If this really were about the sanctity of marriage, it would be one thing. But, it is pretty clear to me at least that it isn't, and all I see is the same old reliance on selected biblical passages, the mean-spiritedness, the anger and venom and unfounded hostility, the dire predictions of apocalypse and the absurd invocation of states right's and the future of our children. It is the same old hate wrapped up and packaged for another demographic. And, as far as I can tell, it is coming from the same crowd of people who 40 years ago would have been fighting to keep my black students and my black next-door neighbor drinking in a different fountain. Quite frankly, I have had enough of it.
This is the new right. It isn't small government. It is friend of the KKK Tony Perkins (chief of the Family Research Council). Unified by fear, hatred, and a corruption of Christianity, folks like Perkins and his allies are desperate to create a theocratic vision of American--differing from Iran only in degree, not kind. And their "secular" allies like Karl Rove are only too happy to indulge them--so long as it continues to give the GOP political muscle. This may win elections, at the moment, anyway, but it is the farthest thing from American values and the American way. And every person of conscience should speak out against it.
Perhaps the most disturbing manifestation of this puritanical urge for purification was this chilling ultimatum to homosexuals by Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) (link: John Cole). When asked what he would tell gay and lesbian war veterans who returned to the state to find the law he just signed prohibiting same sex marriage, he responded:
Texans have made a decision about marriage and if there is some other state that has a more lenient view than Texas then maybe that's a better place for them to live
Or, to rephrase in Andrew Sullivan's words: What do you call a gay man who risks his life to serve his country? A faggot. (link: Cole again).
A few months back, I wrote how in the post-election period, my focus very quickly shifted away from terrorism and toward the status of gay and lesbian Americans as the most distressing casualty of election 2004:
But after the election, undoubtedly aided by the 11 states passing anti-gay marriage referendums, I found that the issue that most arose my ire was gay rights. Part of it was due to Andrew Sullivan's coverage of the reaction in the gay community. It wasn't resignation, or disappointment, or even anger. It was fear. They were genuinely afraid of the message being sent by the rest of the country. It was loud, resounding, and universal: We don't want you. You're not welcome here. You aren't part of the American community. That message seriously disturbs me. When America starts telling its vulnerable minorities that they aren't welcome, starts passing laws that seek to relegate disliked groups to legal, moral, and political inferiority, we have a problem. And I do believe that this problem ranks right with the war on terror as one of the great moral challenges of our times.
If the baseline for continued Democratic legitimacy in the 21st century is support for the war on terror, then the baseline for Republican moral legitimacy is support for gay rights. Unfortunately, I see far fewer Republicans rising to this challenge than Democrat's rising to theirs.
Back then, that statement could have been characterized as hyperbole. But now, Governor Perry has explicitly told his gay constituents to quite literally get the hell out of Dodge. This abdication of moral duty continues on, unchecked, unhindered, and encouraged by a core group of radicals who see any affirmation of the dignity of gay citizens as an affirmation of sin. It seems that every vote which can be squeezed out of kicking homosexual Americans is a vote Republican fundamentalists are only too happy to seize. In such an environment, freedom is dead.