Wednesday, May 14, 2014
As bans of marriage equality have been struck down in state after state—just like one was today in Idaho—the radical right complains, predictably, about “judicial tyranny” (which can be defined as any court ruling they don’t like). But some of those bans were put in place by the Karl Rove/Ken Mehlman plot to increase Republican voter turnout by holding anti-gay referenda on marriage equality. That’s when the rightwing gets weird.
They always—always—claim that the judge is “ignoring” what they always call “the will of the people”, and that the voters in the state had voted in favour of a marriage ban. That was true, they did—at the time. But the radical right anti-gay industry always frames it as if the voters still feel the same way, even though in most of those states public opinion has completely turned around, and increasingly large nationwide majorities support marriage equality.
So, what the radical right is doing is the equivalent of saying, “Bonanza was once the most popular show on US television, therefore, it should still be seen as the most popular show on television, and must be considered the most popular forever.” I use an absurd example to show how absurd their reasoning is, as if people can never change their minds, or that a vote taken a decade ago is immutable.
People’s opinions evolve all the time, just as President Obama’s did—which is ironic, really, because the radical right still refers to his former opposition, as if that means anything now.
The bigger issue with these court rulings is that in the US system, the courts provide a check and balance on government, but also against the whims and passions of the people—that’s precisely what the court system was designed to do! When I think a court rules incorrectly, I’ll criticise their ruling or the rationale, but I accept that the court has the right to make that ruling. If enough of us disagree with a ruling, we work through the democratic process to change the law and reverse the court ruling. That’s how democracy works. But the radical right has already lost popular opinion, and they know it, so they can't change any laws to ban marriage equality.
But it is never okay to throw one's toys out and declare that a ruling is wrong and must be defied, yet that’s precisely what the radical right anti-gay industry is starting to do all too frequently. In fact, one notorious anti-gay bigot did that today (because of Idaho).
The world is moving on, even if the anti-gay radicals refuse to. Public opinion about marriage equality has evolved, even though the anti-gay radicals refuse to. Mainstream people recognise that the past is the past, and that this is now, even if the anti-gay radicals refuse to.
Meanwhile, the rest of us will just get on with our lives in the present. Maybe someday the radical right anti-gay industry will catch up to us all. Maybe. But I expect they’ll continue to fume in spittle-flicked rage that the world dares to keep evolving and changing despite being ordered not to do so. And it will keep changing, because this is now.