting together.”
“That put me in the horrible situation where I have to oppose gay marriage, because it ultimately means that in order to protect the sexual relationship between two adults, you have to shatter the relationship between a child and either his father or his mother,” he continued.
“A lot of the people who I might have disagreed with ten years ago, who kept on warning that gay marriage was a portal to new things, unfortunately those people were right and gay marriage became this tidal wave that then swept up children,” he said.
On a recent episode of Liberty Counsel’s “Faith and Freedom” radio program, Mat Staver argued that marriage equality can’t be a fundamental right because it’s not “deeply rooted in our history that you have to protect it,” and in fact “homosexuality has always been considered a crime against nature” and “something that’s been criminalized in our culture.”
A fundamental right in constitutional law has to either be specifically articulated in an enumeration of the Constitution — so a fundamental right would be freedom of speech, freedom of religion, so it’s part of the First Amendment, it’s actually absolutely articulated — and if it’s not articulated, the court has said it has to be deeply rooted in our history such that if you were to not protect it, it would literally unravel the concept of ordered liberty that is so essential to who we are and it is so deeply rooted in our history that you have to protect it. Parental rights can be something that falls within a category such as that.
Now, here, obviously, the issue is, did same-sex marriage become a fundamental right? And the answer clearly is no. If they really were honest, it’s no. And to the contrary, same-sex marriage or homosexuality has always been considered a crime against nature. Instead of protection deeply rooted, it’s been something that’s been criminalized in our culture, not just in America but around the world.
Later in the program Staver discussed the recent appeals court decision striking down Virginia’s marriage equality ban with Liberty University Law School’s Rena Lindevaldsen. Lindevaldsen argued that because the court acknowledged that people in same-sex relationships sometimes raise children from opposite-sex relationships that it undermined the argument that being gay is a fundamental characteristic. “Now they’re saying, by the way, we can have relationships with whoever we want to and we still get this right to marriage,” she lamented.
Last month, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced that he would no longer defend the state’s marriage equality ban because "there are really no arguments left to be made."
This did not sit well with Mark Creech, executive director of the North Carolina Action League. In a Christian Post column yesterday, Creech attacked Cooper for “wimpishly” capitulating to “tyranny” and yielding to the “despotism” of “judicial totalitarians.”
By refusing to resist with every legal means possible, Cooper capitulates to a form of tyranny in our day. He abandons his post on the field of battle, throws up the white flag, stands in the very place of the state (a state that voted by 61% for the marriage amendment) and wimpishly replies to the 4th Circuit that North Carolina accepts their judgment and surrenders. Furthermore, he calls on the judges who will preside over the cases currently challenging the state's marriage amendment to stand down and yield to the despotism of two judicial totalitarians.
Televangelist John Hagee dedicated his Sunday sermon this week to asking if America can “survive until 2017,” walking through a number of issues that he feared would impede the country’s survival. The chief among these, he said, are “counterfeit Christians” who are pro-choice or support LGBT rights.
“You people who are running around calling yourselves Christians supporting abortion, you are not!” he thundered.
“Our greatest problem in this nation is counterfeit Christianity,” he explained later in the sermon, telling gay-affirming pastors, “Those of you who got on national television and endorsed homosexual lifestyle because the president did so, you are a counterfeit Christian, you are a moral coward, you are a hireling shepherd. Shame on you.”
Hagee also warned that the separation of church and state “will prove suicidal for America.”
Last year, after the Supreme Court struck down the federal component of the Defense of Marriage Act, David Barton claimed that the ruling would force military chaplains to perform same-sex marriages against their will.
That fear, of course, was completely unfounded and the Pentagon clarified that DOMA repeal would in no way mean that a military chaplain would have to perform a marriage against his will.
But Barton is still claiming that military chaplains are being forced to officiate same-sex weddings that violate their religious beliefs, saying on his “Wallbuilders Live” program today that military commanders are ordering chaplains to “perform homosexual weddings.”
Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver lamented this week that the United States’ support for LGBT equality means that America is no longer “the shining city on the hill, the example for other nations to follow” and has instead become “the example of what not to follow.”
Staver and Matt Barber discussed their work pushing anti-gay policies throughout the world on arecent episode of Faith & Freedom Radio, including defending Scott Lively in a lawsuit involving his anti-gay work in Uganda, and efforts to stop sex education and marriage equality in Croatia, which Barber said he hoped “will set a trend in nations around the world.”
“[O]ther nations around the world are affirming marriage as the union of one man and one woman, while America is rejecting it,” Staver lamented. “It’s as ridiculous as rejecting the laws of gravity.”
Barber: We were deeply involved and had a hand in helping to reverse Croatia’s harmful sex education policies and supported Croatia’s constitutional amendment affirming marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and Lord willing, this will set a trend in nations around the world.
Staver: Yeah, it will. And it looks like some of the world, a lot of the world, is going the opposite way that America is. America used to be the shining city on the hill, the example for other nations to follow. Now it’s the example of what not to follow. And other nations around the world are affirming marriage as the union of one man and one woman, while America is rejecting it. It’s as ridiculous as rejecting the laws of gravity. But some judges think they have the audacity and the arrogance to do just that.