Vander Plaats Waxes Stupid on Utah Marriage Ruling

Bob Vander Plaats, the self-appointed and undisputed king of the wingnuts in Iowa, went on Steve Deace’s radio show and unsurprisingly said some egregiously stupid things about the recent federal court ruling overturning Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. To wit:

Vander Plaats: First of all, Justice Shelby, there’s a lot of issues with his ruling. Number one is, you had the people of Utah already amend the Constitution to what marriage is. And you’re supposed to uphold the Constitution, not redefine the Constitution. So, that’s number one.

Uh, no. Shelby is a federal judge, not a state judge. His job is to uphold the federal constitution, not the Utah one. So here’s his argument for why the ruling violates the U.S. Constitution:

Two is, there is no research on it, there is no data on it. Why? Because it never existed before. So all there is is speculation. But what we know is it goes against the law of nature, and the law of nature’s God, which means, again, it’s against the Constitution.

Wrong again. The constitution neither says nor implies anything remotely like that. It’s a secular document that established a secular government, not a theocracy. And think about his “reasoning” here. If anything that “goes against the law of Nature’s God,” by which he means the Bible, wouldn’t that make the First Amendment unconstitutional? I mean, the very first commandment is that you can’t worship any other gods, something the First Amendment guarantees the right to do. Not that this would bother theocrats like Vander Plaats, of course. He’d be more than happy if only Christians had the right to religious freedom.

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  • matty1

    Does he not know that the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are separate documents and while the Declaration may be useful as an insight into how politicians in that time and place thought, which could influence constitutional interpretation, it has no actual legal effect.

  • Cuttlefish

    He’ll be happy to know the supreme court just blocked the ruling, pending appeal.

  • raven

    But what we know is it goes against the law of nature, and the law of nature’s God,

    There is no such thing as the law of nature.

    The religious just pull that one out because it sounds better than, “the voices in my head”.

    According to natural law, if god wanted us to fly he would have given us wings. Or to drive cars, he would have given us wheels. If god wanted us to live in Michigan or Iowa, he would have given us a double coat of fur and we would all look like the Abominal snowman. If god wanted us to eat potato chips, they would grow on trees, not come in a mylar bag.

  • Trebuchet

    He’d be more than happy if only Christians had the right to religious freedom.

    And probably only a small percentage of Christians, at that.

  • cptdoom

    IS Vander Plaats a Mormon, because they actually believe the Constitution was divinely inspired (of course, they also believe a con man name Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, so there you go)? Otherwise he’s skirting pretty closely to heresy right there, and we’d all hate to see that.

  • lldayo

    If it happens naturally then it’s not against the “laws of nature”. Since homosexuality happens in many species besides humans then it obviously happens naturally and Plaats should be all for it.

  • Marcus Ranum

    it goes against the law of nature

    Naturalistic fallacy, much? If nature says anything it’s that gays are natural.

  • Marcus Ranum

    There is no such thing as the law of nature.

    The other fun thing to point out to them is that “natural law” was an argument put forth by Jean-Jacques Rousseau – the atheistic enlightenment polemicist – while arguing about whether inequality was part of a state of nature or not. While many of Rousseau’s arguments were very important during their day(*) it’s just goofy christianness to fall back on enlightenment atheists who were interested in social equality as an argument for disenfranchising a goodly chunk of the population.(**)

    (* Rousseau was a seeeeerious crackpot about a lot of stuff, though much of his thinking was ground-breaking it’s hard for me to align some of his enlightenment philosophy with his fantastical claims about child-rearing and education. Even David Hume eventually couldn’t put up with his bullshit any more…)

    (** His discussion of inequality is really good work and is hugely relevant across the board to the whole free will/blame/retribution/criminality discussion. He was trying to divide “natural inequality”, e.x: someone born with spina bifida from “social inequality”, e.x: someone born with $200 million in the bank and to argue that natural inequality deserves a different treatment in society than what is really just society being unfair. There’s a lot of stuff in Rousseau that refutes the socially sanctioned unfairness favored by libertarians and randians.)

  • Silent Service

    There are reasons I no longer live in Iowa. Unfortunately I keep running into the same idiots, like Vander Plaats, everyplace I go.

  • Michael Brew

    Silent Service @9

    Yeah, I try to avoid Iowa whenever possible, myself. My reasons are more that I feel like that state is trying to kill me since literally every time I drive through there something crazy and life threatening happens to me. It’s enough to make a man superstitious.

  • John Pieret

    It doesn’t necessarily mean much but SCOTUS has stayed gay marriage in Utah.

    The Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which had earlier denied a stay (in part because the state couldn’t show a liklihood of winning on appeal) has scheduled an expedited appeal (which means briefs have to be completed by February 25th). Scotus may just be looking to get more lower court decisions on record holding gay marriage as involving equal protection and due process protections before it takes the issue up, at the earliest, in the Ocyober 2014 term.

  • Michael Heath

    This yahoo is a typical denialist denying the plain and unambiguous words of the 14th Amendment that explicitly limits state power to deprive people of their due process and equal protection rights. Both clauses were both leveraged and featured in this federal judge’s ruling.

    We should never pass a chance to throw the U.S. Constitution’s clauses supporting marriage equality in the bigots’ faces given all their avoidance tactics to avoid the 14th Amendment. Where we fail to engage on this by raising this point. So I remain very frustrated with marriage equality proponents that we don’t continuously point this out, precisely because it kills both the bigots’ fallacious arguments and their false claim they are the true defenders of the U.S. Constitution; as opposed to conservative Christians being its biggest opponent. At least from my perspective, where I observe no close second.

  • vilstef

    Vandersplat (his nickname from Iowa Democrats) is a lot like Bill O’Reilly. When he has the microphone, he feels everyone should shutup, even those who agree with him. He’s very good at putting the bully into any pulpit he speaks from.

  • suttkus

    @6: lldayo

    If it happens naturally then it’s not against the “laws of nature”. Since homosexuality happens in many species besides humans then it obviously happens naturally and Plaats should be all for it.

    You seem confused. Just because something happens in nature, doesn’t make it natural. Unnatural things happen in nature all the times, while things that don’t happen in nature are quite natural, like wearing clothes and going to church. Something is unnatural not when it doesn’t happen in nature, but when it is against nature. You can tell something is against nature, when there is a long history of good Christians* having gut reactions against it. Gut reactions are the most logical form of logic around, and fully natural! For instance, for centuries we recognized that left-handed people were against nature. Today, left-handed people are allowed to get married and God smashed New Orleans with a hurricane. Coincidence? I think not! And I mean that literally!

    * Non-Christians may have gut reactions against things also, but you can’t trust the gut reactions of WRONG people. That would be unnatural.