Segregationists already wrote the conservative response to the Supreme Court

If justice prevails, the Supreme Court will establish marriage equality throughout the country before summer is out. Conservatives will have to respond quickly, but also carefully, especially if they’ve declared their intention to run for president. Luckily, the job’s already been done for them.

Back in 1956, 101 segregationists in Congress protested the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling, which integrated public schools, by issuing the Southern Manifesto. All we need to do is change a few words of that manifesto, and the exact principles used to protest the end of racist education can also protest the advent of same-sex marriage nationwide.

Here’s the (adjusted) text:

The unwarranted decision of the Supreme Court in the public school marriage cases is now bearing the fruit always produced when men substitute naked power for established law.

The Founding Fathers gave us a Constitution of checks and balances because they realized the inescapable lesson of history that no man or group of men can be safely entrusted with unlimited power. They framed this Constitution with its provisions for change by amendment in order to secure the fundamentals of government against the dangers of temporary popular passion or the personal predilections of public officeholders.

We regard the decisions of the Supreme Court in the school marriage cases as a clear abuse of judicial power. It climaxes a trend in the Federal Judiciary undertaking to legislate, in derogation of the authority of Congress, and to encroach upon the reserved rights of the States and the people.

The original Constitution does not mention education marriage. Neither does the 14th Amendment nor any other amendment. The debates preceding the submission of the 14th Amendment clearly show that there was no intent that it should affect the system of education marriage maintained by the States.

This is not a joke. Or a poe. This is a real thing. Those segregationists managed to anticipate the very same Constitutional arguments our opponents are pushing today.

Power-mad judges and justices are legislating from the bench? Check!

This ought to be decided by the states? Check!

The Constitution doesn’t mention the matter? Check!

The 14th Amendment never intended such an interpretation? Check!

They even managed to work in the argument from tradition:

Though there has been no constitutional amendment or act of Congress changing this established legal principle almost a century 3000 years old [or 6000 years, or even more, if you’re not a young-earth creationist], the Supreme Court of the United States, with no legal basis for such action, undertook to exercise their naked judicial power and substituted their personal political and social ideas for the established law of the land.

Opponents of marriage equality have already set themselves up to use this statement by issuing an amici curiae brief to the Supreme Court, signed by six Senators and 51 representatives. Let’s reverse what we did above and see how easy it be to turn quotes from that recent brief into statements that would fit right into the Southern Manifesto.

State democratic processes, not federal courts, are the fundamental incubators of change in public policy and social structure.

Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships Ending segregation in schools does not fall within the “clear and central purpose” of any express constitutional provision…

[R]edefining the institution of marriage to encompass same-sex couples Abolishing segregated schools cannot be viewed as falling within the “central meaning” or the “clear and central purpose” of the Fourteenth Amendment…

[T]here has been a long tradition favoring the traditional definition of marriage segregated schools, which has been reaffirmed in democratic enactments adopted by a majority of States…

See? The translation works both ways. You can go from the Southern Manifesto to the amici curiae and back again.

Of course, our opposition would never identify with segregationists or admit to wanting to take away our rights, whether it’s marriage or employment or hospital visitation. No, they’re simply trying to keep their states safe while outside mediators are threatening immediate and revolutionary changes — sorry, that last bit was from the Manifesto.

Rather, let’s say they’re protecting tradition from “people wear their sexuality on their sleeve” (in the words of Rep. Steve King, who signed the Supreme Court brief and lists his sexual partner on his government web page). Everything would be fine if homogays just stayed quietly in the closet. This all the fault of uppity outsiders who want to wreck a system that’s been working just fine. Or, as the segregationists said:

This unwarranted exercise of power by the Court, contrary to the Constitution, is creating chaos and confusion in the States principally affected. It is destroying the amicable relations between the white and Negro races that have been created through 90 years of patient effort by the good people of both races. It has planted hatred and suspicion where there has been heretofore friendship and understanding.

And with arguments like that, how could you possibly want change?

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My most quickly-favorited and retweeted tweet ever

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Supporters (accidentally) reveal why the Indiana law is different

Supporters of Indiana’s “religious freedom” bill have dishonestly claimed it’s just like its cousins in federal law and 19 other states. But the irony of pushing a lie again and again is that your efforts might inadvertently uncover the truth. That’s exactly what happened with The Federalist’s article, “Meet 10 Americans Helped By Religious Freedom Bills Like Indiana’s.” It gives examples of people whose religious freedom was protected from senseless government intrusion, like:

  • Native American children who wanted to keep their hair long, despite school policy,
  • A Jewish prisoner denied Kosher meals, and
  • A religious non-profit that “provides housing and religious instruction to petty offenders released from state prisons,” but was threatened by a new city ordinance.

It’s a great list. These are everyday people, often in powerless situations, who simply want to live according to their beliefs without harming anyone. But it’s a bad list, too, because far from showing how the Indiana law is just like the others, it actually highlights two key differences.

1.  No one was harmed by the free exercise of religion in these cases.

Long hair, kosher  meals — no one can claim real harm from such things, nothing they could prove in court, at least. And if some private individual had been harmed, they could have sued, because the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (and most state RFRAs) doesn’t offer protection against suits brought by private individuals.

But the Indiana law is different. It provides exactly that sort of protection. It’s what this part of the law means:

A person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a violation of this chapter may assert the violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding, regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.

I emphasized the key bit. Other laws don’t contain this. Other laws require the government to be part of the action before you can invoke an RFRA defense. But if I, as a private citizen, can show you’ve harmed me — say, by firing me from a job or denying me housing or services — then I can bring suit on my own and you can’t invoke an RFRA in your defense. In Indiana, though…you can.

I hope that doesn’t seem trivial. Consider: when only the government is involved, when no one can actually prove harm (as in the cases above), there’s a good chance the intrusion on religious freedom really is pointless, and it makes sense to protect against it. But when it goes beyond the government, when your free exercise is harming those around you to the degree that they can prove damages in court, then you’re just claiming a special religious right to hurt people. And is that what we want religious freedom to be?

2. None of the people or group protected were for-profit organizations.

Our hearts and minds go out to the people on this list because they have a personal conscience or (in the case of the halfway house) their entire existence is centered on religious conviction. That isn’t generally true of for-profit businesses (and certainly not at a place like Exxon, for instance, which for years refused to include gay people in it nondiscrimination policy). That’s why most RFRAs only protected individuals — actual living humans — and religious groups. This may have changed with the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, but it was never the intent of the people who passed those laws.

But the Indiana law is different. It explicitly includes things like a “partnership, a limited liability company, a corporation,a company, a firm, a society, a joint-stock company…regardless of whether the entity is organized and operated for profit or nonprofit purposes.” Sure, you’ll need to show the individuals involved “have control and substantial ownership of the entity,” but, hey, that’s what legal departments are for. This is an enormous expansion, and whether you think it’s justified or not, you can’t claim it’s just like all the other RFRAs that have been around for years.

This all takes us far away from where we started: Powerless individuals and constitutionally-protected religious groups who want to live their lives and fulfill their missions while doing harm to no one. We end up with a whole new arena filled with for-profit businesses that have a new, potentially potent defense they can invoke as convenient when they do harm. It’s just like in the Bible, except in this bizarro version, Jesus is on the side of the money-lenders.

(Note: An early version of this article attributed the list to the Heritage Foundation. That is incorrect; it appeared in The Federalist.)

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The Crazy Anti-Gay Bigotry of the Liberty Counsel

The virulently, almost hysterically, anti-gay Liberty Counsel has offered an amicus brief to the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals. Its official purpose is to strike down rulings for same-sex marriage, but it can’t resist pushing one of its favorite notions: that gay men are pedophiles.

I refer to crazy bigotry in my title, but that’s redundant. Bigotry, almost by definition, is an emotional reaction that cuts one off from facts and reason, and that’s what crazy is. You’ll see that in bizarre reasoning used in this brief.

It shows up in what’s almost a throwaway line:

In 2010, young MSB (men having sex with boys, aged 13-24 years) accounted for 72 percent of new HIV infections among all persons aged 13 to 24.

“Men having sex with boys.” They got this assertion from the CDC, which worded it more clearly honestly:

In 2010, young gay and bisexual men (aged 13-24 years) accounted for 72% of new HIV infections among all persons aged 13 to 24, and 30% of new infections among all gay and bisexual men.

I’m sure you can see the many distortions Liberty Counsel managed to insert as they twisted this information.

  • The CDC did not indicate how many of these young gay and bisexual men were infected via sex. I imagine many were, but Liberty Counsel is insisting they all were.
  • The CDC did not indicate indicate how many of these young gay and bisexual men were infected by men. Again, I imagine some were (no one denies that boys — and girls — get molested), but many were likely infected by their peers.
  • And most obviously — I imagine you’re practically screaming this by now — on what planet do we count 18-24-year-olds as boys? This is more than half that age range, men who can vote and serve in the military, and they are boys? And Liberty Counsel’s source doesn’t indicate what fraction of the group falls in this clearly adult range. The group, in fact, is likely to skew toward the older end.

Liberty Counsel actually anticipates this in a footnote, but it only serves to illuminate how crazy, how divorced from fact and reason, they are:

Since the incubation period for HIV can be 10-12 years, this means that they were first infected when they were 3 to 14 years old.

One obvious rejoinder would that just because the incubation period can be 10-12 years, that doesn’t mean it necessarily is. But that misses the point. The incubation period, of course, is the time from infection to the full onset of AIDS. The CDC, however, is not talking about AIDS, but about the age at initial infection. This whole incubation-period argument is nonsense, along with their “3 to 14 years old” conclusion.

Let me amend that: This whole “men having sex with boys” argument is nonsense, at least as presented in the brief.

That being said, I don’t claim Liberty Counsel is trying to deceive anyone. They may be completely sincere; crazy people often are. I’m also not saying their intentions are innocent. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have staff retreats devoted to nothing but inventing ways to spread vile statements about us. What stunning here is the naked stupidity with which they present their disgusting fantasies. And that, of course, can only be explained by recognizing homophobia truly is a mental and psychological disorder.

And with that, we can dismiss the rest of the brief. Not that I’ve proven it’s wrong from start to finish — I just mean it’s not worth our time. Once you hear the guy on the corner scream out one crazy thing, you don’t stick around to fact-check the rest of his rant. That’s just masochism. And in this case, Liberty Counsel truly is the crazy guy screaming on the corner.

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More questions, more answers (part 2)

This is part 2 of my answers to questions posed by Jason Salamone, who “is a former liberal agnostic, but surrendered to Christ on April 7th, 2011.” You can find part 1 here. It covered his first 11 questions, so let’s pick up with #12. (And I’m afraid this time I wasn’t able to hold back the snark he provokes as we get closer to the end.)

(12.) Not every marriage produces children, but every child has a biological mother and father. By redefining marriage to mean that those biological connections as unnecessary, are we not teaching society that children are commodities for adult desires, and that marriage is not about the children’s needs?

   Read more…

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More questions, more answers (part 1)

I don’t know why I find it so compelling, this anti-gay strategy of asking scary gotcha questions instead of offering substantive arguments, but I always feel a near-irresistible urge to answer them. Apparently it’s always been this way. This is from one of my first-grade teacher evaluations:

Well, finally Bobby remembers to raise his hand to talk. I was so pleased and then he acquired a new twist. Now when he raises his hand he keeps saying my name until I answer. So we are currently working on that.

Yes, I was that kid (“Mrs. Boyer! Mrs. Boyer! Mrs. Boyer!”) who always had to know the answer.

Well, I found another list of questions, this time from Jason Salamone, who “is a former liberal agnostic, but surrendered to Christ on April 7th, 2011.”

I have a few questions for the pro-homosexual practice crowd and same-sex “marriage” advocates. I have no issues with them attempting to actually answer the following questions, feel free, but I’m also respectfully challenging them to ponder these questions themselves…

I actually like this list, because it’s as if he compiled what our opponents considered their best unanswerable gotchas. Might be handy for us to a set of ready-made responses. He’s got 21 questions, so I’ll do 11 today and the rest in my next post.

To begin:    Read more…

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The Best Worst Graphic Ever

I recently saw an anti-gay graphic on JoeMyGod that excels so thoroughly at destroying its own message it feels like the best worst graphic ever.  I’m an instructional designer and a big part of my job is creating direct, clear, effective messaging, so I felt compelled, almost as a professional exercise, to analyze what makes it so perfectly disastrous. This is probably just for my fellow geeks, nerds, and dorks, but have a look at this masterpiece.    Read more…

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Dangerous Medical Experimentation on Teens

Laurie Higgins is the “Cultural Analyst” for the Illinois Family Institute, and she’s quite agitated about the state’s attempt to ban conversion therapy for teens.

…they want minors to be prohibited from even hearing any ideas that may be linked to their unchosen same-sex attraction, because such ideas undermine the unproven, non-factual, self-serving assumptions of homosexual activists and their highly politicized, Leftist mental health community allies.

Such a tizzy. Though I’m not sure exactly what it means. But Laurie clearly thinks it’s a bad idea.

The sponsors of this bill have marshalled an unimpressive array of claims from mental “health” organizations, all of which are loaded with biased and ambiguous language in support of an astoundingly totalitarian bill. If we have any really good critical thinkers and debaters in Springfield, they should be able to shred this bill in a floor debate.

Not just regular totalitarian, like in North Korea or the Soviet Union, but astoundingly so.

Now you might think Laurie is about to shred the bill with facts and careful analysis. But that’s not her style. Laurie would rather just ask questions of the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Kelly Cassidy. I’ve seen this just askin’ strategy before. It’s lazy and dishonest. Lazy, because it doesn’t require any evidence or even decent reasoning just to ask a question. Dishonest, because it leaves a gullible reader thinking a point’s been made even though nothing’s actually been said. The reader just fills in the missing answers with whatever the author insinuates.

The danger with this strategy, though, is that we can demolish simply by answering the questions. So let’s give that a try. Before we begin, though, let’s establish one thing. There is no evidence conversion therapy works, and a good bit of evidence that it can be harmful, so let’s call it what it is: dangerous medical experimentation on teens. That’s what it is, and that’s what we should always call it. Now, with that out of the way, first question:    Read more…

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The People We'll Never Reach

What I say:

My husband and I went to a gay charity event for L.A. Children’s Hospital, and it was lovely to see all the clothes and toys this group of good people had brought to the party.

What they hear:

My SatanSatanSatan! and I went to a SatanSatanSatan! for L.A. Children’s Hospital and it was lovely to see all the clothes and toys this SatanSatanSatan! had brought to the SatanSatanSatan!

Bonus distortion:

More proof that homosexuals (SatanSatanSatan!) are obsessed with children.

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The Swaggart Legacy:

I’ve long suspected much of the paranoia coming from our opponents is projection: they worry if we gain popular support we’ll start treating them the way they treated us for years decades centuries millennia.  How bad can this paranoia get? Here’s Donnie Swaggart speaking on a Christian channel:

All of this is to shut the Bible up. They want the Bible gone. And I’m going to make a statement: These people that are trying to do this in Houston, the only difference between them and ISIS, those thugs in Iraq, is those here cannot chop our heads off. That’s the only difference. The heart is the same. The heart is the same. If they could silence us that way to intimidate others, that’s exactly what they would do.

To complete the circle, let’s visit with the man who raised Donnie, his father, evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, speaking to his congregation almost exactly 10 years earlier:

I’ve never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I’m going to be blunt and plain — if one ever looks at me like that, I’m going to kill him and tell God he died.

Cue applause.

Watch the video. It’s chilling. Swaggart did apologize later…kinda.

It’s a humorous statement that doesn’t mean anything. You can’t lie to God — it’s ridiculous. If it’s an insult, I certainly didn’t think it was, but if they are offended, then I certainly offer an apology.

You have to wonder what does count as an insult in the privacy of Jimmy Swaggart’s home, the home where Donnie grew up.

Of course, for this to be true projection, Donnie would have to feel about us the way he’s accusing us of feeling about him. I haven’t found any direct indication that he does. But saying gays want to murder Christians is a good way of getting his followers to that point.

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