Sunday, May 19, 2013

More evidence

A few days ago, I wrote about how the radical right is losing their war against LGBT people. A couple days before that, I noted how marriage equality is an idea whose time has come. Today I saw further evidence of both.

Last week, ThinkProgress took a look at an anti-gay group called the Alliance Defending [sic] Freedom [sic] (ADF), which used to be called the Alliance Defense Fund. ThinkProgress noted how they presented testimony to several state legislatures in an attempt to stop the legislatures enacting marriage equality. They failed every time.

They were undone by the typical dishonesty used by the radical right as it tries to restrict freedom for LGBT people: They constantly argued that marriage equality would lead to “Christians” having to choose between their religious convictions and obeying the law. As the radical right always does, they didn’t say that laws preventing discrimination exist NOW, even in places without marriage equality. The reality is that these states’ experience with anti-discrimination laws shows what a lie this argument actually is.

The radical right’s argument is far more serious—and dangerous—than merely being anti-gay: If someone’s “sincerely held religious beliefs” gives them the right to discriminate against LGBT people, then it also gives them the right to discriminate because of race, colour, religious belief, national origin, marital status, whatever.

While many, perhaps even most, on the far right think that they actually should be able to discriminate, the vast majority of people support anti-discrimination laws. So, the radical right loses, in part, because it argues that their “religious beliefs” should allow them to discriminate against everyone they don’t like.

The same day as they suggested that the ADF’s dishonesty was actually helping to enact marriage equality, ThinkProgress also noted that every living Democratic president and presidential nominee supports marriage equality. They also noted that before his death, George McGovern also expressed support for marriage equality.

By contrast, among Republicans, only Gerald Ford supported marriage equality—back in 2001, around a decade before ANY of the Democrats (which is also evidence for why I respected him, and why I think he was the only decent Republican to serve as president in my lifetime, apart from Eisenhower, who was president when I was born).

Taken together, these show how support for marriage equality is gaining momentum, and how appeals to bigotry or that demand a right to discriminate just don’t work. They also show that the far right, clinging to its bigotry, and the Republican Party, which takes its marching orders from the radical right, are falling farther into irrelevance.

The bigots on the far right will eventually fade into the obscurity they so richly deserve. The question remains, will the Republican Party follow them, or are they capable of growing and changing—evolving, to use a word the radical right hates—so that they move closer to the mainstream?

I don’t know that the Republican Party is capable of change. The evidence shows that if they don’t, they, too, will fail. It’s their choice.

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