I think that the hypocrisy, inconsistency, and willful ignorance (of our form of government, of the Constitution, of the lived reality of gay people, of their own religious texts) of the anti-gay right bothers me more than the actual anti-gay beliefs themselves.
It’s easy to understand, after all, how people can be taught to be anti-gay, and not have easy access to the resources or the perceived need to pursue the evidence or to learn any differently. Most people who are anti-gay are so because of what they’ve been taught by the authority figures around them, and it’s hard for some people to peek behind the curtain of authority.
Today I was commenting on a post by Kelley Fiedorek, a lawyer for the Alliance Defending Freedom (an anti-gay religious legal organization), who was given a platform by the Washington Post this past weekend to post her organization’s position on the marriage equality ruling. Fiedorek and the ADF positioned their disappointment in the form of an objection that the Supreme Court had made this decision instead of the majority, by popular vote.
Let’s set aside that marriage equality polls all show that a majority of Americans actually do support the issue, and the Supreme Court’s decision, so that even if this were put to a popular majority-rules vote it’s not at all clear that the outcome would be any different now than what the Supreme Court ruled.
Let’s set aside that the Washington Post op-ed was written by a lawyer, who should know that the U.S. is not a pure majoritarian democracy, but a constitutional republic, and that it was set up in part specifically so that the rights of minorities could not be given or taken away by the majority. Either this lawyer received a very sub-par education in civics and constitutional law, or she is deliberately lying.
Let’s turn, rather, to the hypocrisy. I pointed out that if Ms. Fiedorek and the ADF truly believe that social issues, including marriage, are to be settled by majority vote rather than by the Constitution or the courts, then they must agree that Loving v. Virginia was wrongly before the Court in 1967, when it ruled that bans on interracial marriage were unconstitutional, and that such marriages — including Justice Clarence Thomas’ own marriage to a white woman in 1987 — should have been illegal until the year that a majority finally said that they no longer opposed them. The year when that happened was 1995 (yes, that’s ninety-five, as in, just slightly before the 20th century ended).
Commenters then said to me, no, the Supreme Court was right to rule in that case, because interracial marriage was never a sin, and because racism and homophobia are different (their assumption being, I take it, that the first is bad but the second is good, or at least divinely mandated). The first kind of answer forgets or ignores that most of the opposition to interracial marriage was couched in purely religious terms. This position also suggests that the government is to legislate on the basis not of laws or the Constitution, but on “sinfulness.” Given that no two religious sects or denominations can even agree on what things count as sin, and that there are religious sects and denominations that do not consider homosexuality or marriage equality to be a sin — and that legislating on the basis of religion is explicitly a violation of the Constitution itself — that seems pretty much a non-starter.
The second, though, is where the hypocrisy becomes very clear; if you believe that social issues should be decided by majority vote, you can’t then say, well, except for those social issues that we don’t think should be voted on, because we’re for them. These people couch their anti-gay, anti-equality positions as rooted in a pro-majoritarian democracy stance, but then they assert that the democratic process should only apply to the things they want to ban.
That’s not pro-democracy, that’s just anti-gay. I’d actually respect them more if they’d just admit to that.