Tag: Gay Marriage

When To Defy The Law

Earlier this week, I blogged about Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples in defiance of an edict from the governor and a court order. Yesterday, she was jailed for Contempt of Court and her deputies began to issue the licenses.

Eugene Volokh has a great breakdown of the relevant law. Long story short, Davis may have a claim under Kentucky’s RFRA law, which allows the state to accommodate religious beliefs if the accommodation is not a burden:

Davis’s objection, it appears (see pp. 40 and 133 of her stay application and attachments), is not to issuing same-sex marriage licenses as such. Rather, she objects to issuing such licenses with her name on them, because she believes (rightly or wrongly) that having her name on them is an endorsement of same-sex marriage. Indeed, she says that she would be content with

Modifying the prescribed Kentucky marriage license form to remove the multiple references to Davis’ name, and thus to remove the personal nature of the authorization that Davis must provide on the current form.

Now this would be a cheap accommodation that, it seems to me, a state could quite easily provide. It’s true that state law requires the County Clerk’s name on the marriage license and the marriage certificate. But the point of RFRAs, such as the Kentucky RFRA, is precisely to provide religious objectors with exemptions even from such generally applicable laws, so long as the exemptions don’t necessarily and materially undermine a compelling government interest.

If that is indeed the case, it seems that this issue could be resolved relatively quickly. Davis, as far as I know, is mostly pursuing a federal claim which SCOTUS had rejected. Hence, the Contempt order.

I think it is entirely appropriate to charge her with Contempt. As I noted earlier, her choices were to issue the marriage licenses or resign. Religion is something that can be accommodated. It is not a shield with which to defy the law.

However … a second debate has emerged from this with conservatives arguing that liberals defy the law all the time without consequence and that Davis is being persecuted because her objections are religious rather than political. This rebuttal has focused on several examples:

Gavin Newsom, while mayor of San Francisco, had his clerks issue marriage licenses to gay couples in defiance of state law. Is this the same as Davis? No, it isn’t. Newsom was not violating anyone’s civil rights by issuing the licenses. Moreover, it was a publicity stunt, one that paid off for Newsom with the Lieutenant Governor’s position. In the end, the marriages were annulled and Newsom stopped issuing the licenses. There was no defiance of a court order. That having been said, Newsom was in the wrong and had he defied the Court order, I would have supported a Contempt charge. Even if what Newsom was doing was an act of civil disobedience, civil disobedience includes the consequences of your actions.

Sanctuary Cities are another touted example, but this too fails. As Jonathan Adler points out, whatever one may think of sanctuary cities, they are not defying federal law:

The Constitution establishes that federal law is supreme. But it is also well-established that the federal government may not “commandeer” state and local governments to implement federal law. What this means is that the federal government is free to enforce federal law, including immigration law, whether state or local officials like it or not. At the same time the federal government cannot dictate that state and local officials enforce that law on the federal government’s behalf.

This was upheld by SCOTUS when the Court ruled that the Federal government could not force states to carry out firearms background checks on its behalf.

Attorneys general and governors who refused to defend anti-gay marriage amendments in Court have also come in for scrutiny. We’ve debated this in the comments before. As Doug Mataconis points out, it is perfectly acceptable for a governor or President to refuse to defend a law in Court if they believe it to be unconstitutional. In fact, numerous Presidents, including Republicans, have done so before. It would not be appropriate for an attorney general to do it on his own; they are supposed to follow the orders of the President or the governor. But it’s acceptable for an executive. If a new President is elected, there is no requirement for him to embrace the Constitutional theories of his predecessor.

Marijuana legalization has been cited with people saying that it is lawless for the federal government to not go after state marijuana dealers in Wyoming and Colorado (as well as other states with medical marijuana laws). I don’t see this as comparable either. First, the federal government has been going after legal pot dealers, as we’ve documented numerous times. Second, this goes down to prosecutorial discretion, in which federal prosecutors have been told to concentrate their resources on other crimes.

That having been said, I would be much happier about the situation if Congress passed a law to protect state-legalized marijuana shops and clinics.

D.C. clerks have reportedly been refusing to issue conceal carry permits in defiance of a judge’s order. I’m having trouble finding documentation of this claim. As far as I can tell, there is still an ongoing lawsuit over the matter. DC is a restrictive may-issue state, so there is no obligation of clerks to issue conceal carry permits. And it appears that while a judge ordered them to start issuing permits, that order was stayed. If, however, the District receives a Court order to start issuing and refuses to, that would be comparable to the Davis situation.

I’m eager to find examples of people refusing to carry out the law with impunity, but the examples touted so far are not convincing. I’m not seeing any evidence that Davis is being unfairly singled out.

Doing Your Job

Shortly after the Obergefell decision was handed down, the states complied with the ruling by instructing their employees to issue marriage license to gay couples who applied. Almost all have complied. A couple of counties in Texas and a few in Alabama are refusing. But the debate has come to center around Kim Davis, a clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, who has refused to issue marriage licenses because she says it violates her religious liberty. She has been ordered by the courts to issue marriage licenses and the Supreme Court has now denied her appeal on religious grounds.

On this matter, I find myself agreeing with Ed Morrissey:

We’ve written plenty of posts defending religious freedom and the right to choose not to participate in private ceremonies, but this case is different. The other cases about which we have written involve private enterprise — bakers, photographers, venue owners — who do not exercise a monopoly on their markets. Operating a private business should not strip people of the right to free religious expression in all phases of their lives; other businesses can and do wish to participate in those events, and the free market should be free for all within it.

Government is not a free market, however; it is a monopoly backed up by force. If the law says these couples can apply for and receive a marriage license, then government has to abide by that law. They exercise a monopoly on marriage licenses; these couples cannot go anywhere else to get one. This is a denial of access to market by government force, essentially, a much different situation than with bakers, photographers, and so on.

Accepting office in government means upholding the law. If that conflicts with Davis’ religious beliefs, then she should resign and find other work. Ignoring the law and denying services on the basis of an official’s own desires is a form of petty tyranny. We may not like the law, but those in office cannot be allowed to decide for themselves which they follow on the basis of personal preference.

I said the same thing when Judge Roy Moore refused to move a monument to the Ten Commandments after a court order (and Moore is also telling Alabama clerks not to issue licenses). If you have a moral objection to what the government has ordered you to do, you should resign your position. You do not get to just refuse and keep drawing a paycheck.

There’s been some noise about how many times Kim Davis has been married and what her personal life is like. I find that to be pointless muck-raking. If Davis were a paragon of virtue, would that make a difference? Then what’s the point in wallowing in her personal life? She would be wrong if she were Mother Theresa. Her job to is to issue marriage licenses compliant with the law. She’s not doing her job. She’s disobeying a court order. Either force to resign or arrest her for Contempt.

The Culture War Rout Is On

So, this week George Takei called Clarence Thomas a “clown in black face” for this dissent in Obergefell. He has since apologized for the remark, claiming that he said it in a moment of anger.

As you know, I’m not one for the Outrage of the Day. What set Takei off was Thomas’ argument that government can not take away your dignity no matter what it does; dignity is intrinsic. Thomas used the internment camps as an example and Takei, who was interred, was angered by that comparison. That’s understandable.

However …

The reaction to Takei’s remarks has little to do with him. It has everything to do with a racial smear campaign that has pursued Clarence Thomas since the day he joined the Court. Just as Takei’s comments have their origin in his long experience with racial and anti-gay discrimination, the backlash to them has its origin in 24 years of liberals slagging Clarence Thomas, all too often in racist language. Thomas is a race traitor. Thomas is an Uncle Tom. Thomas doesn’t know his history. Thomas is an idiotic sock puppet of Scalia (actually, the Scalia-Thomas pairing isn’t even in the top ten for SCOTUS). Thomas never writes any significant opinions (I recently cited his wonderful dissent in Kelo; he’s written many many others).

We’re told that Thomas doesn’t understand or care about race relations. We’re told this of a man who was born in the segregationist South; who experienced vile racism in his early life; who was and is an admirer of Malcolm X; who is thoroughly versed in our country’s racial history; who can cite you chapter and verse about how our country has perverted the law and the Constitution to screw over black people. Thomas is well aware of his race, conscious of it and proud of it. But he the temerity to disagree with liberals about how the Constitution should be applied to the law. And so none of that matters.

But there’s something here even beyond the usual Clarence Thomas race-baiting. Let’s take a step back. For the last week, numerous Republicans have been responding angrily to the gay marriage and Obamacare decisions. Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal, among others, have questioned the Court’s legitimacy. We’re told that this is a sign of how insane Republicans are. But … you’ll see equal amounts of rage from the Left when the Court doesn’t go there way. Hell, just last week, people were responding to Scalia’s dissent with angry tweets and articles about Bush v. Gore and Citizens United, decisions which liberals responded to by … gasp! … questioning the legitimacy of the Court.

Look, it’s understandable that people get mad at the Court when it makes decisions they don’t like. Hell, I’m still upset about Kelo. That’s fine. I really don’t see anything unusual or alarming about anti-gay-marriage politicians being angry about the recent decisions. We have to accept the Court’s decisions as a matter of law; but that does not mean we have to accept them into our hearts. Be angry when you think the Court has gotten it wrong.

What’s striking, however, is how angry the Left gets when they win. Granted, most of the Left is just plain happy about last week’s decisions. But there’s a not insignificant faction that’s just furious that the conservative bench had the nerve to dissent.

As Clark at Popehat recently noted, the Culture War in this country has had two distinguishing features: an incredible series of wins for the Left and an even more incredible series of whinges about it:

The problem I have is that the blue alliance has been on a winning streak, and with recent Blue success in gay marriage, immigration of client populations, university-and-media roll-up, etc. I feel like the culture war is over and the victors are going around (metaphorically) humiliating and shooting survivors of the losing side, and conducting mop-up operations. Witness team Blue forcing bakers to bake cakes and forcing photographers to shoot photos for partnerships that they consider immoral. Witness blue team arguing that innocent people should go to jail for rape, because – and I’m quoting Ezra Klein here – we “need to create a world where men are afraid.” Red team men, I take that to mean. Football players. Frat boys. Not nice guys like Ezra.

Look at how the reasonable Left, who would never question the legitimacy of the Court, responded to last year’s Hobby Lobby decision. Just to remind you: the Supreme Court decided that the government could force almost all employers to provide unrestricted contraception coverage to their employees. But because of the RFRA, they decided that a small subset of businesses — privately owned or closely held businesses — could refuse coverage for a small subset of birth control methods that they considered abortificients. It’s exactly the kind of compromise that the Left always claims to want; one that respects our diverse and pluralistic country. In fact, it’s better: they got about 99.5% of what they wanted, with a small bone thrown to religious conservatives. Even better, the Court’s decisions was grounded in a law that can be repealed, not in any supposed First Amendment rights of corporations. By any definition, it was a big win for them.

And yet .. the “reasonable left” who would never question the legitimacy of the Court, responded by proclaiming that we were in a corporate theocracy. They disparaged Catholics on the Court. We were told that it turned back the clock on women’s rights. You can see a bunch of “reasonable” tweets here, including a comparison to Plessy vs. Ferguson (remember when Republicans comparing SCOTUS decisions to Dred Scott was over the line? Good times.)

That’s when they “lose” by such a tiny amount it’s really a huge victory. But last week, the Left won outright. And granted, most liberals are responding with jubilation. My FB feed filled with happy posts about the victory of gay rights. But there is a noisy faction that have spent the last week poring through the dissenting opinions to find something, anything to get in a tizzy over. Jon Stewart has done multiple segments mocking the dissenting opinions and the politicians who didn’t like the rulings. And then, of course, you had Monday’s afterbirth when liberals screamed that the Court has “struck down” limits on mercury emissions (it did nothing of the kind).

So, on it’s own, Takei’s remarks are nothing — something dumb said out of anger. But in the larger context, it was the intersection of two ugly trends: racial animosity toward Clarence Thomas and incessant left-wing whinging about a political battle they have won.

So, yeah, Takei’s apology is fine (Thomas, I suspect, does not care either way). But it’s nothing compared to the long smear campaign against Clarence Thomas and the vitriol with which far too much of the Left has responded to a decision that went their way.

The Culture War is over, guys. You’ve won. Hell, I’m on your side for most of these social issues. We’ve won. Do you really have to ride down your defeated foe?

Gay Marriage Debate Ends

A lot going on today, but the big news is that the Court has upheld gay marriage by a 5-4 vote. With that, the debate over the subject is effectively over. And, as someone who has supported the GOP in the past, I couldn’t be happier. The issue can go away and we can focus on more substantive issues.

More to come.

You should read the opinions. It includes vintage Scalia. But it also includes a very good dissent from Roberts who argues that the problem is not gay marriage; the problem is the way the Court has interpreted the Constitution. It’s quite good and conciliatory. Roberts can drive me nuts sometimes, but I still think he’s one of the best things to come out of the Bush 43 Administration.

No Pizza For You

Indiana has suddenly become the latest front in the Culture War. As noted by Xetrov below, Indiana passed a Religious Freedom Act similar to the federal RFRA. However, the association of several rabid anti-gay activists with the bill has raised concerns that it will allow discrimination against gays (even though no RFRA in the country does that). Pence wants to clarify this in the bill. In a reasonable world, that clarification would pass and we’d move on.

But what’s the use of being reasonable? Tarring and feathering some poor sap is just so much more fun:

Someone please tell me if my progression here is inaccurate in any way:

1) Family owners of small-town Indiana pizzeria spend zero time or energy commenting on gay issues.

2) TV reporter from South Bend walks inside the pizzeria to ask the owners what they think of the controversial Religious Restoration Freedom Act. Owner Crystal O’Connor responds, “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no….We are a Christian establishment.” O’Connor also says—actually promises is the characterization here—that the establishment will continue to serve any gay or non-Christian person that walks through their door.

3) The Internet explodes with insults directed at the O’Connor family and its business, including a high school girls golf coach in Indiana who tweets “Who’s going to Walkerton, IN to burn down #memoriespizza w me?” Many of the enraged critics assert, inaccurately, that Memories Pizza discriminates against gay customers.

4) In the face of the backlash, the O’Connors close the pizzeria temporarily, and say they may never reopen, and in fact might leave the state. “I don’t know if we will reopen, or if we can, if it’s safe to reopen,” Crystal O’Connor tells The Blaze. “I’m just a little guy who had a little business that I probably don’t have anymore,” Kevin O’Connor tells the L.A. Times.

Yelp has been working overtime to delete shrieking negative reviews of the place. Conservatives have responded with a GoFundMe campaign that has, at present, raised over $100,000 to help out the pizzeria owners.

This is insane. All the owners of this establishment did was answer a reporter’s question honestly and they’re suddenly being hounded by the entire Left Wing Echosphere. It reminds me of something Clark wrote over at Popehat (I’ll link when their site is back up). The Culture War is basically over and the Left has won the field. Gays are out of the closet, sodomy laws are dead and gay marriage is legal in 39 states. Birth control is so available that the government will force your employer to buy it and the Republican compromise position is to make it available over the counter. Despite a spate of anti-abortion laws, we still have one of the most liberal abortion regimes on the planet.

And is the Left responding to this with joy and reconciliation? They are not. As Clark put it, they are going around the battlefield shooting the survivors of the losing side. They hounded Brendan Eich out of a job, they’re boycotting the entire state of Indiana and now they’re hounding some poor restaurant owners whose crime was not realizing a reporter was baiting them.

The Avalanche Has Already Started; It Is Too Late for the Pebbles to Vote

The dam has broken. No matter what our opinions might be of it, gay marriage is becoming a fact of life. On the heels of recent decisions by either judges or legislatures in Hawaii, Oklahoma, Nevada, Kentucky, Virginia, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Arkansas, Idaho and Oregon, a judge in Pennsylvania today struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage. That’s the fourth court victory for gay marriage advocates just this month. And this one, complete with a long and forceful opinion, was issued by a Bush 43 appointee whose appointment to the federal bench was approved by none other than Rick Santorum. (Judge Jones also wrote a long and stirring opinion against teaching creationism in public schools in Kitzmiller v. Dover). That makes 19 states where gay marriage is either legal or has won a recent court victory.

There is simply no putting this genie back in the bottle. Some of those overturns may be reversed by higher courts. Some may be turned over to referendums again. But even those are unlikely to pass. As I said when the Republican Party was pushing a wave of anti-gay-marriage amendments in 2004, their urgency was because they could see that they were losing support. It was then or never. The tide stopped in 2012 when Minnesota turned back an amendment in a tough battle. Now it has turned and is roaring back out to sea. California’s Prop 8 would not pass now. Some of the redder states would be able to keep it illegal, but even there, support is crumbling. Within ten years, gays will be probably be able to marry almost everywhere in this country. Maybe even less. This issue is basically dead (although, as I argued with the Brendan Eich case, I would prefer that people not gloat about it).

There is one question that sill lingers in mind however: whether this issue will haunt the Republican Party down the road. I’ve spoken of this before:

Back in the 1970′s, the GOP stepped back from their previous support for civil rights to support the so-called “Southern Strategy”: an effort to woo segregationists from the Democrats. The idea was not to embrace segregation, per se, but to jump on racially sensitive issues like welfare to build a power base in the South.

While it managed to get a few politicians to defect (Trent Lott, Strom Thurmond), it never really helped their electoral prospects. In Presidential races, they won the whole country in 1972, lost the South in 1976 and 1980, won the whole country in 1984 and 1988, split the South in 1992 and 1996. It was only in the mid-90′s that the South turned and, by that point, no one gave a crap about segregation issues. The turn was over economic issues. And by 2008, Barack Obama was able to dominate the South in the primaries and compete in the general election, winning three states.

Just to clarify this point: the Republicans took the South because the South was always conservative. The only reason the South hadn’t voted Republican up until the 90’s was because of the Democratic Party’s century-long history of racist politics. Growing up in Atlanta, I knew people whose family had never voted Republican. When George Allen was elected to the Virginia legislature, he was one of only a handful of Republicans. When the South went red in 1994, Republicans were winning elections in Southern states for the first time since the Civil War. The South was always conservative. They were going to go Republican eventually. It was only Johnson’s management of the Wallace faction that kept it blue for so long.

However, the Southern Strategy did have one palpable effect: both on its own and through liberal harping about it, the Southern Strategy alienated black voters to the point where the GOP is lucky to poll in single digits. This is despite a fair amount of conservatism among blacks, who are heavily pro-life and pro-school choice. P.J. O’Rourke said that Clinton’s popularity among blacks was because he allowed them to vote for a Republican without throwing up.

In the 40’s and 50’s, Republicans routinely drew support among black voters in the 20-30% range. If that trend had continued, more than a few elections would have gone differently.

I’m afraid the GOP is going down the same path again with their stance on gay issues. The country is shifting rapidly on these issues, especially among young voters — much more rapidly than it did on racial issues. Huge majorities oppose DADT, including a majority of conservatives. Gay marriage is closing in on majority support and large majorities favor at least civil unions. And barring gay adoption or gay sex simply isn’t on the radar for any but the most ardent cultural conservatives. Yet the entire GOP field supports DADT and DOMA, most favor the Marriage Amendment and Santorum favors just about every anti-gay measure you can think of.

Some of this support is in name only — the FMA, for example, has zero change of happening. But their vocal support for these policies is going to come back to bite them and probably not too far in the future. As more gays come out of the closet, as more people have gay friends and relatives, as more gays get married and have kids and as the world fails to end despite this, people are going to remember where the GOP was on this. People with gay kids are going to remember that the Rick Santorum wanted to deny their in-laws and take away their grandkids. People whose lives were saved by gay soldiers will realize they would have died had DADT been in place.

We are going to pay for this crap. And we are going to pay and pay and pay (literally, given the spending habits of the Democrats).

My fears have only strengthened in the three years since I wrote those words. While a number of Republicans have broken ranks — showing much more political courage than any Democrats, incidentally — I still fear that gay marriage will go down in history as a faint echo of the Southern Strategy debacle. A faint echo because the Republican opposition was at least partially built on principle. It was clear in 2004 that many Republicans were uncomfortable with their gay marriage position (you may remember a leaked phone call where Bush talked about how much he disliked taking the position) and that this was, at least in part, a cold political calculus from Karl Rove who thought opposing gay marriage would win a tough election. But most of the opposition was a principled opposition to changing one of the pillars of our civilization.

(The echo should be even fainter because Democrats opposed gay marriage until it became politically safe not to. But Democrats are never held to any standard, let alone the ones that Republicans are held to. Republicans still get beat up over their short-lived Southern Strategy; Democrats are absolved from their century-long embrace of Jim Crow.)

Still, I think the analogy holds. It will not be forgotten that Republicans were the face of the opposition to gay marriage and that the remaining opposition is from Republicans. Will this hurt them enough to matter in an election? There are a lot fewer gays than there are blacks and they are not as unified electorally. But considering how close some elections have been, it’s entirely possible that this will hurt us down the road, especially as the young people who support gay marriage today become the political force of tomorrow.

Kluwe vs. Burns

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo recently spoke out in favor of gay marriage (it was legalized in Maryland by O’Malley but will be up for a referendum in November; it is very likely to pass referendum). Last week, delegate Emmett C. Burns sent a nasty letter to the Ravens on official stationary expressed how appalled he was that a Ravens player would dare support gay marriage and urging the Ravens to “inhibit such expressions from your employee and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions”.

If you thought the mayors were out of line to threaten Chick-Fil-A over their expression, you should think this is out of line too. I would write a retort but I don’t think I can match RavensVikings punter Chris Kluwe:

As I suspect you have not read the Constitution, I would like to remind you that the very first, the VERY FIRST Amendment in this founding document deals with the freedom of speech, particularly the abridgment of said freedom. By using your position as an elected official (when referring to your constituents so as to implicitly threaten the Ravens organization) to state that the Ravens should “inhibit such expressions from your employees,” more specifically Brendon Ayanbadejo, not only are you clearly violating the First Amendment, you also come across as a narcissistic fromunda stain. What on earth would possess you to be so mind-boggingly stupid? It baffles me that a man such as yourself, a man who relies on that same First Amendment to pursue your own religious studies without fear of persecution from the state, could somehow justify stifling another person’s right to speech. To call that hypocritical would be to do a disservice to the word. Mindfucking obscenely hypocritical starts to approach it a little bit.

The rest of the letter is in that vein and includes several expressions that I have never heard before but will certainly steal in the future. Obviously, your opinion of the letter will vary depending on where you stand on the same sex marriage issue. But even absent that, pretentious politicians deserve this kind of public response.

To be fair, Burns isn’t actually threatening the Ravens right now. And the Ravens would be in a better position to ignore this sort of shit if they did not play in a taxpayer-subsidized stadium. But I do think they should respond to Burns’ letter the way they once did when they were in Cleveland.

Oh, and the NFL season kicks off tomorrow, so now is as good a time as any to say, Go Packers!

Cleaning Up After Santorum

Whatever I might think about Rick Perry or Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann or Ron Paul or Herman Cain or whoever, I never forget this: at least they’re not Rick Santorum.

I can usually at least try to see the Culture Conservative point of view. A lot of the time, their arguments — on abortion, gays, drugs — make some sense to me even when I disagree with them. But whenever Rick Santorum opens his pie-hole, I’m just slack-jawed.

Santorum is running, as far as I can tell, on the anti-gay issue. He has this bizarre metaphor that a napkin isn’t a paper towel and so … actually I’m not sure what his point is. He is trying to argue that marriage has been the same throughout history and across cultures (i.e. a napkin is always a napkin) but this isn’t even close to true. For much of history, for parts of the world today, marriage has involved one man and several women and has been more about protecting property and status than love. In our own society, it has progressed from an institution where men provided support and protection for women in exchange for sex and progeny into something more like a partnership. Adultery was once a crime only a woman could commit and was punishable by death. Levirite marriage is mandated in the Bible. Divorce is forbidden in Santorum’s faith but not mine or that of most protestants. Some branches of Islam allow for temporary marriages for pleasure (nikah al-mutah). I could go on and on. A napkin clearly is not just a napkin and never has been.

(Actually, if you look closely, Santorum’s listeners are using paper towels as napkins. My favorite Texas BBQ places always used paper towels as napkins. I don’t know what that means but, great Scott, do I miss Texas BBQ.)

He concludes by defending his remarks comparing gay sex to bestiality, incest and child molestation. Because allowing consenting adults to engage in sex is naturally the same as allowing people to have sex with people (or things) that can’t consent. He clearly isn’t terribly familiar with what was actually written in the Lawrence decision.

And finally, he claims that he is the victim of a “gay jihad”. I think the inventor of Rick Santorum’s Google problem says it best:

Why are gay people so darn mean to Rick Santorum? All Rick wants to do is write anti-gay bigotry into the Constitution, ban same-sex marriage, make it illegal for gay people to have or adopt children, make sure gay people can’t make medical decisions for our partners during medical emergencies, make gay sex a felony again, prevent queer widow and widowers from accessing their deceased partners’ social security or pension benefits, reinstitute DADT, split up binational gay couples—and on and on—and, golly, it’s so unfair that gay people don’t want Rick Santorum president. (Also, jokes.) And so long as we refuse to accept second-class citizenship status—so long as we insist on squirming while Rick and his buddies pound those nails home—we’re persecuting him.

I agree with Dan Savage on politics about once a Neptune year and I actually think the Santorum Google response was an over-reaction. Rick Santorum did not invent anti-gay sentiment. But I think, for once, Savage is right. For Santorum to portray himself, for others to portray him as a victim is ridiculous. Santorum is a rich and powerful man surrounded by sycophants. Gays are not talking about breaking up his family or denying him sex. They’re hitting back because of anti-gay things he has said and endorsed. He’s not being bullied; he is a bully, picking on a minority and getting angry because his victim has pushed back.

(How exactly does a gay jihad work, incidentally? Do they stone you to death with throw pillows? Do they pillage antique shops and forcibly do women’s hair? Do their scimitars all match?)

The gay issue has been on my mind lately because I’m worried that the GOP is going down another rabbit hole. I may have said this before but can’t find it beyond the site reboot horizon. So forgive me if I’m retracing old steps.

Back in the 1970’s, the GOP stepped back from their previous support for civil rights to support the so-called “Southern Strategy”: an effort to woo segregationists from the Democrats. The idea was not to embrace segregation, per se, but to jump on racially sensitive issues like welfare to build a power base in the South.

While it managed to get a few politicians to defect (Trent Lott, Strom Thurmond), it never really helped their electoral prospects. In Presidential races, they won the whole country in 1972, lost the South in 1976 and 1980, won the whole country in 1984 and 1988, split the South in 1992 and 1996. It was only in the mid-90’s that the South turned and, by that point, no one gave a crap about segregation issues. The turn was over economic issues. And by 2008, Barack Obama was able to dominate the South in the primaries and compete in the general election, winning three states.

However, the Southern Strategy did have one palpable effect: both on its own and through liberal harping about it, the Southern Strategy alienated black voters to the point where the GOP is lucky to poll in single digits. This is despite a fair amount of conservatism among blacks, who are heavily pro-life and pro-school choice. P.J. O’Rourke said that Clinton’s popularity among blacks was because he allowed them to vote for a Republican without throwing up.

I’m afraid the GOP is going down the same path again with their stance on gay issues. The country is shifting rapidly on these issues, especially among young voters — much more rapidly than it did on racial issues. Huge majorities oppose DADT, including a majority of conservatives. Gay marriage is closing in on majority support and large majorities favor at least civil unions. And barring gay adoption or gay sex simply isn’t on the radar for any but the most ardent cultural conservatives. Yet the entire GOP field supports DADT and DOMA, most favor the Marriage Amendment and Santorum favors just about every anti-gay measure you can think of.

Some of this support is in name only — the FMA, for example, has zero change of happening. But their vocal support for these policies is going to come back to bite them and probably not too far in the future. As more gays come out of the closet, as more people have gay friends and relatives, as more gays get married and have kids and as the world fails to end despite this, people are going to remember where the GOP was on this. People with gay kids are going to remember that the Rick Santorum wanted to deny their in-laws and take away their grandkids. People whose lives were saved by gay soldiers will realize they would have died had DADT been in place.

We are going to pay for this crap. And we are going to pay and pay and pay (literally, given the spending habits of the Democrats).

(Irrelevant PS — OK, this is irrelevant. But how on Earth did tagaroo come up with “Knights of Malta” as a suggested tag for this post? Is there something about the Knights of Malta that wikipedia isn’t telling me? Did they get really lonely on those crusades or something? Honestly, computers baffle me sometimes.)