The conservative case to rethink the freedom to marry

Posted by Christian Bentzen on

"It wasn’t too long ago that opposition to the freedom to marry was so powerful an issue that Republicans unequivocally turned to it as a means to energize conservative voters. Yet today, as the party contemplates the task of determining its future and its place in American politics, many Republicans say the issue of marriage equality may be turning into more of a hindrance to success than an ally.
Gay republicans
"Multiple polls have consistently shown a quickly widening divide on the issue by age, suggesting that the potency of the freedom to marry question simply does not appear to have the resonance with younger voters that it does with older Americans.

"Social conservatives have been screaming about how one judge has essentially 'invalidated the collective will of seven million California voters' in regards to the question of whether or not gay Americans have the right to marry.

"The inherent paradox of this case is that Judge Walker (who was presumably gay himself) is not a liberal activist judge but one whose career has shown him to be true to the Reagan conservative jurisprudence that he was nominated to represent.

"To add irony on top of irony, the case was presented by a constitutional conservative – Ted Olson, who helped found the Federalist Society and fought on the side of team George Bush, working as his Solicitor General. During the recent battle over marriage equality in California, Olson sought to prove that marriage is a constitutional question, not a partisan issue worth extended debate.

"There are countless reasons for conservatives to think carefully before taking this negative stance against marriage for same-sex couples because our Founders intended the judiciary to be an independent branch of the government whose purpose was to ensure the protection of every citizen’s rights. Therefore, when an unpopular minority is denied an inherent right it is, and must be, the role of the courts to protect the rights of that minority – especially when a majority would deny it to them. For this very reason, Judge Walker’s opinion reads, 'That the majority of California voters supported Proposition 8 is irrelevant, as fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.'”

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