Cue the angry, hashtag filled tweets and the circular firing squad. The GOP civil war continues unabated as dozens of prominent Republicans have signed on to a brief supporting marriage equality and urging SCOTUS to strike down Prop 8.
From The New York Times:
Dozens of prominent Republicans — including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress — have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry, a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election.
The document will be submitted this week to the Supreme Court in support of a suit seeking to strike down Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, and all similar bans. The court will hear back-to-back arguments next month in that case and another pivotal gay rights case that challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.
So, who are these prominent Republicans?
Among them are Meg Whitman, who supported Proposition 8 when she ran for California governor; Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York; Stephen J. Hadley, a Bush national security adviser; Carlos Gutierrez, a commerce secretary to Mr. Bush; James B. Comey, a top Bush Justice Department official; David A. Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first budget director; and Deborah Pryce, a former member of the House Republican leadership from Ohio who is retired from Congress.
Another conservative who has signed on to the pro-marriage equality brief is former Utah governor and Ambassador Jon Huntsman, who ran for President in 2012 on a platform favoring civil unions over marriage equality, but who has now committed the ultimate Republican sin and changed his mind. Huntsman recently published an article over at The American Conservatie called Marriage Equality Is a Conservative Cause. In it, Huntsman talks about his own marriage and says:
There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love.
All Americans should be treated equally by the law, whether they marry in a church, another religious institution, or a town hall. This does not mean that any religious group would be forced by the state to recognize relationships that run counter to their conscience. Civil equality is compatible with, and indeed promotes, freedom of conscience.
Marriage is not an issue that people rationalize through the abstract lens of the law; rather it is something understood emotionally through one’s own experience with family, neighbors, and friends. The party of Lincoln should stand with our best tradition of equality and support full civil marriage for all Americans.
Expect Huntsman and his fellow signatories to be called traitors, RINOS, liberals, and worse for their stance. Anti-gay groups such as NOM have already made it clear that any pro-marriage equality Republicans will face their wrath, especially if they hope to win elective office:
“NOM will do everything in our power to defeat any Republican who votes in favor of same-sex marriage. Legislators need look no further than what happened to GOP Senators in New York. Four of them were responsible for passing gay marriage. We helped take out three of those Senators by repeatedly informing their constituents of their betrayal on marriage.”
Social conservatives rant and rave about marriage equality and LGBT civil rights being the harbinger of doom for America, but let’s be blunt here — demographics and time are NOT on their side. The tide in this country is turning.
To start with, there is simply no valid legal argument against marriage equality. Every argument boils down to either religious objections or personal discomfort with LGBT people. That’s not enough. The state is not obligated to codify your personal or religious issues with LGBT people. Just because you don’t like gay people doesn’t mean that the state must discriminate against them on your behalf. In fact, the state is prevented from doing that at all.
Also, entire generations have grown up with LGBT friends and family living their lives openly. It’s getting harder and harder to scare people about teh ghey leading to awful things like dogs and cats living together and the foundations of civilization falling into ruin when they can just look at their brother or sister or friend or cousin in a committed, loving relationship and know in their hearts that the fearmongering and bigotry are wrong.
Despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the socon right, it’s only a matter of time before marriage equality is the law in all fifty states. As a straight gal fully in favor of full civil rights and equality for LGBT people, I’m looking forward to it.