I’ve been monitoring the Religious Right’s response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality, and I’m not impressed.
So far, the reaction of these groups has been limited to championing the cause of lazy government clerks who don’t want to do their jobs, issuing tepid statements full of sound and fury but that signify nothing and getting all excited over the possibility that some government official somewhere might decide to be foolish enough to defy the decision.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council is, for example, swooning over the fact that some members of the Louisiana Supreme Court have criticized the ruling.
The Louisiana high court had before it a case dealing with a same-sex couple who sought to have their marriage recognized to facilitate an adoption. The issue of the legality of the couple’s marriage became moot after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 26 in Obergefell v. Hodges, and it should have been a routine matter for the Louisiana Supreme Court to dismiss the case. But three justices decided to use the legal tussle as a vehicle to go off on a tangent over the Obergefell ruling.
In an alarming rant, Justice Jeannette Knoll accused the U.S. Supreme Court of imposing its will “over the solemn expression of the people” and warned of the “horrific impact these five lawyers have made on the democratic rights of the American people to define marriage.”
“It is a sad day in America when five lawyers beholden to none and appointed for life can rob the people of their democratic process, forcing so-called civil liberties regarding who can marry on all Americans when the issue was decided by the states as solemn expressions of the will of the people,” Knoll carped. “I wholeheartedly disagree and find that, rather than a triumph of constitutionalism, the opinion of these five lawyers is an utter travesty as is my constrained adherence to their ‘law of the land’ enacted not by the will of the American people but by five judicial activists.”
Government officials in Louisiana, of all states, should understand the danger of subjecting the basic rights of a minority group to a majority vote. Alas, some choose to ignore the clear lessons of history.
Other Religious Right leaders continue to hold out hope that one state will “nullify” the Supreme Court’s ruling – that is, try to ignore it. Again, the country learned during the civil-rights era that this won’t fly, but the gang at the American Family Association (AFA) either doesn’t know that or simply wants to ignore it.
The AFA has settled on Alabama as its primary candidate for a nullification stunt. The group probably believes it might fare well there, since that state’s supreme court is in the hands of an extremist who’s capable of just about anything, Chief Justice Roy Moore.
Liberty Counsel, a Religious Right legal group housed at Liberty University, has filed a brief before the Alabama high court asking it to do, well, something. Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, argues that Alabama doesn’t have to abide by the Obergefell ruling because it’s just the opinion of five justices. (Believe it or not, this man actually got a law degree from the University of Kentucky.)
Staver and the gang at the AFA are also none too happy with AU’s new Protect Thy Neighbor project. They aren’t the only ones. Glenn Beck’s The Blaze fired a broadside, and this site aimed at far-right women is also distraught.
AU is keeping a close watch on developments in Alabama and elsewhere. Remember, we fought hard alongside our allies on behalf of same-sex couples in Alabama and aren’t about to let Moore and his far-right pals erect any more roadblocks to marriage equality. In short, we’ve beat them before, and if we have to we’ll do it again.
In the meantime, we’ll take the far right’s furious reaction to Protect Thy Neighbor as a sign that we’re doing something right – and we’ll keep doing it.