Almost a year ago, I wrote an article called “An Open Letter to the Religious Right: The Gay Marriage War is Over – And You Lost” as Hawaii legalized same-sex marriage and Illinois was prepared to do the same. Yesterday, the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeals of multiple lower court rulings that declared gay marriage bans in states like Indiana, Virginia and others were unconstitutional. To rub a little salt in the wounds of the far right, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada the following day. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy has issued a temporary hold on the ruling as it applies to Idaho, but since Nevada has decided not to defend the ban, marriages will go forward in Nevada.
Just one day after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up petitions seeking to overturn rulings in favor of marriage equality, a federal appeals court struck down bans on same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada.
In a 40-page decision on Tuesday, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled against the bans on same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada. Writing for the court, U.S. Circuit Judge Reinhardt says judges found the law were unconstitutional by subjecting them to heightened scrutiny. (Source)
If the Supreme Court also refuses to hear appeals to these cases, should they be filed, then nearly 2/3 of the United States would have gay marriage legalized, leaving only a few mostly red states with the ban on their books. In the face of almost certain defeat, you’d think that the religious right would finally read the writing on the wall and pick a new battle instead of futilely defending what has been repeatedly ruled as a violation of the 14th Amendment. That would make sense, except that this is the religious right we’re talking about; the politicians like Ted Cruz that they have elected can’t back down either, for fear of being replaced by a more radical candidate next time the primaries come around. Ted Cruz is also rumored to be a potential GOP candidate for the White House in 2016, so it’s no real surprise that he’d propose an unconstitutional constitutional amendment. No, despite all of his statements, Ted Cruz isn’t crazy – he’s just pandering to people who are. Here’s what he plans to do:
“When Congress returns to session, I will be introducing a constitutional amendment to prevent the federal government or the courts from attacking or striking down state marriage laws,” Cruz said. “Traditional marriage is an institution whose integrity and vitality are critical to the health of any society. We should remain faithful to our moral heritage and never hesitate to defend it.” (Source)
Here’s the problem with shacking up with the far right – once you get tangled up with them, there’s really no way back to the political center. Sure, if you’re representing a red state like Texas and you have no aspirations to the White House, you can pretty much count on them to keep you in office – so long as you keep raging against the same things they hate like Ted Cruz is doing here. Reversing Roe vs. Wade, forcing Christianity into government and all of these positions are a platform that conservative candidates have to embrace in states like Texas, Louisiana, Alabama or Mississippi. You might even win a few early Republican presidential primaries as Rick Santorum did in 2012, but like Mitt Romney found out that year, you can’t pander to the far right in the primaries and successfully move back to the center for the general election. While George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan did flirt with the religious right and tossed them a bone now and then, both would be considered a RINO in today’s Tea Party controlled Republican Party – and neither could win the Republican presidential primaries now.
If anything, this refusal by the religious right to accept reality and keep demanding their politicians do the same is actually a blessing to the rest of us. As the country keeps moving forward, their refusal to join the 21st century means that we may not see another Republican president any time soon – and I really don’t see a problem with that.
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