Pat Buchanan joins Manhattan Declarers in ‘civil disobedience’ fappery

Pat Buchanan takes a break from race-baiting to pledge his support for “civil disobedience” against marriage equality. Like all the other pundits advocating this, he is unable to explain just how this would work.

How does anyone “disobey” a law that doesn’t affect them? Marriage equality, as Maurice Williamson said, “is fantastic for the people it affects,” but it does not change anything for anyone else.

Marriage equality does not compel Pat Buchanan to start doing anything. It does not compel Pat Buchanan to stop doing anything. It does not force Catholic or white evangelical clergy to conduct or celebrate same-sex weddings. It does not compel such clergy to bless, accept or acknowledge such marriages.

Marriage equality does not even require people like Pat Buchanan, or the Catholic bishops, or the signers of the Manhattan Declaration, or white evangelical clergy to be any nicer to LGBT people than they have already proven incapable of being. It requires nothing from them.

And that means “civil disobedience” is simply not possible. It is a law that people like Pat Buchanan cannot either obey or disobey.

All this talk of “civil disobedience” from anti-gay folks like Buchanan and the Manhattan Declarers is just posturing. It’s part of the fantasy role-playing game in which they stroke their egos by pretending that they’re heroic champions of morality — the rightful heirs of Wilberforce, Bonhoeffer, King, Rustin, Parks, Gandhi and a host of others whom they would condemn and mock if they were still living.

Pat Buchanan, like the authors and signatories of the Manhattan Declaration, is just masturbating.

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  • TheBrett

    I think he’s full of shit, and that’s being generous. When gay marriage is legal across the board in this country, most people will quickly come to accommodate themselves to it. Even these so-called “civil disobedience” people will come around, because the fact is that most people don’t like it when most other people consider them to be an embarrassment.

  • Aeryl

    Yeah, what are they gonna do, go en masse to the clerks office and apply for straight marriage licenses?

    Or maybe falsely represent themselves as not-straight and try to do all those other things they warn us marriage equality will bring, like marry their dogs, children??

  • Orclove

    Thanks for including Rustin. I really do appreciate it, as opposed to the more-usual “CIVIL RIGHTS == MARTIN LUTHER KING!!!1!” *


  • Magic_Cracker

    Well, if Pat Buchanan were to kidnap a gay couple, make them sign a marriage license, take them to a Catholic church, hold a gun to the priest’s head to force him to perform the ceremony, and then shoot himself in head to make it all stop, that could be seen as a form of civil disobedience, seeing as suicide is illegal.

    In other news, did anyone else see the story a few months back that Bay Buchanan retired from politics, specifically, political commentary on TV, because she was tired of being angry all the time over unreal nonsense?

  • Vermic

    Marriage equality does not even require people like Pat Buchanan, or the Catholic bishops, or the signers of the Manhattan Declaration, or white evangelical clergy to be any nicer to LGBT people than they have already proven incapable of being. It requires nothing from them.

    I’d have never guessed it would be possible to invent a lazier form of protest than eating fast food at Chik-fil-A, but by God they found a way.

  • PatBannon

    I perk up every time I see your username here. You bring it so consistently, and you’ve done for years. I’m amazed.

  • Vermic

    Well, thank you very much! :)

  • Tim Lehnerer

    If he really wanted to make sure same-sex marriage stayed illegal, he should marry a dude in a state where it’s illegal and take the case to the Supreme Court where it can be overturned.

  • Mr. Heartland

    This might be pedantic, but isn’t Pat Buchanan too overtly racist to be a “race-baiter” per se?

  • Madhabmatics

    He’s a race baiter in the same way that a guy throwing dynamite into a lake is a fish baiter.

  • Hexep

    Or how someone who tries to lure kung fu teachers out of their schools is a master baiter.

  • ZipZapZoop

    Is it really that hard to imagine civil disobedience? What about the woman in Washington State being sued for not supplying flowers for a same-sex wedding? What about an adoption agency that refused to treat same-sex couples as married? Or an employer that refused to treat married same-sex couples the same as married straight couples with respect to benefits? You may think that any of those actions are wrong or stupid. But they are easy-to-imagine scenarios of people being forced by the law to acknowledge SSM and refusing to do so on the principle that such a forced recognition is unjust (from their perspective, that is.) Sounds like civil disobedience to me.

  • Dan Hetrick

    Except none of those things are directly related to same-sex marriage; they are LGBTQ discrimination issues, which, although related, aren’t the same thing. The woman in Washington being sued is not being sued because she wouldn’t get married to another woman, she’s being sued because she is discriminating against a same-sex couple, which is expressly forbidden under Washington law.

  • FearlessSon

    And knowing Washington (in which two of the top-ten most LGBT-friendly cities in the U.S. are located) a flower shop with such policies is likely to find its patronage decreasing.

    The market here simply does not want that.

  • ZipZapZoop

    I concede your point on the technicality of the first example (though in spirit I think it still makes sense and I think that the WA referendum contributed to the AG’s willingness to sue under anti-discrimination statutes). The other two examples are definitely cases where a distinction is being made based on marital status. If marriage is redefined so that married same sex couples must be included, it most definitely means putting employers and other people in a situation where the state demands recognition of same sex marriages. A refusal to comply with such a state-demanded recognition is not hard to imagine and relates directly to the state’s redefinition of marriage. Why wouldn’t that be civil disobedience?

  • smrnda

    Are you suggesting that employers should have legal veto power over providing benefits to spouses they don’t approve of? How far would you let that go? I see ’employer has a right to refuse benefit to partner if they don’t approve of your marriage’ as a move into serfdom. If employers don’t like who you are married to, I say tough sh*t for them.

  • mreed2

    The question is not “is it /appropriate/ for employers to refuse to extend benefits to same-sex couples if the state recognizes same-sex couples” (I answer that question no, and I suspect everyone reading this blog would answer it the same way) — it is whether or not such an act would qualify as an act of civil disobedience, and in my mind, yes, it would. The key qualifications are: 1) The law applies directly to you and 2) You willingly disobey it to draw attention to the law you disagree with.

  • smrnda

    I think you’re right, at least as to the definition. The problem is that historically, ‘civil disobedience’ is something that a less powerful person does to protest the status quo. Most of the ‘civil disobedience’ of anti-equality people is more privileged people using their power to make less powerful people miserable. It would be like a mine owner saying that his refusal to abide by OSHA standards is ‘civil disobedience.’

    I guess the main difference is that when people engaged in civil disobedience, it tended to bring out the fact that they were being pissed and shat on by society. In these cases, it’s likely to have the opposite effect.

  • Jon Maki

    I suspect that this is what’s Buchanan and the rest are getting at when they talk about “civil disobedience,” if we assume that they’re doing anything other than engaging in the sort of fantasy role-playing that Fred suggests (which they clearly are doing, it’s just possible that there’s more to it than that).
    But of course they’re aware that making a call for that sort of specific action is encouraging business owners to violate anti-discrimination laws, so they’re keeping it vague.
    The vagueness also helps to stoke fears of churches somehow being forced to recognize marriage equality, and that being the slippery slope by which our fraudulently-elected Islamoatheist CommieNazi Kenyan President will ultimately impose Sharia law that requires people to get gay married to their pets.
    Or whatever the hell it is these fucking idiots are so goddamn terrified about.
    On a happier note, yesterday I became a great uncle. I like to say that I became “the greatest uncle,” as I was already a “great” uncle.
    In any case, I’m very happy for my niece, who will make a great mother, though really it seems like she was born just yesterday, and I blinked and somehow she went from being that baby who was squeezing my finger to having a baby of her own.

  • Ross

    Remember, in their fantasy, it’s going to be illegal to be a christian, and catholic priests will be legally forced to perform same-sex weddings. So they imagine that continuing to go to church, preach intolerance, and refuse to officiat at same-sex weddings would all be “civil disobedience”.

    It’s like the NRA claiming that americans should practice civil disobedience by refusing to hand in their guns (since there is no law in effect or proposed which would require them to do so)

  • Makabit

    I am reminded of a PJ O’Rourke piece, in which he talks about how the Panamanian opposition managed to find a way to make littering and traffic jams a form of political protest in a Latin American country.

    “Imagine how fast we’d have been out of Vietnam if golfing and watching Mayberry RFD had been anti-war,” he muses.

  • Lori

    Congratulations on the new addition to your family. I have no doubt that you will indeed be the greatest uncle. And I know exactly what you mean about having time flying. I have two nephews who are dads and it’s a little weird.

  • Ross

    That wouldn’t be “civil disobedience”, it’d be “Failing to do one’s job”

  • stardreamer42

    I suspect that this is indeed the sort of thing he’s thinking about. However, the other thing to keep in mind is that “civil disobedience” includes the willingness to accept the consequences of your behavior. The black people who sat at “all-white” lunch counters and demanded to be served knew full well that they were going to be beaten and jailed and then beaten again worse. Do you think any of the people Buchanan is talking about (or Buchanan himself) is willing to lose their job or face prosecution for violating the law? Not a chance. Which means that they’re not talking about civil disobedience at all — they’re just brats having a temper tantrum because no one will treat them like Special Snowflakes who don’t have to do their damn jobs.

  • fraser

    Oh, I think Buchanan’s fine with seeing other people carted off to jail and giving him an excuse to scream about tyranny. But in his position, I don’t see him having much opportunity (“Well, of course, if I was running a wedding-catering business, I’d be happy to go to jail, but I’m not.”). It’s like cheap grace.

  • Carstonio

    One trolley company owner chose to end services for weddings entirely rather than provide these for same-sex couples. That’s a case of sacrificing income directly for a matter of principle. But let’s not put him in the same moral category as, say, a magazine publisher refusing cigarette advertising.

  • FearlessSon

    However, the other thing to keep in mind is that “civil disobedience” includes the willingness to accept the consequences of your behavior.

    In other words, they want to go on discriminating without consequence, and regard any attempt to impose consequence as an attack on their “freedom” by “forcing” them to serve people they do not like lest they incur a slap-on-the-wrist.

  • Urthman

    It’s legal to refuse to rent a hotel room or apartment to a couple that isn’t married. If that’s your policy for couples regardless of sexual orientation, then the civil disobedience issue would just be about refusing to recognize the legitimacy of SSM.

  • DavidCheatham

    Actually, no, that’s not legal.

    First, let’s clarify…couples do not rent hotel rooms. Rooms are rented to individuals. (Of course, under some state laws, spouses all own each properties, so in a technical sense, you’re renting to both, but that’s a random side effect of marriage law. A hotel room is always in _someone’s_ name. Apartments and whatnot might be under multiple people, but it’s not worth it for hotels to figure all that out.)

    Now, as to why it’s not legal: It’s actually illegal to discriminate based on marital status. That is, it’s illegal to refuse to rent a room to a single person when you would rent it to a married person.

    So to refuse to rent to a gay couple that is married because you don’t recognize their marriage is nonsense…you’re not allowed to refuse to rent to people because they’re not married to start with!

    Now, what is _hypothetically_ possible without tripping over marriage discrimination law would renting a room to someone and asserting that they only have the right to have family in that room, in an attempt to keep out non-spouses.

    However, _that_ sort of thing tends to fall down on ‘renter’s rights’ laws. Basically, landlords cannot just randomly keep people off the rented property that the renters want on the property without _some_ sort of justification.

    I don’t really know how much these sort of laws apply to hotel rooms, though, and it’s possible that a ‘family’ rule could, indeed, keep out _unmarried_ gay couples. (Along with keeping out all sorts of other business and shooting yourself in the foot.)

    However, as the way to have someone removed from a hotel room would be to _call the police_, and if the renter has a contract stating that only their ‘family’ can be there, and the owner is attempting to remove their legal spouse, I suspect the police will just laugh and leave. The _landlord_ can’t remove people from his rooms. (Of course, maybe _this_ is the civil disobedience they’re talking about…kidnapping gay people and forcibly removing them from their rented hotel rooms.)

  • Urthman

    Actually there’s only 4 states (Alaska, California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey) where it’s illegal for renters to discriminate based on marital status (that is, refuse to rent to someone who is unmarried – there are about 20 states that prohibit the opposite kind of discrimination – refusing to rent to someone who is married).

  • DavidCheatham

    Wow, apparently you are right.. I could have sworn marital status was protected under the Federal Fair Housing Act, but that is entirely wrong. (It _is_ protected under employment law, though.)

    However, I don’t actually think that changes anything, because I’m still actually right. Just wrong about how the law changed. ;)

    In most places, hospitality laws exist that say hotels _must_ receive any guests willing to pay, plus a few other qualifiers, like not using the room for unlawful purposes. If you show up at a hotel, and they have a room, and you have cash, they have to let you rent.

    I.e., hotels have near infinite non-discriminatory restrictions. The rest of the country can refuse to do business with people who have a blue hat, or for no reason at all, but hotels can’t.

    Now, back when adulatory was illegal, hotels could, indeed, not rent rooms to unmarried people. Likewise, back when homosexual conduct was illegal, hotels could refuse to rent them rooms. As long as they had a reasonable suspicion unlawful activity would occur there, they could refuse.

    Those laws are now dead letter, and hence hotels can’t actually bar someone from renting a room on those grounds.

  • Carstonio

    It’s a mistake to assume that treatment of same-sex couples as married qualifies as “recognition” of same-sex marriage, at least in the moral sense. The assumption defines the conscience so broadly that the agency could only maintain it if homosexuality didn’t exist.

    No, equal treatment of same-sex married couples is a recognition that the sexes that the clients choose for spouses none of the agency’s business. It’s unreasonable and illogical for the agency to believe that it’s somehow homosexuality or same-sex marriage – the agency doesn’t have that power, or at least it shouldn’t. Or to believe that equal treatment amounts to a moral taint on the agency.

    Not long ago the Catholic Charities in DC ended foster care and public adoption services altogether rather than place children with same-sex couples. While other agencies did fill the void, the move spoke very poorly of Catholic Charities’ morality. They obviously felt that expressing disapproval of private marital decisions was more important than making sure children have parents.

  • Katie

    I think that, in the mind of the florist, refusing to sell flowers to the couple who was getting married might have been ‘taking a stand against same-sex marriage’. Apparently the couple had been buying flowers there for years, as had other QUILTBAG types who lived in the area. This wasn’t a problem for her, selling flowers for a Gay Wedding was the issue.

  • Fusina

    Regarding the first person mentioned.

    1) Does she supply flowers for weddings as a usual thing?
    2) Does she have a shop that sells to anyone who enters off the street?
    3) Does she do flowers for Jewish or Muslim couples?

    If these are all things she does, she doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on. Or a religious one either.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Nobody in this country has the right to live in a padded room where they never, ever encounter anything that offends them.

    People who are against marriage equality do not have the right to never hear of, encounter or have to acknowledge it. They have the right to not be forced into same sex marriages, they have the right to talk their fool heads off about how they think it’s wrong, they have the right to not have their churches forced to perform same sex marriages…You get the point.

    But they do not have a right to discriminate simply because they think being gay is icky.

    If that was a right, then I would have a right to never, ever hear anything about fundamental Christianity, because I’m against it and it can be a trigger. Jews would have the right to never have to hear about people who don’t keep kosher. Jehova’s Witnesses would have the right to never have to encounter medical treatments.

    And the country would basically cease to function, because there’s no way to systematically censor every encounter every single person will ever have to make sure it adheres to their list of okay and not okay.

  • Jim Roberts

    Except that none of these things apply to churches and religious churches which have a variety of ways to avoid hiring people they don’t want to, up to and including causing them to sign agreements to specific a specific moral standpoint as a condition of employment (see: the woman who was fired for getting pregnant because it was a violation of her employer’s “code.”)

    I mean, really, what does this mean? Pat Buchanan REALLY isn’t going to hire gays this time?

  • Carstonio

    Buchanan was pushing hatred on behalf of Nixon when I was still riding a tricycle. Hard to tell how much he sincerely believes that SSM opponents will be forced to go against their consciences, and how much he’s preying upon the fears of others with that belief to keep his commentator’s gig. I suppose the question is not all that relevant.

  • Carstonio

    I wouldn’t put it past Buchanan to engage in real fantasy role-playing against SSM, such as disrupting wedding services. I suppose that would be uncivil disobedience.

  • MaryKaye

    If Buchanan employs people in a state where SSM is legal, and one of those people is in a SSM, he could commit civil disobedience by refusing to treat them as married for the purposes of benefits given to married employees. I think he would be able to get away with this with regard to Federal statues because of DOMA, at least until it’s struck down, but wouldn’t have a leg to stand on with regard to state statutes. He might then be sued. I doubt he would go to jail–it’s the kind of white-collar crime that never seems to send people to jail.

    He would, of course, then be in the bizarre position of claiming that his Christianity requires denial of help to the sick and denial of fair wages to workers. But that’s nothing new.

    It seems to me that only two classes of people can break this particular law: (1) employers and their agents, (2) government officials who grant marriage licenses or administer marriage benefits. But (1) covers a whole lot of people.

  • DMG

    Even in that case he wouldn’t be practising civil disobedience against same sex marriage law. He would be civilly disobeying laws that require employers to offer particular benefits to married couples.

    A simple test is to imagine his disobedience triggered a court case and he won. The law that gets struck down would not be the one allowing same sex couples to wed – nobody’s marriage would be annulled. The best he could hope for (which wouldn’t happen) is striking down employers’ obligations to legally married couples as a group.

    So even this example does not qualify as civil disobedience against same sex marriage law.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    As others have pointed out, Buchanan is suggesting “civil disobedience” in areas of employment law, housing law, right to refuse service, etc. So it takes real chutzpah for him to cite “priests and pastors march[ing] for civil rights” in his argument defending these types of discrimination.

  • deltmachine

    MAY DAY!

    the culture industry – the ideology of death


  • Em

    You’re not supposed to be posting on the Internet, Dennis. Do you want to go back to jail?

  • The_L1985

    I’m not sure if this is Dennis, rather than a copycat. After all, it’s missing that photo of a vacuum cleaner.

  • stardreamer42

    Buchanan has always been absolutely rabid batshit insane about homosexuality, far more so than about any of his other pet issues. The newspaper in my former city carried his editorial column, and the tenor of the language whenever he touched on the topic of homosexuality was completely different than for any of the other things he wrote about — pure frothing vitriol, without even a pretense of logic or coherence behind it.

    I used to wonder when someone would out him, but now I think it’s unlikely. He’s so far back in the closet that he can see Narnia.

  • Carstonio

    Despite the long parade of professional homophobes revealed as gay, as a matter of principle I refuse to make any conclusions about their colleagues without solid evidence. Odd that no one makes similar accusations of straight celebrities who strongly support gay rights – during the Red Scare, anyone who condemned McCarthyism was accused of being a communist or a sympathizer.

    Having said that, any such revelation for an A-list homophobe like Buchanan or Dobson would be like the Holy Grail.

  • FearlessSon

    Reminds me of in The Simpsons when Moe ran for a city council position while pretending to be gay (It Makes Sense In Context) only to get “outed” as straight and lose support, saying:

    “Hey, who are you gonna vote for: Me, who pretended to be gay, or a Republican, whose policies are so anti-gay they prove that he’s super-gay?”

  • Ross

    Accusing homophobes of being closeted homosexuals always strikes me as being too close to giving assent to the idea that being gay is something shameful.

    Like when George Takei called that school board member a douchebag. It was a FANTASTIC rant, but the bit where he predicts that the guy will soon make headlines by being caught in a same-sex relationship, that got close to, like, the way one schoolkid teases another by insinuating that they’re gay.

  • FearlessSon

    Shamefulness is a subjective thing though. To a lot of the closeted people, especially those who are both closeted and anti-gay, being gay is something that they find shameful. By contrast, someone who is unashamed of being gay will be more likely to come out of the closet.

    Some of this has to do with the individual themselves, but much of the rest of it has to do with their enculturation. Someone raised in an environment where they are told that being gay is horrible and sinful will see homosexuality as shameful and if they are gay will be unlikely to come out. Likewise, someone raised in an environment where homosexuality is open, celebrated, and not sanctioned against will be more likely to see no shame in it, and if they are gay will probably feel more free to assert that.

    If people like Tim Hardaway are going to find homosexuality shameful, then I have no problem with tweaking their shame. If they do not treat it as shameful, then they should have nothing to be ashamed of.

  • Fusina

    My best friend suggested that perhaps someone could get certified to marry people and then perform SSM dressed as a Pat Buchanan impersonator– make sure to take video and post to youtube. Who knows, it might go over big in Vegas, after all you can already get married by Elvis.

  • fraser

    Not so sure. He is, after all, old enough to remember when homosexuality was a Sick Horrible Disgusting Mental Disorder and Perversion in the opinion of everyone. He longs for those days in most other aspects of his life, why not this one?

  • Will Hennessy

    Well, at least he found something to do…

  • misanthropy_jones

    if bucky and his ilk had a civil bone in their bodies, they wouldn’t be looking to disobey…

  • Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    The legality of civil unions for same-sex couples went into effect in Colorado today. On May Day, of all days.

    Buchanan, you are losing this battle.

  • Keulan

    The anti-gay bigots keep using the words “civil disobedience.” I do not think it means what they think it means.

  • Makabit

    One scenario I picture coming out of this: a straight couple presents themselves at some church where same-sex marriages are performed. They try to get their wedding done by the pastor of said church, or on their facilities, knowing that for whatever reason (you have to be a member, Labor Day weekend is already taken, you have to take their class first, whatever) they will be denied. Then they claim that it’s because they’re straight, and flip the hell out, in front of the press.

    I expect to see it happen.

  • ShifterCat

    I could also see them being roundly mocked, like that Canadian couple who complained that same-sex marriage had adversely affected them — their argument was that their marriage certificate said “spouse” instead of “bride” and “groom”, and this gave them a sad.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I shall now seek these people out and attempt to sue them, because I had a drink in my hand when I face-palmed at their stupidity, and that drink is now all over my shirt.

    It makes about as much sense.

  • ShifterCat

    I tried Googling them, but failed to find the story.

  • SisterCoyote

    For some reason, this issue with people misunderstanding civil disobedience has made me think of this comic. “I DECLARE MY DODGE ON YOU!”
    “I think you’re misunderstanding the…”

  • Magic_Cracker

    It’s funny ’cause it’s true.

  • PatBannon

    +1 for Goblins. Brutal, horrible, amazing.

  • Shawn

    I agree with the posters above that some people will be in a position to commit civil disobedience on equality laws, such as employers or county clerks. All that is required is the desire to break the law out of moral conviction, and you can just as easily object to a just law as an injust one.

    That said, they’re probably not going to get much sympathy for doing so, since the whole point of civil disobedience is to point out the injustice of punishing you for doing whatever you did. “My beliefs require me to treat other people unequally” isn’t a persuasive rallying cry. It’s the difference between claiming that you are required to die for your beliefs, and claiming that you are required to kill others for them.

  • Carstonio

    The whole point of civil disobedience is to call attention to injustice, whereas Buchanan’s idea would perpetuate injustice. If he were a vegetarian working as a restaurant server, he would refuse to serve patrons who eat meat, even if the patrons ordered vegetarian dishes.

    Some of the court clerks in my county had balked at officiating for same-sex weddings. (We’re not the only county in the state that has a slight Catholic majority, but to my knowledge, we had the only objectors.) The head clerk simply exempted the objectors from officiating at any weddings. In her place, I might have been tempted to invite the clerks to seek other employment. But the real issue is that the objectors haven’t demonstrated why their religious beliefs would prevent them from even officiating – apparently they wrongly equate that act with actually having a spouse of the same sex. That would be no different from an Amish-owned business turning away customers who have cable TV or landline phone service.

  • David Policar

    > The whole point of civil disobedience is to call attention to an unjust law or situation

    Can you say more about what you mean here?

    To be more precise.. suppose there’s a law L which you and I would agree is an unjust law, and Sam publicly violates L in the hopes of calling public attention to it and thereby creating opposition to L. I’m assuming we’d agree that this is civil disobedience.

    Suppose there’s another law, L2, which you and I would agree is a just law, and Pat publicly violates L2 in the hopes of calling public attention to it and thereby creating opposition to L2.

    Is this not also civil disobedience?

  • Carstonio

    In the strictly technical sense, you’re right that the strategies are the same. The objectives are far different. Violating a just law to attract public attention and oppose justice is simply an act of whiny, selfish petulance.

  • David Policar

    Oh, absolutely. Civil disobedience in defense of an unjust law is unjust, just as lobbying congress or paying for advertising or any other strategy in defense of an unjust law is unjust.

  • Mira

    I can think of a protest that doesn’t quite rise to the level of civil disobedience, technically, but has a similar idea behind it. When I was married, the minister said that her policy is only to perform religious ceremonies and not sign any legal paperwork, because she refused to act as an arm of the state in a state without marriage equality. (My spouse and I were like, “That’s awesome, we respect that.” We did find a judge to take care of the paperwork though.)

    There’s nothing to prevent clergy members from having similar personal or even denominational policies in states where gay marriage is legal. I wouldn’t even care if they did, it would only cause a bit of inconvenience for members their own congregations who wanted to be legally married. And I think for Christians in the US, we can afford to distinguish between the religious and political a little more.

  • Tobasco da Gama

    Ah, but that’s precisely why it would never happen. Anyone who opposes marriage equality believes that the religious and the political should be one and the same.

  • Carstonio

    That’s probably true for all but a tiny minority of opponents. Many offer ostensibly secular arguments that cite sexual dimorphism or gender roles or reproduction. But these usually sound like clumsy translations of some Catholic doctrines.

    Robert George is one of many who argues that procreation should take place only within marriage, but he goes further and insists that even infertile opposite-sex couples serve as role models to reinforce that norm. He doesn’t explain how same-sex marriage allegedly promotes procreation outside of marriage, although based on what other opponents have said, this may be simply fear of the dreaded two-mommy scenario.

  • David Policar

    For what it’s worth, I agree that married infertile opposite-sex couples reinforce the “procreation only within marriage” social norm, by contrast to unmarried infertile opposite-sex couples, in that they reinforce the social norm that marriage is part of being a family, regardless of what kind of family one is part of.

    Of course, I would say the same thing about married same-sex couples. And married mixed-gender triads, for that matter.

  • Carstonio

    Sure, but unlike George and his colleagues, you don’t appear to assume that homosexuality is a choice. And I suspect that you reject the claim of a moral or social obligation to limit one’s potential sexual partners to the opposite sex.

  • David Policar

    (nods) A well-founded suspicion, to be sure. More than that, I’m not especially committed to the idea that reinforcing the social norm that marriage is (a necessary) part of being a family is a good thing. (Though I’m not confident it isn’t, either.) I’m just sayin’, these things do in fact reinforce that norm.

  • fraser

    If they really believed gay is a choice, anti-gays wouldn’t be so outraged about gays serving in the military. If it’s a “lifestyle choice” then all you have to do is put “don’t follow that lifestyle or you get discharged”in the regs (I would not be in favor of this, but it is a logical solution). Instead, they approach gayness as something which is fixed and not a choice.

  • Carstonio

    But most opponents didn’t want gays in the military at all. Generally they weren’t active service members, but politicians and activists who claimed to be looking out for those members. Just like activists claiming to be protecting the consciences of pharmacists regarding contraception, or bishops claiming to be looking out for Catholic employers.

    These folks expected us to believe that men who willingly face death and dismemberment in the service of their country would panic at the thought of a gay comrade ogling them in the shower. (I say men because opponents generally don’t talk about this alleged phenomenon occurring in the women’s showers.) This is projection on several levels, rooted in sexist beliefs about gender roles.

  • Fusina

    Sadly, it also probably comes from a phenomenon I have observed, that straight men also like girl on girl porn.

    sarcasm “Only for the love of God, they had better not get married. Ugh.” /sarcasm

  • Ross

    Their belief systems might be more comprehensible if you can get your mind around the concept that they believe it is possible and okay for there to be different “levels” of being-a-real-true-person. So they don’t see a problem with “sexuality is fixed and not a choice, and _those people_ are an inferior stratum from Us, deserving of fewer rights.” — that is, they don’t think that ‘These people are born that way’ means “and therefore we should not discriminate against them on this basis.”

  • Ross

    One of the bizarre arguments I’ve heard is that, in essence, any time we treat as “equal” something which deviates from the “ideal”, we are damaging the ideal’s status-as-ideal, and thereby creating an environment where “anything goes”. That is, unless same-sex relationships are treated as inferior, then “procreation only within marriage” loses its status as “best”.

  • The_L1985

    The arguments I hear seem to imply that all things which are allowed are also compulsory.

    Because, you know, I’m forced to buy ice cream every day. Since it’s legal to do that. Just look at my 50 freezers full of ice cream that don’t actually exist. 9_9

  • David Policar

    (nods) I’ve heard the argument as well. I agree with it as far as it goes.. if there are a dozen things just as good as X, then X is not special, sure.

    My point of departure is twofold… first, that doesn’t mean “anything goes,” it means “more than one thing goes.” I can believe that there’s more than one “best food to eat” without believing that everything is equally good to eat.

    Second, basically, so what? OK, X loses its status as “best.” That’s OK. The world is not thereby made worse.

  • David Policar

    Ah, if only that were so. I know people who agree with the Church/State distinction but oppose marriage equality on the grounds that, as far as I can tell, everything should be the way it was when they were kids because change makes them uncomfortable, and also gay sex is icky.

  • P J Evans

    The world wasn’t the way they think it was when they were kids, either. Kids never get told the big picture, and especially not the *whole* picture.

  • FearlessSon

    And I think for Christians in the US, we can afford to distinguish between the religious and political a little more.

    I can recall some arguments that I can only assume were sincere claiming that marriage has always been a religious tradition, and the government recognition of it was simply that, legal recognition of a religious tradition. Their argument was that gay people were trying to offend Christian people by clamoring for marriage, claiming that it is forcibly re-defining what they saw as being their (the religion’s) tradition to define.

    The person making the argument seemed genuinely unaware that homosexual people might want to get married to a partner of the same sex for reasons other than spite.

  • Carstonio

    I haven’t heard the spite argument before, but I have heard many claims about religions supposedly owning marriage. One “compromise” that’s been offered would classify all legal marriages as civil unions and leave the word marriage to the religions. It’s far more likely that the concept of marriage predates religion.

  • ShifterCat

    The “marriage has always been religious” idea wouldn’t be so bad if the people currently trumpeting it didn’t automatically assume “religious = Abrahamic”, or at the very least, “religious = patriarchal religion”.

  • FearlessSon

    Yeah, look at them realizing that public funding for religious schools covers Muslim schools too, or that prayer in school covers pagan prayers too.

  • Carstonio

    Yeah, it’s obvious that they see marriage as owned by their religion.

  • David Policar

    Presumably they are equally baffled by why Jews get married.

  • Mark Baker-Wright

    One thing that a lot of anti-marriage equality folks often claim is that, even if pastors won’t be required to marry gays, other Christians… say, Christian wedding photographers, won’t have the option to opt out of doing gay weddings without being sued. While I confess that this argument makes no sense to me, I’d like to see that addressed, as well.

  • P J Evans

    If the photographers advertise only to Christians and aren’t available to anyone else, they might be able to make that claim, If they’re advertising and open to the general public, tough: they’re in the same leaking boat as the florists and the bakers and the facilities people who have no problems with opposite-general marriages of any religion, but draw the line at same-sex marriages.

  • David Policar

    I’ll happily address it: if I provide a service to married couples generally, but I refuse to provide that service to a gay married couple, that ought to be treated the same way as if I provide a service to single people generally, but I refuse to provide that service to single gay people.

    We can then have a discussion about whether gay people should be a protected class in the first place (e.g., should I have the right to kick gay people out of my pizzeria because I don’t approve of homosexuality?), but this no longer has anything to do with marriage equality. It’s about equality for gay people more generally.

    For that matter, we can have a discussion about whether any class should be protected (e.g., should I have the right to kick Christians out of my pizzeria because I don’t approve of Christianity?).

    My own answer is “yes” to both questions.

  • Lunch Meat

    Just to clarify–“yes” to which both questions? “Should gay people/any class be protected” or “should I have the right to kick gay people/Christians out”?

  • David Policar

    Well, I meant “should gay people be protected?” and “should any class be protected”?

    That said, my general answer to “should/do I have the right to kick X out?” is also “yes,” with the caveat that we can (and often do, and often ought to) suspend that right in cases where allowing it creates an unreasonable burden on X. But I recognize that this is more controversial, and isn’t what I meant.

  • Carstonio

    Buchanan and his fellow haters aren’t necessarily talking about lawsuits against business owners who discriminate against gay couples. They’re implying that such owners will face criminal penalties. Some of them might not honesty see a practical distinction, conflating the two as the government telling them how to run their businesses. Buchanan is probably perceptive enough to know the difference but he doesn’t care.

  • David Policar

    Yup, that sounds about right.

    Either way, the first hundred or so times such a business gets sued for discriminatory practices, folks like Buchanan will certainly go “See? They’re making it illegal to be Christian!” even if the store owner is a homophobic atheist.

    And either that strategy will work, and we will back away from opposing discrimination against queer folk, or it will fail, and they’ll try something else.

  • Risser

    So, being married in the state-sanctioned sense means that you get spousal benefits normally reserved for hetero couples. I suppose someone who wanted to practice civil disobedience could refuse to provide those benefits for spouses in a same-sex marriage. For example, refusing to let a same-sex spouse have visiting rights in a hospital or something.

  • ShifterCat
  • Matt

    If I were going to perform an act of “civil disobedience” against marriage equality, I suppose I could interrupt services in some way or sit in places that were performing weddings and glare imperiously. Or shout something at them that shows how crude I am.

  • Fusina

    Rhode Island voted to make SSM the legal law of the land.

    Happy dance, happy dance!

  • Chris Hadrick

    Pat Buchanan is so awesome on other stuff that I give him a pass here. “Whose War?” is the greatest column of our time.

    Written on the eve of the Iraq War