Dana Loesch and GOProud Chairman Respond to Mediaite’s RNC Debate Anti-Gay Marriage Story
On Monday, we reported that the five candidates for RNC Chair supported the National Organization for Marriage’s position on same sex marriage, and contrasted that unanimity with GOProud Chairman Chris Barron‘s assertion that the Republican Party is “welcoming” to gay conservatives. The story drew disparate responses from Barron, and from conservative pundit Dana Loesch of BigJournalism.com, and the daylight between those responses is quite illuminating.
I’d like to start with Loesch, whose response seems to rest on the creaky twin pillars that fighting intolerance somehow equals intolerance, and that denying gay people the right to marry is actually a way of upholding religious freedom. In response to this story, Loesch writes: (from BigJournalism.com)
Tommy Christopher’s reasoning is only valid if one presupposes that marriage is a union created and controlled by the state for business purposes; as my liberal feminist mother would say it’s a “piece of paper that lets you do your taxes together.” This is where the entire point is lost by the left. Republicans don’t believe that marriage is a state invention: they believe that it is divine and that to force people of faith to redefine their religious beliefs and practices to include behavior which is discussed in Scripture as being not one with which God jives – is actually the government breaking “separation of church and state.” Why is it that when the subject of rights comes up, people of faith are the ones that must compromise their rights, a practice instituted by a faith that they alone observe? How is it unequal that everyone can enter into the same civil agreement but those who follow a faith that others do not seek divine blessing on their union?
Read the whole thing if you think I’m missing something, but Loesch appears to be saying that the grounds upon which she objects to same-sex marriage are purely religious, while also espousing a separation of church and state. Since the First Amendment guarantees religious freedom, state recognition of gay marriage doesn’t infringe on Loesch’s separated religious belief, but a state ban on gay marriage does infringe on the religious freedom of those denominations that do recognize gay marriage.
Ironically, Loesch suggests to proponents of gay marriage the very remedy that the US Constitution guarantees its opponents:
And if you’re displeased your perception of “inequality” so far as the tradition of “marriage” applies, take it up with God. That’s not inequality, that’s religious observance.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Everyone in this country is free to worship the God (or Gods) of their own choosing, and if Loesch’s God doesn’t recognize Chris Barron’s right to marry, that’s her problem, not Barron’s. Well, currently, it is Barron’s problem. Loesch capably isolates the crux of the scare-quoted “inequality,” the individual’s right to full personhood in the eyes of their own God, and their own government. In Loesch’s own construct, God is the arbiter of equality, not the government, and while the government can’t confer that divine equality, it also can’t deny it.
Loesch’s odd choice of artwork for the post is also worth noting. In contrast to her relatively low-temperature argument, the picture is a South Park rendering of Kanye West kissing a fish. It is a popular red herring (pardon the pun) among opponents of gay rights to equate same-sex marriage with bestiality (and other criminal conduct), but when I asked Loesch about it on Twitter, here’s how she responded:
That’s some intense reaching.
I don’t think it is, but that’s why I asked. (For the record, and despite my support for marriage equality, I actually don’t believe in intense reaching outside of marriage.)
Loesch later updated her post to include this, which also doesn’t really explain how the picture relates to the post:
*UPDATE: If you’re one of the haters so out of touch with pop-culture that you think the screengrab image above is in reference to anything other than South Park’s Kanye/gay fish episode, you might be a drama queen.
I guess because it has the word “gay” in it, and a picture of man/fish action has no other relationship to a post about marriage equality? Let’s just call it an inadvertent coincidence.
It’s also worth noting that, early in Loesch’s post, she accuses me of being unable to accept that not all gay people are liberals, and of “bashing” the RNC as “bigots.” Neither of these things are actually what I wrote. On the latter score, I don’t believe that opposition to legal gay marriage makes you a bigot, but rather, an ignorant person. Ignorant of the state’s unsuitability to arbitrate a purely religious distinction, and ignorant of their own right to do the same to their fellow human beings. Ignorance comes in many flavors, and bigotry is just one of them.
As to the former, my discussion with GOProud Chairman Chris Barron ought to clear that up. I’m going to reprint our Twitter conversation here, but first, I’d like to set this up a bit. Much of our debate revolved around his deflection of the RNC candidates’ views with the myth that Barack Obama‘s position on same-sex marriage is “the same” as the National Organization for Marriage’s.
This oft-used chestnut is derived from the fact that the President has expressed the personal belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. Even that personal belief is in question now, as the President recently told Jake Tapper, and is likely to change, soon, to include same-sex marriage.
His positions on gay marriage, however, have been consistent. He opposes any bans on gay marriage (like Proposition 8), he favors full civil marriage benefits for gay couples, and supports a legislative repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. Remember that last one, which means he opposes the federal government defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.
The National Organization for Marriage, on the other hand, supports banning gay marriage, and even succeeded in dissolving thousands of legal marriages in California with Proposition 8. All five candidates for RNC Chair, despite contradictory lip service about “dignity,” affirmed their support for NOM’s position. Not only aren’t these the same positions, they couldn’t be more different.
The point I’ve been trying to make to Barron is that, while he has a legitimate claim to making progress on gay issues within the GOP, his opponents also have a legitimate claim to the GOP as an organization that’s still hostile to gay people. Personally, I respect his desire to change it from the inside, but I also respect those whose sense of injury at the GOP’s actions prevents them from considering any potential areas of agreement with Republicans on other matters. At their very best, a tiny majority of them were dragged, kicking and screaming, to overturn Don’t ask, don’t tell. It is that sentiment which leads people to call GOProud “sellouts.”
Agree with him or not, however, Barron’s position is legitimate, and worthy of respect. I think he realizes, as many conservatives must, that marriage equality is inevitable. If he truly views conservative policies as vastly superior in every other respect, as he must, then changing the party from within is the only practical course available to him. I do think his time would be better spent arguing with people like Dana Loeasch thsn with me, but since I started the argument, I suppose that’s a moot point: (from Twitter)
Tommyxtopher: @ChrisRBarron Good. And if you can admit that the Democrats are currently farther along than GOP on equality, I can (and have) acknowledge the progress conservatives have made, but to act like they’re the same is just not accurate.
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