Friday, May 16, 2008

With Friends Like These ...

The California Supreme Court Thursday ruled that according to the state's Constitution, same sex couples cannot be denied the right to marriage. The arguments for and against the decision are predictable, in that gays and lesbians in California, and perhaps the rest of the nation, now have some degree of acknowledgment that they are human beings with the same inalienable rights as anyone else, and those who are against equal marriage rights will rail against "activist judges" and whatnot, and will simply redouble their efforts to somehow knock equal marriage off the books in California, as well as dig in and do whatever they can to prevent it from ever happening in the other 48 states (Massachusetts excluded for the time-being).

One arena, however, where the reaction is a surprise is among certain "liberals" and "progressives." A prime example of supposed liberals ready to throw the gays under the bus should the Democratic party blow another presidential election this year is The New Republic's Josh Patashnik.

Writing in TNR's blog "The Plank," Patashnik, a "not that there's anything wrong with that" sort of liberal, opens his ridiculously uninformed post by sighing, "Another Year, Another Gay Marriage Ruling." As if to say, "ho hum, big deal, yadda yadda yadda, there goes the annual gay parade again."  

Essentially, what Patashnik, who quickly tries to dispel any notion that he is not enlightened by stating, "as a Californian, I'm quite pleased that my state now recognizes gay marriages," believes, is that this is a matter that should not have been decided by the court, but by voters. Does this not sound like the argument that people like George W. Bush, John McCain, et al, say when talking about "gay marriage"? (Oh, and by the way, Josh, it's not "gay  marriage." It's just, plain, "marriage." There is no such thing as "black marriage," "atheist marriage," "elderly marriage," or anything like that. It's just marriage.) The Republicans and others against equal marriage twist and shout about "activist judges." But these Supreme Court judges were elected by the voters! This is why, in a republic such as ours, we elect people to serve us in the courts and legislatures -- to represent the people who elected them to serve, and the judges in California have done just that.

I paraphrase here, but the argument among these types seems to be, "Can't you just wait until the old people who hate gays die off and the enlightened population votes to make 'gay marriage' legal?" This is really easy to say -- if you're not gay or lesbian and if you already have the option of marriage (as well as the associated health care and tax benefits) available to you. Why do they even dare to suggest this? What are they afraid of? Could it be ...  

Patashnik, as well as some of the folks who have commented on his column, also are already polluting the waters of defeat by suggesting this could fuel the energies of otherwise uninterested and nearly defeated Republicans, evangelicals and other social regressives by propelling them into the streets and voting booths this year, leading, eventually, to a Republican presidential victory in November.  

Ah, so there we are. These spineless, frightened "liberals" are so insecure and unsure of the ability of a Democrat to win presidential election in November that they have already started to blame the gays for the loss. Stop the presses, we need to add a new chapter to "Profiles in Courage." 

Patashnik's defeatism is astounding. Throughout his piece he is of the opinion that (and I paraphrase again) "it'll all be voted down anyway" or "the evil conservatives and god-believers will just get angry and try even harder to deny you what you want." You know what, Josh, they hate us now, they hated us for awhile, and marriage or no marriage, they're gonna hate us for some time to come. Have you seen any of those stories from places like Pennsylvania and West Virginia about the Democratic primaries, and how people shout things like, "Hang that darkie from a tree!" and they believe that, according to the Bible, when a Muslim -- they're talking about Obama here -- becomes president of the United States, the world will end in an apocalyptic war? This, a good 150 years after slavery was ended and blacks were freed. But there are white people who still hate them, who will still vote against them, and who are only stopped from hurting them, killing them, or denying them a job or a home because of their color because there are laws against such things. (That's right, ours is a society based on law, not voter referendum.) 

Aside from those misgivings, Patashnik also believes that this judicial action just won't feel right to anyone who wants equal marriage. He says, "My fear is that judicial involvement here will always taint a victory that might otherwise have been achieved through democratic means." That's the way to stand up for what's right, Josh! Hooray for you! Just imagine if President Lincoln had told the nation that he believed slavery was wrong, but he didn't want to taint the freedom of African-Americans by getting the executive or judicial branches involved, so the repeal of slavery should just be left up to voters in each of the states. And when did the big national referendum on Black-White and Christian-Jew marriages take place? Must have been before I was born -- I don't remember that. Of course people like him can say "just wait" -- because they don't have to!

No doubt Patashnik, who says he's soooo happy that California now has "gay marriage" on the books also claims some "gay friends," but my, what a timid friend he must be.

No comments: