Saturday, June 27, 2015

After Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Marriage Equality, Homophobes Fume

On June 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, to the delight of LGBTQ Americans and their allies. Contrary to Religious Right predictions, the U.S. has not descended into anarchy, but rather erupted in joy over this victory for equality. America became a little more civilized on Friday, and Religious Right figures are livid. For your reading pleasure, here are a few angry reactions to the Obergefell v. Hodges decision.

First, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly called the ruling "a disappointing decision that imposes same-sex marriage on all 50 states" in a June 26th statement. Daly accused the Supreme Court of ignoring the "democratic process" by disregarding the opinions of homophobes. In keeping with the Religious Right's persecution narrative, he also claimed that the decision would result in unfair treatment for anti-gay business owners and religious organizations.
"Although this result was predicted by many observers, the action of the Court is nonetheless startling in its rejection of a societal understanding of marriage that goes back to the dawn of civilization. It tramples on the democratic process by overturning the will of more than 60 percent of Americans who voted on the issue and creates a new federal constitutional right in an area where our founding document is silent.

“We are also concerned that this decision will fan the flames of government hostility against individuals, businesses and religious organizations whose convictions prevent them from officiating at, participating in, or celebrating such unions. We’ve already watched this hostility operate against wedding vendors, military chaplains, and others, and anticipate that today’s decision will open the door to an unwelcome escalation of this problem."
Without a hint of irony, Daly urged readers to show "loving kindness" to supporters of LGBTQ equality, oblivious to the fact that homophobia is not loving.

Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance also accused the Supreme Court of ignoring homophobic Americans. Like Daly, she imagined marriage as a static, unchanging union instead of an ever-evolving institution. Nance warned that the "negative impact of this illegitimate decision will sound before the Court for years to come."
"It is a sad day in America when nine unelected justices think themselves so powerful that they dare overturn the votes of millions of Americans who went to the voting booth to preserve marriage as it has been understood throughout history, the union between one man and one woman.


The Court solves nothing with this ill-advised ruling, but only intensifies the culture wars, as it did in Roe, by cutting short a healthy debate about the definition of marriage, family, and sexuality that our country is having.  All Americans should stand against such overreach, whatever their views on marriage."
In a June 26th statement, Liberty Counsel rejects the idea that same-sex couples have a legitimate right to marry, calling the majority decision "misguided".
"A bare 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court today purports to invent a "fundamental right" for same-sex individuals to "marry" and attempts to forcefully impose this new-found right on the entire nation.

The decision drew sharp dissents from the other four justices. Chief Justice John Roberts correctly observes that the Court’s activist opinion hijacks the democratic process and is not based in the rule of law: "[D]o not Celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it," warns Roberts. Justice Scalia rightly calls the Court’s decision a "threat to American democracy." The "pretentious" and "egotistic" decision, notes Scalia, "robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves."

The misguided majority of the Court did manage to get one thing right. They reaffirmed the right of the People to disagree with the Court’s ruling: "I]t must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advo­cate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine pre­cepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned."
In a press statement posted on the front page of the Family Research Council website, FRC president Tony Perkins also claimed that the Supreme Court's decision ignored the will of anti-gay Americans and disregarded the static "history" of marriage.
"Five justices on the Supreme Court have overturned the votes of 50 million Americans and demanded that the American people walk away from millennia of history and the reality of human nature.

In reaching a decision so lacking in foundation in the text of the Constitution, in our history, and in our traditions, the Court has done serious damage to its own legitimacy.

 No court can overturn natural law.  Nature and Nature’s God, hailed by the signers of our Declaration of Independence as the very source of law, cannot be usurped by the edict of a court, even the United States Supreme Court.


With this ruling, the Supreme Court has set our government on a collision course with America’s cherished religious freedoms, explicitly guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Constitution."
National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown rejected the Supreme Court ruling as "illegitimate", blasting the majority decision as "judicial activism".
"Though expected, today's decision is completely illegitimate. We reject it and so will the American people. It represents nothing but judicial activism, legislating from the bench, with a bare majority of the Justices on the Supreme Court exercising raw political power to impose their own preferences on marriage when they have no constitutional authority to do so. It is a lawless ruling that contravenes the decisions of over 50 million voters and their elected representatives. It is a decision that is reminiscent of other illegitimate Court rulings such as Dred Scott and Roe v Wade and will further plunge the Supreme Court into public disrepute.

Make no mistake about it: The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and countless millions of Americans do not accept this ruling. Instead, we will work at every turn to reverse it.

The US Supreme Court does not have the authority to redefine something it did not create. Marriage was created long before the United States and our constitution came into existence. Our constitution says nothing about marriage. The majority who issued today's ruling have simply made it up out of thin air with no constitutional authority."
It's like they're all using the same talking points, I thought.

The right-wing talking points quickly became repetitive. Religious Right leaders repeatedly insisted that the majority of American voters reject marriage equality, a highly dubious claim if one looks at polling data. Even if this dubious claim were true, the U.S. operates under rule of the majority, not tyranny of the majority. Voters are not entitled to deny basic rights to other citizens. The Supreme Court decision protects the basic rights of LGBTQ citizens, which are self-evident even if some Americans do not acknowledge them.

Furthermore, Religious Right leaders repeated the claim that marriage is a static, unchanging institution written onto human nature itself. This ignores the fact that marriage has evolved over millennium and has not always been limited to opposite-sex unions. I would like to remind those who defend "Biblical marriage" that the Bible has very different ideas of what constitutes legitimate marriage than they do! Civilized people no longer see marriage as a transfer of property, a means of cementing political alliances, or the right of conquering warriors to seize female captives. If the definition of marriage can evolve in these areas, why can't it evolve to include same-sex couples?

The Religious Right's cries of "judicial activism" are laughable. Right-wing observers throw around terms like "judicial activism", "overreach", and "legislating from the bench" whenever judges reach a decision that makes them uncomfortable.

The world is changing in ways that baffle and anger the Religious Right. The principles that serve as givens in their lives are being questioned by the rest of society, and in many quarters they're being replaced by new, enlightened values. Society will move on without them if they refuse to reflect on their assumptions. Will they cling to the bigotry of the past, or adapt?

To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

Media Matters: Right-Wing Media Respond To Nationwide Marriage Equality: "We Should Weep For Our Country"

Right Wing Watch: Todd Starnes Warns Pastors Who Refuse To Perform Gay Marriages To 'Prepare For Hate Crime Charges' 

The Advocate: Franklin Graham Says, 'I Believe God Could Bring Judgment Upon America'

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