REPUBLICANS ADD NEW WEAPON TO ARSENAL OF POLITICAL TOOLS
THE UTILITY OF INSURRECTION OR HOW I LEARNED TO HATE LAW BASED REPUBLICS
The right wing has lost one of the longest, most vitriolic and sacred (to them) battles of the thirty year old culture wars: gay marriage. Now one would think that since 37 states plus DC allow same-sex marriages and polls show that the majority of Americans believe that gay men and women should have the right to marry, the battle is done. Over. Lost. Kaput. Well, not so fast. Apparently, as we await the Supreme Court’s ruling on same sex marriage, there is a growing revolt afoot among right wingers to vitiate not only this potential decision but any court rulings they disagree with.
Well, you might ask, what the hell is up with this insurrectionist movement? It’s really quite simple: Don’t like your state Supreme Court’s decision? Fuck it. Just ignore it and go on with your agenda. It’s a growing trend among that certain segment of legislators and organizations who are constantly spouting the holy benefits of biblical scripture.
Take, for example, Uber-Conservative, Tea Party darling, Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas. (You know, the Republican Governor who tripled down on radical right wing policies that have brought Kansas to near financial ruin? Yeah, that one.) Well, Brownback, last week signed into law a measure that will defund the state’s court system should any state judge rule unconstitutional a separate 2014 court reform law enacted by Brownback and his minions. The earlier measure was retaliation for court decisions that held that Kansas’ school funding system did not comport with the dictates of the state’s Constitution.
So let’s keep it simple. Brownback, by attempting to balance the state budget cut school finding, state was sued, and the Kansas court system sided with the plaintiffs because the act was inconsistent with the Kansas State Constitution dicta about budgets and how they are funded. Brownback’s response to the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling? Defund the court if they ever rule against him again. Yep! Court hands down a decision you don’t like? Well just zero out their annual funding. This is kind of a twist on the Cliven Bundy theme of not paying your grazing fees and ignoring two court orders. Maybe not a twist. Maybe just the same crap.
The same-sex marriage “conversation” has recently been subject to a whole lot of discussion including a few comments from prominent Republicans, some of whom are in the running to be the 2016 Republican Presidential nominee. Let’s take a look at some of their recent comments regarding court decisions:
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said the president is not required to follow laws that are decided by the judicial branch of government. When asked what he would do to protect the “sanctity of marriage” in case the Supreme Court rules in favor of gay marriage, Carson responded by saying he could ignore the high court’s decision.
The Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said on Sunday the Supreme Court would not “have the final word” on same-sex marriage in the US, saying that instead it would be “important for Congress and the president, frankly, to push back when the supreme court gets it wrong.”
Santorum was asked if he agreed with the former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, another Christian conservative and declared candidate for the 2016 GOP nomination, that on this issue the supreme court could be overruled by the states.
Said Mike Huckabee: "I respect the courts, but the Supreme Court is only that -- the supreme of the courts. It is not the supreme being. It cannot overrule God," he said. "When it comes to prayer, when it comes to life, and when it comes to the sanctity of marriage, the court cannot change what God has created."
Now it is true that Supreme Court decisions have been reversed by the Supreme Court itself (Loving vs. Commonwealth of Virginia, Dred Scott vs. Sanford, Plessy vs. Ferguson) and Congress has passed laws to counter Supreme Court decisions. But until this year I hadn’t heard Presidential candidates or Governors simply saying that they would ignore court rulings. (Cue: Right Wing Revolutionary Hero Cliven Bundy.) This insurrection in the face of negative court rulings appears to be a growing trend.
Also in today’s Washington Post, was a full page ad from “Common Good Foundation” and/or “Liberty Counsel” both 501c(3) religious organizations, that warns the Supreme Court “not to force us to choose between the state and the laws of God.” Signed by a representative eighty or so priests, ministers, rabbis and others – though not an Imam among them – the text further states:
‘However, we will not honor any decision by the Supreme Court which will force us to violate a clear biblical understanding of marriage as solely the union of one man and one woman.”
Such a perfect framing of the overriding issue that same sex marriage brings to the American consciousness:
Are we a nation that follows the rule of law or are we a nation that follows religious tenants?
Iran and Saudi Arabia, for example, are nations that are self-described religious states. But as I recall, and forgive me if my memory fails me here, wasn’t a big part of the reason why the Pilgrims voyaged across the Atlantic Ocean back in the 17th Century to escape religious persecution and domination? And don’t I recall something in the Constitution that speaks to the issue of state religions? Also, seems to me that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution pretty much established the underpinnings for the creation of a secular republic – a nation of laws rather than Biblical teachings. ‘Course I could be wrong here.
Sure, I get the Common Good Foundation/Liberty Consul’s stand on same sex marriage based on their reading of the Bible and the one man/one woman definition of marriage thinggy.
But elected legislators? Presidential candidates? What the fuck is that about? Sure, I get this too, this pandering to the religious right wingers, but hey, is it really necessary to pander and lead people on when you all know damned well that your stance on “ignoring court rulings” is simply propaganda and has nothing to do with reality? Unless, of course, you all would like to see the Ten Commandments replace the Constitution to serve as legal guide for us Americans from now on.