The last week has been interesting where issues of marriage equality are concerned. Between Rick Perry getting clowned on YouTube, the outing of one of the ad's authors, with Newt's own sister siding against him, with Newt upping the ante and supporting a Constitutional Amendment to ban marriage equality, and now Mitt Romney making a grievous error in judgement in thinking a vet would be supportive of his brand of bigotry.
The Primary fight seems to be gearing up, and the GOP's candidates seem to be realizing that economic issues are not their strong suit right now. Not with a House and Senate that are sitting on legislation and without much rudder save to say "President BAD!" so instead it looks as if the field wants to outdo one another on the issue of marriage equality.
Yes, I use marriage equality. Gay marriage is an odd term, since folks don't gay pump gas, get gay inheritance, or gay eat dinner. This apparently, sets me apart from a fair number of folks in the GOP's current field of candidates though.
Michelle Bachmann has asserted that homosexuals are currently free to marry anyone that they want, so long as it's someone they're not attracted to. There is some rumbling that it could be a bit closer to home for her than just a wedge issue, but illustrative of her own marriage, but that isn't really the issue here.
Rick Santorum is now infamous in his support of family values--or rather, supporting a vision of family values that only supports a some families.
Now, we have Newt and Romney gearing up to slap fight over the issue. On one hand, you have the former Governor of Massachusetts who fought against marriage equality--and lost--and Newt who wants to see a whole new breed of Constitutional Amendment precedent started by proposing one that would actually limit citizens' rights for the first time in our history.
Couple it with Glenn Beck's attacks on Newt, and Breitbart's backing away from GOProud, and you are witnessing the beginnings of an epic slap fest in the offing. Each candidate is trying to define themselves in such a way that they can maximize profits from a increasingly beleaguered electorate that has only so many dollars to donate to the fight. And worse, it is a fight that they are losing in the court of public opinion, as the aging demographic that fears marriage equality is growing smaller, while a youth fired electorate is becoming inspired.
Romney's stop in New Hampshire, and attempt to pander by choosing a vet to appeal to, and having it backfire shows a bit of problem. He's not alone in it, since Rick Perry managed to enable voting for his ad on YouTube to rocket himself to infamy. You have Fox News releasing a recent poll on air that showed that the President is far more popular than any of the GOP candidates that they offered, and now Romney hands a vet a proverbial weapon on camera, without knowing where the vet was going to shoot. He assumed that a vet would be an easy mark for pandering, and was schooled in knowing his audience, vetting folks before appearing with them, and missing the idea that he might just be on the wrong side of history.
The current GOP field has a somewhat storied relationship with the concept of marriage equality. My own favorite for the Primary, Buddy Roemer personally does not support it, but he is in support of states' rights to choose and supports states that assert that they will stand for such unions. Huntsman supports civil unions, but falls short on marriage equality. Johnson used to support civil unions, but now figures that the government has no business deciding who should be married. It is less than ideal.
It is less than ideal, and it is less than ideal, since few are willing to approach the hypocrisy of it.
Not in Rick Perry's willingness to employ homosexuals. Not Bachmann's own somewhat sad tale of a marriage based on lies. Not the support of a faith based on love and compassion, and twisted to support fear and hate. Those are all issues, but ultimately, we have to address the basic problems with Republican values of support of the Constitution and the concept of slicing off rights for citizens based on Biblical notions.
It violates the freedom of religion, first and foremost. Not all faiths, not all ministries, are against marriage equality. In Iowa alone over 175 ministries stepped forward to oppose a ban on gay marriage. By asserting that the dogma of some faith supersedes others, it violates the freedom of religion. That atheists are bound to this spiral against marriage equality, is even more a violation of the freedom of religion. Folks want to ban marriage to some within their own ministries, they should be allowed to do so, but when they assert that their dogma be accepted by all, we have exactly the sort of issue that the First Amendment was created for.
Equal access under the law and the right to privacy? Those are likewise issues that illustrate why this is the wrong issue for the GOP to support. We cannot claim to be the party of responsibility, when we abandon these principles.
And what is lacking now, are folks pointing this out to our candidates. Instead, they pander to radicals who see the nation engaged in some kind of holy war, and blind to the fact that their own Fundamentalism mirrors that of other nations, that they really don't like.
If anything, this push against classic Republicanism--and the lack of support of states' rights in an attempt to force a Constitutional Amendment to limit the rights of citizens--has to be opposed, and questions brought before the candidates, over and over again, on how they can reconcile their Republicanism with this facile veneer of "Social Conservatism" that is neither very social and certainly rooted in radicalism...
Crossposted to The Motley Moose