As expected, today’s landmark ruling by the Supreme Court was met with more appeal-to-fear and slippery slope fallacies from the Republican presidential candidates. Yet, every ridiculous doom-and-gloom scenario of which they speak does not fail to inspire the query, “Can they seriously think that?” Unfortunately, I fear they might. Either that, or they think that’s what their constituents want to hear.
But according to a 2015 Pew Poll, 57% of Americans now support gay marriage. Some speculate that these candidates are pandering to the Evangelical Right before the nomination, and the nominee will then reverse tactics to appeal to the general population after the primary. Either way, their ludicrous and fallacious arguments will be recorded for future generations’ amusement for years to come.
According to NBC News, Huckabee equated our Supreme Court with the British monarchy of the 18th century, calling our highest court’s ruling “judicial tyranny,” and went on to say the ruling would be “one of the court’s most disastrous opinions” (qtd. Dann and Rafferty). No, that would probably be Citizen’s United, and the three branches of government, including the Judicial Branch, were conceived by our forefathers whom Huckabee so admires. I don’t think they would have considered our courts tyrannical, language which in this context seems to attempt to stir up a rebellion against our own government.
NBC’s Dann and Rafferty also reported that Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a Republican presidential candidate, stated that the ruling “will pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision” and that “Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that” (qtd. Dann and Rafferty). So, is he suggesting that the ruling be based, not on the Constitution, but on the bible? Apparently, he does not worship the hallowed ground of our forefathers as Huckabee does, but would rather throw out our entire system of government in favor of Levitical law. I’m still not quite sure how couples of the same sex committing to love and honor each other for the rest of their lives could have any effect on Christians who disagree with them, other than giving them an object for their disdain or a target for their prayers. Certainly “an all out assault against their religious freedoms” seems a far-fetched slippery slope with no basis in even a moderately conspiratorial mind. No wonder I’ve never heard of Jindal before. He won’t make it far in this race with that kind of crazy talk.
The same reporters quote Santorum, in a much more reasonable voice, as encouraging the American people to continue the debate as if the Supreme Court did not have the last word (I never thought I would use the word reasonable to refer to Santorum) and Walker as saying “the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage” (qtd. Dann and Rafferty). They also reported that Perry and Rubio believe that the ruling was against the constitutional rule of law, and that Christie thought it should be in the hands of the “people” (qtd. Dann and Rafferty).
The argument that the states should decide cases of discrimination is absurd. Civil liberties are always, or at least they should be, constitutional matters. If we left cases of discrimination up to the states, or to a public vote, the Civil Rights Movement would have died on the state level. The Constitution of the United States guarantees civil liberties and equality to all Americans; therefore, it has nothing to do with states’ rights and the rights of one marginalized group should never be left to the whims of the mob. It would be unconstitutional to pass an amendment to discriminate against a group of people. It would also be unconstitutional to implement discriminatory laws based on favoring one religion’s laws over another’s, as would be the case in Jindal’s view. Actually, Jindal believes the bible should trump the constitution. Unfortunately for Jindal, he lives in a country where the constitution is the law of the land, not the bible, and in the United States, imposing your religious views on others is frowned upon.
Why don’t they come out and really say what they mean? Gay marriage is not going to infringe on anyone’s religious freedoms. What they are really upset about is that they don’t get to dictate what kind of morality will be practiced by their neighbors. They don’t get to live in a perfectly conservative world where everyone believes in their ideologies and lives by their rules. The world is not going to spiral out of control just because same-sex couples are allowed to marry. And unfortunately, the conservative bigotry will be allowed to continue unfettered because we don’t get to dictate what they believe any more than they can dictate to others who they can marry. But I suspect, what they really mean, they could never say, that they will pretend to be God-fearing, bible-believing, good ol’ boy defenders of morality until the day after the primary election, at which time, they will demure to the “law of the land,” and focus on that other favorite subject of the Republican party—protecting the cash flow of the wealthy.
In the meantime, Americans will celebrate our victories, knowing the tide of public opinion, as the Pew Poll indicates, is rising on the side of human rights and kindness.–Christina Knowles
“Changing Attitudes of Gay Marriage.” Pew Research Center. pewforum.org. 8 June 2015. Web. 26 June 2015.
Dann, Carrie and Andrew Rafferty. “2016 Candidates React to Supreme Court’s Gay Marriage Ruling.” NBC News/Politics. nbcnews.com. 26 June 2015. Web. 26 June 2015.
Photo snagged from indianpublicmedia.org