That Anti-Gay Double Standard

The National Organization for Marriage is thrilled with a Nevada judge who ruled that banning same-sex marriage does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. NOM’s chairman writes:

In stark contrast to the findings of a rogue judge in California who himself was engaged in a long-term homosexual relationship, the federal court in Nevada has quite properly found that true marriage serves an important public purpose and is entitled to protection.

I’ll pass over the hilarious notion that a judge who wasn’t overturned by the Ninth Circuit Apellate Court is somehow “rogue.” I’m more interested in that side comment:

…who himself was engaged in a long-term homosexual relationship…

You know what he’s implying. Judge Walker had a personal stake in Prop 8, which compromises his ruling. You can certainly dispute that, but for the sake of argument, let’s accept NOM’s principle and apply it to Robert Clive Jones, the Nevada judge whom NOM so deeply admires. What do we find?

  • Robert Clive Jones is Mormon who is active in the church.
  • Robert Clive Jones is married to a woman.

Personally, I have no problem with that. But NOM? Oh my gosh. If NOM is true to its principles then it ought to be in full repudiation mode against the man.

NOM, you see, holds that marriage equality is a threat to religious freedom. It’s probably their central argument these days. And Mormon religious leaders have said the same, and have done so more than once.

This means that as an active Mormon, Jones has a personal stake in the ruling — according to both NOM’s standards and those of his church. Obviously, then, NOM should issue an ad hominem fatwa against him, just as they did against Judge Walker.

No? Not enough?

Then how about this: NOM holds that same-sex marriage is a threat to “traditional” marriage, and Jones is “traditionally” married. In fact, you can find some of this sentiment in Jones’ own ruling:

Should [marriage] be expanded to include same-sex couples with the state’s imprimatur, it is conceivable that a meaningful percentage of heterosexual persons would cease to value the civil institution as highly as they previously had and hence enter into it less frequently…

“Conceivable”? I suppose it is, at least in the sense that anything you can describe in words is “conceivable,” in the sense that it’s conceivable North Korea actually has discovered a medieval unicorn lair, but still, we’re not basing our judicial rulings on the possibility.

This conceivable notion is so implausible I have to wonder why Jones considers it “meaningful.” Could it be that Jones is worried he’d value his own marriage less if marriage equality were made law? Once again, there’s a personal interest, a reason for NOM to reject his ruling.

This is all ludicrous, of course. And that’s the point. We let black judges rule on civil rights cases. We let women judges rule on birth control and abortion cases. We let devout judges rule on religious freedom cases. And we let gay judges rule on same-sex marriage cases.

But NOM screams STOP at that last example. Not that NOM has anything against gays. There’s no anti-gay double standard at work. Surely not — NOM is just standing by its principles. Principles they only want to enforce against, well, gays.


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4 comments to That Anti-Gay Double Standard

  • 1
    clayton says:

    You just don’t understand, Rob.  It goes like this:
    1) NOM only likes judges when the judges are completely objective, and
    2) NOM gets to decide which judges are objective and which arent, because
    3) NOM itself is completely and unfailingly objective.
    Did that help clear things up?

  • 2
    Matt says:

    The double standard goes very deep–and is quite understandable, I think (though obviously irrational and bigotted): Those in the majority tend to define minorities in terms of their difference, while viewing themselves as individuals, shaped by their own personal experiences of the world rather than by their identity as a member of the majority. Applied to gay vs. straight, this means that our opponents view gay people as gay and straight people as people. Gay is something that you do, while straight is something that you are. Notice that NOM’s chairman refers to Judge Walker as “engaged in” a homosexual relationship. Nobody ever uses language like that of straight relationships (marriage or otherwise)!
    Given that myopic attitude–to be gay is to “engage in” homosexuality, but to be straight is just to be a person–it’s understandable why NOM would regard Judge Walker’s ruling as self-serving, while completely failing to see Judge Jones’s ruling in the same light.

  • 3
    robtish says:

    Matt, thanks for this comment! Two things that will stick with me: “our opponents view gay people as gay and straight people as people.” Please don’t be cross if you see that repeated in another post.

    And this: “Notice that NOM’s chairman refers to Judge Walker as “engaged in” a homosexual relationship. Nobody ever uses language like that of straight relationships (marriage or otherwise)!”

    That’s a great catch.

  • 4
    Matt says:

    You’re welcome! And of course I won’t be cross. You’ve given me plenty of talking points and new ways to think about things in the past.

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