Saturday, December 27, 2008

Calling the kettle slate gray

In his Christmas Eve column at, Ben Shapiro attempts to put lipstick on an old pig of a specious argument by reminding folks that gay people are intolerant – too. His coy interjection of “too” at the end of his column’s title is a mousy attempt to note that the religious Right has been intolerant; but rather than explain that intolerance, Shapiro resorts to the most sophomoric of retorts, as if he were Pee Wee Herman asking the rhetorical, “I know you are, but what am I?”

First of all, let me say I agree with Shapiro when he opines that many in the gay community are intolerant of contrary beliefs. These intolerant queers demand respect for their position, but are not the slightest bit inclined to show any respect to a contrary opinion. With the quickness of an unthinking automaton, these militant gays resort immediately to name calling whenever someone indicates that they are against gay marriage. “Homophobe!”, they shout. And where does that get anyone?

Now that is done, I can get to the really feeble argument Shapiro presents in his column.

“Advocates for traditional morality have won virtually every electoral battle over gay marriage. The gay community has won its victories in the courtroom, calling on elitist judges to twist the words of state constitutions. It’s illegitimate, and it cuts against the most basic American value: the right of the people to decide how to regulate their communities.”

I mean really, this guy is a Harvard Law School graduate and he’s writing this? The gay community has resorted to “calling on elitist judges to twist the words of state constitutions.” Really now, would that be the same elitist judges that struck down state laws that banned inter-racial marriage, such as in Loving v. Virginia? Oh wait, I know the argument, the retort: at least in Loving the marriage was between a man and woman and the opportunity for procreation existed. There is no opportunity for procreation in a same-sex marriage. So yeah, procreation is part of marriage, it’s essential. Until, mmm, we talk about Turner v. Safley, a case brought forward by Missouri prison inmates who wanted to marry. Prison officials wouldn’t allow the marriages, basing their position largely on the fact that the inmates involved would never be allowed to consummate the marriage. If there’s no sex, there’s no procreation, so no marriage.

But interestingly, the Supreme Court had a different notion about why people get married.

For one, the court opined that “any governmental objective must be a legitimate and neutral one.” In the Turner case, inmates weren’t allowed to marry unless they had the prison’s permission, and that would only be granted if there was a “compelling reason” to allow the marriage. The marriages were never allowed because prison officials asserted that such marriages would cause security problems, as well as most would never be consumated. It is worth pointing out that the court rejected the security argument fairly quickly, noting that any security problems would likely exist whether the marriage occurred or not.

But what the court said about marriage is more interesting. Several reasons for allowing the marriages were given, but first on the court’s list was this: “First, inmate marriages, like others, are expressions of emotional support and public commitment. These elements are an important and significant aspect of the marital relationship.”

So, marriage is an expression of emotional support for the other partner, and it’s an expression of public commitment. And inmate marriages, even though some may never have an opportunity for consummation, are just like any other marriage.

And you know what case will be applicable in the review of Prop 8? I think it might be Romer v. Evans.

Yes, it is true that many in the gay community need to temper their reactions when dealing with those in the anti-marriage crowd. But the Right needs to pay attention to reality and understand that blaming “activist” judges for “re-interpreting” the constitution is a non-starter. It would do them well to read up on their Tocqueville.

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