Friday, February 28, 2014


It's generally agreed that religious rightists went too far when they starting pushing refusal-of-service laws. Salon's Brian Beutler:
The effort to apply the ... religious freedom argument to anti-gay measures in states across the country has encountered tremendous resistance, not just from liberals but from business leaders, statewide Republican elected officials, and GOP celebrities who, for different reasons, seem to get that stomping away from a growing majority of the population with a middle finger hoisted overhead isn't a smart thing to do.
The New York Times adds:
The decision by members of the Republican establishment to join gay activists in opposing the bill reflected the alarm the Arizona battle stirred among party leaders, who worried about identifying their party with polarizing social issues at a time when Republicans see the prospect of big gains in Congressional elections on economic issues.
So this effort is dead, right?

I doubt it. When do right-wingers ever concede defeat? They just keep relitigating fights forever, adjusting tactics as needed. Did they give up on fighting abortion when the Supreme Court reaffirmed abortion rights in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, just around the time anti-abortion extremists were alienating most of America with acts of violence? No. They just shifted gears, put the violent protesters at arms' length, and began trying to kill Roe with a thousand cuts rather than all at once.

I'm not saying they're going to win. They're highly unlikely to be as successful in fighting gay marriage as they are in fighting abortion, because heartland America now seems far less squeamish about homosexuality than about abortion. But they will keep fighting, because the right never lets anything go. They may never be more than a minor nuisance on this. But they will continue to be a nuisance.

From The Washington Post:
Conservative activists said Thursday that they will continue to press for additional legal protections for private businesses that deny service to gay men and lesbians, saying that a defeat in Arizona this week is only a minor setback and that religious-liberty legislation is the best way to stave off a rapid shift in favor of gay rights....

"The fight has to be over what the First Amendment is," said John C. Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, adding that his side needs to convince the public that conservatives are not trying to deny the rights of other Americans. "This is not somebody adhering to old Jim Crow lunch-counter discrimination. This is a fundamental dispute about what marriage means, and why it's important for society."
I know, I know -- it's just bluster. The GOP mainstream wants to step away from this fight. Right?

Except that, as the Times notes, this fight can't possibly go away:
Nelson Warfield, a conservative consultant ... said laws like the one vetoed in Arizona would certainly be embraced by some Republican presidential candidates in 2016 during the primaries, but would be toxic for a Republican candidate in a general election.

"You can bet your last dollar somebody will run on it for the nomination next time," he said, referring to the Republican presidential battle of 2016.
One or more candidates from the Cruz/Santorum/Huckabee wing of the party will make it impossible for mainstream candidates to shrug this issue off.

Oh, and even so-called establishment types have the vapors about so-called religious liberty issues. Here's Peggy Noonan:
The political-media complex is bravely coming down on florists with unfashionable views. On Twitter Thursday the freedom-fighter who tweets as @FriedrichHayek asked: "Can the government compel a Jewish baker to deliver a wedding cake on a Saturday? If not why not." Why not indeed. Because the truly tolerant give each other a little space? On an optimistic note, the Little Sisters of the Poor haven't been put out of business and patiently await their day in court.
That last reference is too Peggy's plucky heroines in the fight against the contraceptive mandate.

So right-wingers will find some way to press on with this. They'll probably go the court route on behalf of some baker allegedly crushed by the gay jackboot. We may defeat them, but they're never going to admit defeat.


Victor said...

Conservatives, and particularly Christian ones, once they plant their teeth into the femur of any issue, are like rabid pit-bulls with lockjaw, that even a crowbar can't pry off that poor bone - and even if you kill the dog and remove it, there's a brainwashed young pup ready to start clamping its teeth on that same femur.

Julia said...

Follow the $$$. Hatred is a multimillion dollar business and GLB people are pretty much all they have left.

Grifters like NOM need to keep this issue alive. Republicans trolling for donations and votes need to keep this issue alive. Even the pundits like this one because it gives them something to wank about.

Those symbolic votes to declare equal marriage double plus ungood just aren't enough any more. Protecting the innocent business owner from having gay penis shaped cakes shoved down his throat is what's hot now and will remain hot.

Ken_L said...

If the abortion issue is any guide, they are smart to persevere. Sooner or later, opportunities will appear because the energy and emotion they bring to the campaign are so disproportionate to the importance of the issues involved. Inevitably, from time to time people will make concessions just to see if it makes them go away, a bit like giving money to those tuneless carolling kids at Christmas. It never works of course ... it only encourages them to come back for more.

Richard Landon said...

Religion is the bane of human existence.

Roxie said...

...the jackboot will be FABulous!

PurpleGirl said...

I'm not Jewish but I believe a Jewish baker could deliver a wedding cake AFTER sundown on Saturday, since it is now Sunday on the religious calendar. I've known of a few Jewish weddings that took place AFTER sundown on Saturday. Gotta be careful with those Jewish examples -- you never know what the technicality will be or when it is will show up.

Unknown said...

Can a Jewish baker refuse to deliver matzo to a rabbi on Saturday? That's really the crux of the matter, isn't it?

Ron Chusid said...

Of course they will never give up. Religious freedom is a fundamental aspect of their philosophy which will never be abandoned. Unfortunately to them religious freedom means the freedom to impose their religious views upon others.

Jim Norris said...

Are people who get married on Saturday now considered a protected class for the purpose of anti-discrimination statues?

Aunt Snow said...

Can the government compel a Jewish baker to deliver a wedding cake on a Saturday? If not why not.

That has got to be one of the stupidest exaggerations to come out of this mess.