The high point of yesterday’s hearings was when Elena Kagan read the Congressional justification of the Defense of Marriage Act. “Congress decided to reflect and honor of collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality.” Ouch! But Paul Clement was quick on his feet and noted that, yes, it does say that, but that the court really shouldn’t look at that statement because it was just what some minority of congress members thought. Is that true?
Let me put this in three different ways. Of course not! Of course not! Of course not! Is Clement fucking kidding me? All these kinds of anti-gay laws are enacted because those enacting them hate gays. It is as simple as that. And it was repugnant listening to his song and dance about how DOMA was just meant to clarify the law. Look: there are two ways to clarify the law: accept same sex marriage or reject it. DOMA not only rejected it on the state level (red states don’t have to recognize the satanic blue state same sex marriage laws), it rejected it on the federal level. All together now: because they hated gays!
One thing that I most hate about conservatives is how they are never held accountable for their vile policy positions. Jonathan Chait wrote about that this morning, Next Stage for Gay Rights: Conservative Amnesia. His anger in the article is that conservatives are already trying to rewrite their positions on gay rights, even before they’ve changed their positions on gay rights. Rob Portman does not a movement make.
But as the hearing yesterday shows: rewriting is not valid. Republicans have been horrible on issues related to gay rights. As I pointed out yesterday, it’s all about their Christian Intolerance. Of course, much the same thing can be said of Democrats. But all the liberalization of views toward gay rights that we’ve seen over the past decade or so? That’s almost entirely Democrats. Republicans (especially politicians) are not much more evolved on the subject than they were before.
Jonathan Chait wrote a brilliant article last year about how conservatives were trying to rewrite their history of racism, The Conservative Fantasy History of Civil Rights. It is interesting how they’ve attempted to do this. They just pretend that the second half of the twentieth century never happened. Yep: the Democratic Party was very racist in the 19th century! The Republicans ended slavery! Therefore: Democrats are racists today and Republicans are the defenders of minority rights!
E. J. Graff wrote a really good article over at The American Prospect that gets right to the heart of what is going on, Falling Through the Looking Glass. She notes that we are looking at two worlds at once: the past with all its hatred of gays and the future where no one (outside the religious extremists) will care. But here’s the thing: she sees these things in the same people. Because the people against gay rights will no longer admit (in polite company anyway) that they hate the gays. In fact, most of the time, they’re just looking out for them!
Twenty years from now, all politicians will be in favor of gay rights. It won’t be a partisan issue. Even the people who voted for DOMA will claim they were always for gay rights. It is just that they wanted to clarify what marriage meant! But I’m not inclined to let them get away with it. We will never go back. Allowing bigots to save face does not have to be part of the deal.