GOP Presidential Field Has Meltdown Over Landmark Gay Marriage Decision

GOP Presidential Field Has Meltdown Over Landmark Gay Marriage Decision

On June 26th, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed a constitutional right to same sex marriage. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority decision:

“It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

While most people whose last names aren’t Roberts, Scalia, Alito, or Thomas are celebrating this huge victory for equality, there are some folks who are looking at this decision with a rather jaundiced eye. I speak of the baker’s dozen of GOP presidential candidates. Their thoughts on this historic affirmation of gay marriage are not exactly celebratory. Let’s start with Mike Huckabee, who seems to fancy himself a constitutional scholar:

The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do — redefine marriage. I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat. . . .This ruling is not about marriage equality, it’s about marriage redefinition. This irrational, unconstitutional rejection of the expressed will of the people in over 30 states will prove to be one of the court’s most disastrous decisions, and they have had many. The only outcome worse than this flawed, failed decision would be for the President and Congress, two co-equal branches of government, to surrender in the face of this out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny. . . .The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature’s God on marriage than it can the law of gravity.”

So yeah. Judicial tyranny overruling God and something about gravity. That is certainly a convincing argument. I mean, we’re not all floating about in space are we? No? Therefore gay marriage isn’t even happening at all… or isn’t allowed to happen. Huckabee is probably just going to call down fire from the sky and smite everyone. Jeb Bush, GOP frontrunner by virtue of being marginally less awful than the rest, stuck to form and issued a marginally less awful statement:

“Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage. I believe the Supreme Court should have allowed the states to make this decision.”

And that is entirely in keeping with Jeb: some rather dull language cloaking a rather conservative position that at least isn’t horribly inflammatory. Wish that we could say the same for poor Bobby Jindal, a man who has less chance of becoming president than I do. He’s come a long way since decrying the GOP as becoming the “party of stupid,” and he managed to cram states’ rights, a war on Christianity, and a misunderstanding of the First Amendment into a single statement:

“The Supreme Court decision today conveniently and not surprisingly follows public opinion polls, and tramples on states’ rights that were once protected by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution.  Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that. This decision will pave the way for an all out assault against the religious freedom rights of Christians who disagree with this decision. This ruling must not be used as pretext by Washington to erode our right to religious liberty. The government should not force those who have sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage to participate in these ceremonies. That would be a clear violation of America’s long held commitment to religious liberty as protected in the First Amendment.”

Bravo Bobby! (Psst! No one’s going to vote for you). And then there is Scott Walker, the thinking man’s Bobby Jindal, who had the good grace to avoid raving about religious matters, choosing instead to call for a constitutional amendment that will never happen:

“Calling the court decision a ‘grave mistake,’ Mr. Walker, a 2016 presidential candidate, said the decision should have been left to the states and said it underscores the need for a ‘conservative president who will appoint men and women to the Court who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our land without injecting their own political agendas. As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage,’ Mr. Walker said.”

The only outlier in the entire GOP mob was, weirdly enough, Ben Carson, who can generally be relied upon for an unhinged take on most issues. But today, he managed to come off as the only adult in the room:

“GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson said he ‘strongly disagreed’ with the Supreme Court’s decision Friday to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide but acknowledged it is ‘now the law of the land. . . . I call on Congress to make sure deeply held religious views are respected and protected,’ Carson said in a statement issued following the court’s historic ruling. ‘The government must never force Christians to violate their religious beliefs.'”

Yammer and yell all they will, the Republican candidates, with the surprising exception of Carson, are on the wrong side of history. Much like with the rising tide of backlash against the Confederate flag earlier in the week, the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage represents an historic turning point, a striking victory for equality. The GOP candidates just don’t get it. They’d rather go down with the ship, rallying the shrinking numbers of homophobes and bigots, raging against the inexorable march of history.

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