Perkins Blames Gay Marriage on 17th Amendment

For some reason, a lot of right wingers have a real hard-on for hating on the 17th Amendment, which changed the Senate from being appointed by state legislatures to being elected by voters. But I’ve never heard anyone blame it for gay marriage like Tony Perkins just did.

Speaking on his radio program yesterday, Perkins called the amendment “one of the first places we got off in terms of how our government is functioning,” lamenting that “senators are no longer accountable to the states.”

Having voters instead of state lawmakers elect senators, Perkins lamented, “had a drastic impact upon judicial appointees that the Senate has signed off on that overturned state laws, like we’ve seen this rash of overturning these state marriage amendments, that never would’ve happened if these senators who approved these judges were still held accountable to state legislatures.”

I bet that was the whole purpose of passing that amendment in 1913. That Satan is so cunning!

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  • http://composer99.blogspot.ca composer99

    It seems a rather odd thing to complain about, since the Republican party seems to be able to keep securing Senate seats (though for how much longer?) and state legislatures (though for how much longer?).

    Then again, I suppose Perkins assumes it’s the wrong kind of Republican serving in the Senate, and the right kind in state legislatures.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    these senators who approved these judges

    He left out “black-robed”

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    It’s another facet of the “states rights” thing. When the federal government does things that they like, they’re all for federalism. When it does something they don’t like, it’s “states rights.” It’s also a bit of “we gerrymandered our state legislatures but we can’t do that for a whole state, so we want to move the election of senators.”

    What’s happily ironic about all of this is that many of “these judges” were appointed by Republican presidents; I don’t know if they had a Republican majority in the senate when they were approved, though. I can’t wait until they start claiming that Bush-the-lesser and Bush-the-least were actually RINOs.

  • Alverant

    Ahhh “teh gay”, the christian version of drawing Mohammad.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    Nothing in the Constitution forbids a state from retaining the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Whether to change that definition is a decision best left to the people of each state – not to unelected, politically unaccountable judges — Tony Perkins

    Solution to unelected judges? Have unelected judges nominated by unelected Senators.

  • D. C. Sessions

    I can’t wait until they start claiming that Bush-the-lesser and Bush-the-least were actually RINOs.

    Bush41 was a RINO at least since 2002, and Bush43 since at least 2006.

  • doublereed

    The reason they hate the 17th Amendment is that it was a check against corruption during the Gilded Age. As conservatives love the Gilded Age, they see it as one of their most severe political losses.

    And it was severe. 27 state legislatures out of the necessary 31 were prepared to go to an Article V Constitutional Convention to get it done.

    Democracy. The enemy of conservatives everywhere.

  • raven

    They really don’t like democracy.

    It’s obvious why. Perkin’s Oogedy Boogedy version of xianity has always been a minority and most likely always will be. Fundies only make up 25-30% of the population and this is dropping. They aren’t even a majority of xians, much less the US population.

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    @raven

    While the statistics are true, it bugs me that this minority manages to make itself sound and appear much bigger. I read about the decline in church membership, but then I take a drive on Sunday morning in my neighborhood and see signs for pop-up/storefront churches all over the place. Based on that one observation, it looks like fundamentalist Christianity is growing, not shrinking.

  • John Pieret

    Dr X @ 5:

    Solution to unelected judges? Have unelected judges nominated by unelected Senators.

    Yeah, but they are unelected by the right people!

  • hunter

    Of course, once those judges are appointed and confirmed by the Senate, they have life tenure on the bench. So what’s going to happen — the legislature is going to do what, exactly, to a senator who may not even be in office when a federal judge he or she voted to approve renders a decision, twenty years later, that the legislature doesn’t like?

    Yeah, that’ll show ’em.

  • raven

    Based on that one observation, it looks like fundamentalist Christianity is growing, not shrinking.

    Might depend on where you are. I don’t see that out here, despite a growing population.

    According to the Southern Baptists own numbers, they have lost members 6 years in a row and Baptisms are down a lot.

    I got a call from a friend a while ago, a member of a liberal church. They were complaining that all their members were getting old and they were leaving the church by dying off. Over the last few decades, it dropped 50%.

  • hunter

    A sidebar: not to mention the fact that a lot of federal judges get really independent once they’re on the bench. Case in point: Richard Posner, widely recognized as a very conservative jurist, wrote the most blistering decision against same-sex marriage bans to date. A sample:

    “Heterosexuals get drunk and pregnant, producing unwanted children; their reward is to be allowed to marry. Homosexual couples do not produce unwanted children; their reward is to be denied the right to marry. Go figure.”

    From Baskin v. Bogan. It’s quite a read.

  • Childermass

    I kind of doubt that the direct election of senators has had all that great effect on this issue. If anything, that senators have six-year terms is probably more significant, but even that might be iffy.

    After all, we are supposed to believe that a senator will lose his job because of he years before voted to approve a judge nominated by the president and supported by at least half of the other senators and that judge eventually voted to overturn a SSM ban. What is more, the senators reelection might be over five years after that “scandal.” I suspect if this takes him out, he was already in a very weak position. After all, no one becomes senator or stays senator unless they have some support somewhere and there are plenty of other issues besides judgeship. Bringing the state a lot of pork could easily trump this. And if the senator’s was politically weakened by confirming that judge, it might be easier to get reelected by the state legislature than a direct vote. After all, those legislators probably have two or more years before they next face reelection (plenty of time for the issue to blow over) and attaching a particular state senator to the judge’s vote is really getting to be a ridiculous stretch. And of course if the offending senator is a Democrat, the odds are that a Democratic state legislator elected him. Unless the Republicans took power in the meantime, I kind of doubt the Democrats would want to replace there own unless they felt they had no choice.

    To sum up:

    Senator votes to confirm judge

    0 years to decades pass

    Judge overturns SSM ban

    0 to 6 years pass.

    Senator faces reelection

    2 years pass

    State legislators face reelection

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    It’s ironic that in Canada, where we have a much more toothless senate, the conservatives whine about not being able to elect senators. Or at least they did when it was majority Liberals. Now that we’ve had several years of Harper shifting the balance to appointing a majority of Conservatives, the right has been oddly quiet on the subject – even after some recent scandals.

  • vereverum

    @ ArtK #9

    @ raven #12

    I think you’re both right. The fundamentalists are big on sending out missionaries and many of the storefront churches are actually missionary efforts from other fundamentalist churches. To the fundamentalist, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Mormons, etc., are missionary objects because they are at best apostate if not actually pagan. To some, even mainstream Methodists and Presbyterians are fallen away from the true religion and require missionary effort. The storefronts are then made up of some of the losses of the mainstream churches. The net change for combined mainstream and fundamentalist is negative.

  • theguy

    The title should have been “Friends-With-White-Supremacists Perkins Blames Gay Marriage on Democracy, Freedom”

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    @vereverum, @raven

    I acknowledge that the actual statistics show a steady decline. It was just a local observation. I’m not sure why my area would be fertile ground for those mini-churches, but it does seem to be that way.

  • magistramarla

    ArtK,

    I live in Texas, where mega-churches and storefront churches are everywhere. The ones that bother me the most are the churches that meet in nearly every movie theater around here.

    When we lived in California, we loved to go see a movie first thing on Sunday morning, followed by a bite of lunch in order to beat the crowds later in the day. Since we lived in a military community, there were a lot of church-goers, even in California.

    Since we moved to Texas, we’ve tried to avoid the church crowd the same way, but found that nearly every theater hosts a pop-up church. They fill the hall that we must walk through to get to our movie, try to give us their brochures, try to guide us into “their” auditorium, and allow small children to run helter-skelter through the hall, which is dangerous for a disabled person like myself.

    It seems to be impossible to avoid religious fanatics in Texas.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    And it was severe. 27 state legislatures out of the necessary 31 were prepared to go to an Article V Constitutional Convention to get it done.

    That’s what’s so stupid about claiming that the 17th Amendment is an usurpation of state powers. The amendment was an initiative of the states to solve a state-level problem and was passed by the states — it took over 3/4ths of the states to ratify it after 2/3rds of both the Congress and the Senate (mostly appointed by state legislatures at the time) voted in favor of it. But to hear wingnuts tell it, you’d think it was a rider snuck into an omnibus spending bill when no one was looking.

  • lpetrich

    Let’s see how far these Constitutional originalists are willing to go. Are they willing to revoke the Twelfth Amendment and go back to the original way of electing the Vice President? The original way was for the Vice President to be the Presidential candidate who got the second most votes. An Obama-Romney Presidency, anyone?

  • mistertwo

    Hey, I know a guy who actually thinks we should go back to only property owners being able to vote. I presume he means only real estate (cars mustn’t count), and only one per family (preferable male).

  • Michael Heath

    mistertwo writes:

    I know a guy who actually thinks we should go back to only property owners being able to vote. I presume he means only real estate (cars mustn’t count), and only one per family (preferable male).

    I know multiple men who argue that plus the need for a voter test. They’re all considered wise men of God in these parts.

    The last time the voter test idea came up I said it wouldn’t be fair to conservative Christians given their determined ignorance regarding history and the Constitution. That didn’t go over so well.