Here’s the news from Big Government.
Today, the 9th Circuit upheld the absurd ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, striking down Proposition 8, the voter-approved constitutional amendment that would uphold traditional marriage in the state. The ruling itself was highly political and in no way legally oriented. “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians,” wrote the Court, “and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior… the Constitution simply does not allow for ‘laws of this sort.’”
National Review assesses the decision to overrule the will of the people with the feelings and intuitions of two judges.
2. For [Judge] Reinhardt, “‘marriage’ is the name that society gives to the relationship that matters most between two adults.” (P. 37.) The right to marry that the state supreme court conferred on same-sex couples “symbolize[d] state legitimization and social recognition of their committed relationships.” (P. 5.)
Notice what’s missing from Reinhardt’s description? Any recognition that the very institution of marriage arose and exists in order to encourage responsible procreation and childrearing.
3. On pages 56-63, Reinhardt does confront the argument that Prop 8 advances California’s interest in procreation and childrearing, but his analysis is badly flawed:
a. Reinhardt first undertakes to address the argument that “children are better off when raised by two biological parents and that society can increase the likelihood of that family structure by allowing only potential biological parents—one man and one woman—to marry.” But he somehow finds it dispositive that Prop 8 “had absolutely no effect on the ability of same-sex couples to become parents or the manner in which children are raised in California.” What he utterly ignores is that it is eminently reasonable to believe that the less marriage is centered around the concerns of responsible procreation and child-raising, the less well marriage will serve those goals. That’s an elementary lesson about mission confusion.
The redefinition of marriage to encompass same-sex couples fatally severs the link between marriage and procreation. That’s why Reinhardt has to misdescribe marriage (see point 2).
Ben Shapiro thinks that defending marriage will be a winning issue in the general election for Republicans.
President Obama has been able to elude the question of same-sex marriage overall. His slippery rhetoric indicates that he’s pro-civil unions but anti-same sex marriage but is “evolving.” This ruling will force him to take a side. He will likely attempt to suggest that this is a decision best left to the courts, but he’s never taken that position before – see, for example, campaign finance reform. It’s unlikely that the gay community or the religious community will allow him to get away with that.
If Obama is forced to answer for his position on same-sex marriage, he will be in serious trouble come election time. He is already suffering from low approval ratings among religious groups, and just this week he alienated Catholics with the Health and Human Services announcement that birth control coverage would be required from Catholic employers. Minority voters, especially Latinos and blacks, are anti-same sex marriage as a rule (which is why Prop. 8 passed in the first place – many blacks showed up to vote for Obama in California and voted in favor of traditional marriage at the same time).
While the press likes to complain about the right wing on social issues, the fact remains that same-sex marriage is not a popular movement in key states for Obama. In Florida, for example, 53% believe that same-sex marriage should not be legal, as compared to 37% who believe it should be; in Ohio, that split is 53% to 33%; in Pennsylvania, it’s 51% to 38%. Overall, Americans are moving in the direction of same-sex marriage (a Pew poll showed that Americans now approve same-sex marriage by a 46-44 margin), but older people and nonwhites are particularly against it (just 39% of nonwhites support same-sex marriage). In short, this is not a winning issue for Obama.
I think Rick Santorum is more persuasive than Newt Gingrich on the marriage issue, because marriage is Santorum’s core. He forms his economic policy around marriage, family and parenting. On the other hand, Mitt Romney actually has a record of opposition to traditional marriage. And Ron Paul has a record of opposition to traditional marriage. Neither of them could be counted on to defend traditional marriage at the federal level as well as Rick Santorum.
My secular case against same-sex marriage is here, in case you find yourself debating the issue.