Give An Inch, Take a Yard: The “Evolution” of the Gay Marriage Issue
Barack Obama’s recent announcement regarding gay marriage during an ABC News interview comes as no surprise to anyone with a modicum of interest in the 2012 elections. This is less a startling revelation and more a calculated effort to motivate his liberal base and, more specifically, their check books. There is no secret that the Left has adopted LGBT concerns as the “new civil rights battle,” something to motivate themselves in this area. This announcement by Obama was presaged on the Sunday morning talk shows when Vice President Biden stated his new views regarding gay marriage. And, of course, despite the efforts by liberals and their allies, the rallying cry for the announcements by Biden and Obama was the North Carolina gay marriage amendment on the primary ballot which passed.
Any law, to some extent, is an expression of morality in some sense. What is not an expression of morality per se is a Gallup or any other poll that shows an increased tolerance for gay marriage (or any other issue for that matter). Hence, these polls that indicate Americans are more accepting of gay marriage stands in direct opposition to actual voting behavior. As the voters of North Carolina indicated on May 8th, they joined the ranks of some 29 other states that have state constitutional or statutory bans on same sex marriage. Only eight states- New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Washington, Maryland- and DC recognize and/or allow same sex marriage. Obviously, despite their best spin on the situation and despite the results of these public opinion polls, there is greater opposition to gay marriage than there is legal acceptance of gay marriage. As further proof of this tendency, in most instances where gay marriage has been banned at the state level through constitutional amendments enacted in response to ballot referendums, the results have been a resounding rejection of the idea. Even the voters of a blue state like California rejected gay marriage through Proposition 8. To listen to liberals speak, the mores of America have so changed in the recent past that there is overwhelming support for same sex marriage. However, like most liberal mantras, the argument falls apart when presented with reality.
That is not to insinuate that one’s views cannot change over time. As mentioned in other postings here on Redstate, my personal views regarding gay marriage have changed somewhat from a stalwart opponent to one of moderation. Leaving aside the religious arguments against same sex marriage and homosexuality in general, upon research I found no reasons to be a stalwart opponent. However, that same research revealed that there was no good reason for same sex marriage. Most of the “rights” that state-sanctioned gay marriage would confer on couples could be had through intestacy or contract law. In only one instance does the LGBT community have a case- that of a spouse being compelled to testify against the other. Even then, it is possible that some statute, as part of a broader scheme that recognizes civil unions, could address that problem.
One of the things that leads me to like Ron Paul in one sense- and I am not a Ron Paul supporter- is his consistency in principle. He has been a consistent opponent of the Iraq War and Afghanistan and a frequent and consistent opponent of the Federal Reserve. Likewise, I have my problems with the Catholic Church’s views on certain issues (disclaimer: I am Catholic). For example, I don’t like their stand on immigration and their acceptance of “sanctuary cities” and such. However, their views are consistent and principled upon the sanctity of life wherever those views lead. Those views leads to relentless opposition to abortion and state-sponsored contraception, but they also lead to opposition of the death penalty. What is disturbing about Obama’s “change of heart” and Biden’s changing views is that they reflect a lack of principled, underlying philosophy and worldview. In short, their principles are guided less my reflection and research of an issue and more upon reflection upon their chances of gaining money supporters in the liberal community and research into polls.
Obama tried to nuance the response to ABC News by resorting to Orwellian tactics. For example, he states that the government’s decision not to defend DOMA is based less on an acceptance of homosexual rights and more upon state’s rights. He has stolen a conservative view and applied it to a liberal outcome. We see this elsewhere. Government control over the Internet is the better sounding “net neutrality” while stifling free speech is the “Fairness Doctrine.” In short, Obama claims that the issue of marriage was federalized with DOMA and that should have never occurred. Hence, his Justice Department will no longer defend it in court. But there is a serious problem with that line of thinking from Obama now. If he really believes that marriage in general and gay marriage in particular is a state issue, then he has to accept how the states- through legislation, referendum, or amendment- define marriage. Liberals cannot accept that fact and where the people have spoken through legal referendums, they have resorted to the courts to curry favor in support of their agenda.
And his comments about marriage being federalized are somewhat disingenuous. Mainly through the complicated tax code and social safety net legislation, there are thousands of references to marriage. If he, or anyone, truly wishes to “defederalize” the issue of marriage, then all references, penalties and advantages of “marriage” should be purged from federal legislation.
Acceptance of same sex marriage may very well be changing in America, although it is doubtful given the obvious disconnect between polling data and results at the only polls that count. If so, then over time laws against same sex marriage will fall. That certainly has not happened and, in fact as North Carolina recently proved, the exact opposite may be happening- a collective circling of the wagons around the traditional definition of marriage between a man and a woman. However, it is now hypocritical and disingenuous of the President to stand before the American people and state that his views have “evolved” to the point of acceptance of gay marriage and that this issue rightfully belongs with the states. It is great that he has suddenly had this states rights epiphany, but if it is true, then he must accept and honor when the people of those states speak at the polls. I have no problem with Obama being in favor of gay marriage and making it a campaign issue, nor do I have a problem with him using the bully pulpit to advance his new-found beliefs and expressing his view when a state initiative is headed to a vote. However, I have serious problems with Obama and liberals claiming the mantle of states rights then working to abrogate states rights when the decision fails to create their desired outcome. That is not the definition of the evolution of a view on a controversial subject. At best, it is the definition of crass political gamesmanship. At worst, it is the definition of hypoocrisy.