Tag: Gay Marriage

Ryan T. Anderson: Public Enemy #1

 

RTAndersonI’ve met Ryan Anderson, infamous opponent of marriage equality. It was a terrifying experience. The eyes. Those crazy eyes.

I’m joking, obviously. Ryan is a perfect gentleman and clearly entirely sane. He also has a fancy education and no grey hair. (He’s around my age, I believe, so not easily dismissed as a nostalgic old codger who can’t quite get with the times.) Those combined factors make him deeply offensive to the left. In his way, I’m sure he’s far more offensive than your garden-variety Westboro Baptist, because he tricks people into supposing that young, intelligent and reasonable people can still regard marriage as an intrinsically procreative institution involving a man and a woman. Even in 2015.

Ryan is a graduate of the Friends School of Baltimore, an academically rigorous school affiliated with the Quakers. Last week, a Washington Post profile of Ryan was linked on the school’s Facebook page. Naturally, people went crazy.

Why Markets Work Better Than Anti-Discrimination Laws

 

Given the ongoing controversy over the Religious Freedom Restoration Acts in Indiana and Arkansas, I chose to use the newest installment of my weekly column for Defining Ideas to conduct a deeper examination of the principles that ought to inform our anti-discrimination laws. As I note there, the all-too-common invocation of Jim Crow as a precedent elides the fact that the pre-Civil Rights Act South was an exception to the general rule:

In the run-up to the 1964 Civil Rights Act the great impetus behind the passage of Title II was the widespread and conspicuous stories of motels and restaurants refusing to provide service to their black customers on equal terms with white customers, assuming that they were willing to provide for them at all. At this point, there is an evident breakdown in the operation of competitive markets, because it seems evident that some merchants—most notably national restaurant and hotel chains—that provided open service in the North were unable to do so in the South. The explanation in large measure rested on the combined threats of a segregationist establishment backed by private violence, which made entry of new businesses into the market to serve disfavored groups a near impossibility. The great achievement of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to smash these official and private barriers to open services. Once released, competitive forces took over, and the short-term crisis came to an end.

Tolerance and the Despot

 

obama as despot“That’s my reality!” she said over and over again. It was 1997, I believe, and I was relaxing with a few friends in the NCO Club at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina following my return from another tour of duty in the Mideast. A female NCO was at our table, where we all took turns telling stories from our various deployments over the years. As the number of empty beer bottles increased, so too did the eccentricity and humor of the stories, except, that is, for this solitary NCO whose demeanor became more emphatic and grim as time passed.

I forget the specifics of the stories she told, chiefly because of the startling manner in which she concluded each anecdote, leaning in for dramatic effect, her eyes widening all the while, and announcing, “THAT’S MY REALITY!” The effect was immediate and as she desired, for it foreclosed any further question or attempts to explore her perspective in depth. Indeed, it seemed that to trespass on her “reality” would have been akin to saying, “No, actually, I don’t think your children are attractive at all, and that crayon scrawl your jug-eared son drew suggests that the epilepsy meds aren’t working very well either.” Certain things just aren’t up for discussion after all, and that included her “reality.”

To her everlasting credit, however, she didn’t demand our immediate and universal endorsement of her reality, such a presumption being considered, once upon a time, rude and small-minded. She could have her reality, and we could have ours, and we would coexist in a genial conversation. But that was back then, when from the academy to the editorial page we were encouraged to push against the alleged tide of intolerance, to celebrate inclusiveness, embrace diversity and, above all, to exercise Tolerance. Remember that word? That goal? That talisman?

The Flame at the Heart of the Gay Rights Movement

 

The problem with the gay rights movement is that it is, in its very essence, insatiable.

A clear demonstration of this was on display with the recent LGBT primal scream in response to the Indiana law on religious freedom signed by Mike Pence and later “clarified” by additional legislation. The law was substantially the same (although admittedly broadened somewhat in scope) as the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” signed into law in 1993 by Bill Clinton and supported by a nearly unanimous legislature (three U.S. Senators opposed it). Nevertheless, the potential for business owners to be protected by the Indiana law from having to participate in business activities that violate their religious principles – specifically with regard to opposition to gay marriage – detonated an IED (Indiana Explosive Device) of furious destructive force.

Why RFRA Was Necessary

 

Ricochet readers who listened to last week’s Libertarian podcast know where I stand on Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Even if the political process surrounding the law’s adoption was flawed, the protections it seeks to afford for religious liberty are vital. As I note in my new column for Defining Ideas, the Indiana law did not occur in a vacuum. The more intemperate critics of the law would do well to consider that context:

…During the more than twenty years that the federal RFRA has been in operation, it has provoked relatively little litigation on provision of services issues, and courts have never read it as a blanket license to discriminate. For the most part the application of the law dealt with matters of faith and religion.

Please Stop Celebrating the Naked Public Square

 

RFRA_Indianapolis_Protests_-_2015_-_Justin_Eagan_02-615x458Fifteen years ago, as a college undergraduate, I had the opportunity to visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. It’s an interesting place, and some parts are quite moving. Nearly everyone comes away haunted by the Children’s Memorial, commemorating the 1.5 million Jewish children killed in the Holocaust. For me though, another very memorable bit was the main museum, which told the story of the Holocaust from an angle I hadn’t seen before.

Of course, I had studied the Holocaust in school and seen the classic movies. I had heard the pious cliche (laughable when you think about it) that “this is disturbing but we study it anyway so that this can never happen again.” But when American schoolteachers cover the Holocaust, the impression they give is that the extermination of Jews just resulted from a random outpouring of wild-eyed hatred, which could as easily have fallen on short people or green-eyed people or anybody else who happened to be a little different. Yad Vashem’s narrative was much more attentive to the fact that it was not short people or green-eyed people who were hated and killed; it was Jews. And that really wasn’t a point of random happenstance.

In the end, that museum basically amounts to a kind of apologia for the State of Israel. (This also explains another slightly eerie thing about Yad Vashem, which is that it is usually packed with armed and uniform-clad IDF soldiers. I gathered a visit to the museum was a normal part of their training.) It certainly gave my 20-year-old self a lot to consider. That was the first time I understood the really interesting (and tragic) thing about the Holy Land, which is that everybody there has a victim complex and, as inconvenient as that is politically, everybody there has some justification for having a victim complex. Their “victim narratives” ring true, at least to a considerable extent.

Member Post

 

Our ever-expanding definition of bullying—the most horrible of horribles—made me think it might be helpful to provide a scorecard of recent news stories to see how our journalistic leaders at mainstream outlets, pundits of the mighty blogosphere, and social-media denizens categorized various behaviors. This scorecard can serve as a cheat sheet as we try to […]

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GOP 2016: Drop Anti-SSM Plank or Drop Party Platform Entirely?

 

platformAt Hot Air yesterday, Noah Rothman asked: “Will opposition to gay marriage disappear from the GOP’s party platform?” Rothman claims that only “vicious partisans” on either side of the aisle care about platforms. I don’t know about vicious, but he’s right to say the whole platform process is outdated.

In national election years, the candidate at the top of the ticket becomes the embodiment of the party platform. Who cares about the student government-like exercise of delegates voting on an official statement of principles? Its sole purpose has become putting a social issues face on the punching bag for media coverage. The prelude to convention coverage becomes a series of divisive stories about how Republicans continue to be out of touch with young voters and emerging trends (as defined by MSM reporters). I do so hate it when they’re right.

Rothman cites polls indicating that voter sentiment on same-sex marriage is trending away from the traditional view, even among Republicans in states like New Hampshire and South Carolina. Younger voters with strong views about personal freedom are clearly leading the charge. So why not cancel the scheduled media event of a party platform debate on SSM? Isn’t the convention mostly just a kick-off event for the fall campaign anyway? Won’t social issues be pushed enough by the liberal press without Republicans themselves initiating the blood-letting?

Peter Robinson and the Constitutional Complexities of Gay Marriage

 

Peter Robinson’s post yesterday cites Robert George’s passionate attack on claims for the constitutionality of gay marriage, wherein George argues that this weighty issue should be decided analytically at the wholesale level. He looks at what he, and many others, think to be bad decisions by an activist Supreme Court and urges that Republicans, both in and out of government, should treat the decision “as an anti-constitutional and illegitimate ruling in which the judiciary has attempted to usurp the authority of the people and their elected representatives.”

This is a very radical claim and the effort to upset the doctrine of judicial supremacy, far from being confined to this decision, could easily be extended to any other ruling that is subject to extensive political disputation. Professor George seeks to make this argument by analogizing the situation with gay marriage to earlier cases. Here’s the relevant section that Peter quoted:

Answering Peter Robinson on SCOTUS and Gay Marriage

 

Peter posed a question earlier today: If the Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage, how should we respond? I defer to Richard Epstein’s views on the comparison between Dred Scott, Lochner, and gay marriage. I think that Robert P. George rightly warns of the dangers of the use of the due process clause by judges to advance their personal policy preferences. There are surely similarities between the Court’s use of substantive due process in all three periods. I think that a decision imposing gay marriage on the nation incorrectly reads our constitutional structure, just as Dred Scott mistakenly interpreted the Constitution’s original understanding of federal and state control over slavery and freedom.

But there is an important difference here, one that shouldn’t affect their legal decision but will control the political response. A majority of Americans support gay marriage now, as opposed to 2008. There will be no groundswell of opposition to the Court on gay marriage in the way there was against Dred Scott.

Calling Richard Epstein and John Yoo, or, if the Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage, How Should We Respond?

 

shutterstock_103670531Constitutional scholar Robert P. George, writing in First Things:

Dred Scott v. Sandford was the infamous case in which the Supreme Court of the United States, usurping the constitutional authority of the people acting through their elected representatives in Congress, purported to deny the power of the United States to prohibit slavery in the federal territories. It is very much worth recalling that Dred Scott was not just a case about slavery. It was a case about the scope and limits of judicial power. It was a case in which judges, lacking any warrant in the text, structure, logic, or historical understanding of the Constitution, attempted to impose their own favored resolution of a morally charged debate about public policy on the entire nation.

The Supreme Court did it again in 1905 in the case of Lochner v. New York (invalidating a worker protection statute enacted by the state legislature), and then several more times in the Warren Court era, culminating in Roe v. Wade—the Dred Scott decision of our own time. Now we face the prospect of yet another Dred Scott-type decision—this time on the question of marriage. I say that, not because same-sex relationships are the moral equivalent of slavery—they are not—but because five justices seem to be signaling that they will once again legislate from the bench by imposing, without constitutional warrant, their own beliefs about the nature and proper definition of marriage on the entire country.

Why the Export-Import Bank Was My Deal-Breaker

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 2.54.09 PMOur last poll here at Ricochet asked our members what policy position would be most likely to be a deal-breaker for them if held by a Republican presidential candidate. Despite the fact that there were 10 options, supporting citizenship for illegal aliens nearly commanded a majority (49 percent), with a pro-choice stance on abortion coming in a distant second (24 percent). All of the other options were in the single digits, with support for NSA surveillance or raising the federal minimum wage tied for third at 6 percent.

I’m apparently way outside of the Ricochet mainstream on this one, as my choice — supporting the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank — garnered only one percent of the vote, tying with marijuana legalization and sending U.S. troops to fight ISIS for dead last. Now, I can anticipate the response that some of you will have, because I heard it in a few private conversations about this survey: how on earth could you prioritize Ex-Im over the life of the unborn or combatting terrorism? Well, I don’t. But let me offer you a theory: which issue is most important to you shouldn’t necessarily be the same as which one is most disqualifying.

Let me explain: I knocked four of the 10 issues out of contention from the start because they don’t bother me. As a Republican with a conservatarian bent, I’m basically fine with marijuana legalization and gay marriage, although I wish both would be handled at the state level rather than through the non-enforcement of federal law or activism from the federal judiciary, respectively. I’m also largely (though not entirely) unbothered by NSA surveillance and pretty set on the idea that dealing effectively with ISIS will eventually necessitate some sort of American presence on the ground.

Member Post

 

I was driving on Friday and listening to “Radio Tupelo,” and heard a few minutes of Bryan Fisher, a loose cannon with a talk show on the American Family Association network. He was outraged about some news about Jeb Bush’s campaign staff, and was reading excerpts from a BuzzFeed article by McKay Coppins. The article […]

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This is an article in American Thinker, by Robert Oscar Lopez: ”The debate about same-sex parenting always seemed to degenerate into an insulting ritual, in which we had to listen quietly to other people scream at each other about us. Those of us COGs, (Children of Gay parents), who were already past the age of […]

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Supreme Court Takes Up Same-sex Marriage

 

Today, the Supreme Court granted a writ of certiorari to hear a case on the constitutionality of state bans on gay marriage. I thought, and continue to think, that the Supreme Court erred in Windsor two years ago in striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. The decision did not directly overrule the many states that had barred gay marriage, but the reasoning made it clear what a majority of the Justices think: discrimination against gays violates the Constitution.

Nevertheless, I thought it would be best for the Justices to allow the issue of a constitutional right of gays to marry to proceed through the states and the lower courts over time. As someone who supports gay marriage, I believe that the political process is the most appropriate means under our Constitution for the American people to reach a decision on gay rights.

Member Post

 

I posted this as a response in Parent A’s Libertarians thread but have decided to give it a thread of its own. I have mostly stayed out of the SSM discussions on Ricochet, but I feel this deserves consideration. It is written by an Orthodox Jew who is an award winning screenwriter, Robert J. Avrech. […]

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OK guys, I think I finally understand the root of the difference between libertarians and socons on marriage (at least the libs and socons here on Rico). Tell me what you think. I’m going state what I perceive to be your position. I make an error, I know you will correct me in the comments. […]

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Member Post

 

On Gil’s recent SSM thread, near the tail end of the comments, he said this: On this thread at least, it seems the most intense argument isn’t even about SSM. It’s about how you support children of blended or single-parent families without normalizing behavior that we don’t really want to be normalizing, for example dads walking away. Preview […]

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Member Post

 

I don’t understand. Since they believe that SSM is good for the family structure, I can’t understand why they don’t want to trade childhoods with me. You see, it’s very easy for me to imagine my childhood under the SSM regime. I wasn’t raised in a same sex household, but SSM impacts the family structure […]

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“Same sex marriage fundamentally changes the relationship of the citizen to the state.” Douglas Farrow I think libertarians and other limited government proponents will find this argument by Douglas Farrow interesting. He wrote a book called Nation of Bastards that I highly recommend. It was very influential in changing my thinking on this issue. (Some […]

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