There was much rejoicing among proponents of equality and fairness on Friday, when the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality in all 50 states. Among fans of discrimination and inequality, there was despair.
After more than a century of defending marriage as a fundamental right, and protecting access for women, the poor, prisoners, and interracial couples, the Court protected this fundamental right for same-sex couples. Same-sex couples now have the same rights and protections as everyone else, and nobody lost any rights and protections they already had. It was a ruling in which everybody won.
Not everyone saw it that way. There was so much joy in the air on Friday that it was difficult to focus much on wingnut insanity, beyond the hilariously bitter (Scalia) and bizarrely delusional (Thomas) dissents from members of the Court. But celebration wasn’t the only reaction to the Court’s decision. Right-wingers threatened everything from civil war to rewriting the constitution.
All of the GOP presidential candidates weighed in.
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R, Texas) told “Morning Edition” Steve Inskeep that he felt Supreme Court Justices should be subject to elections, and lose their lifetime appointments.
- Cruz told Fox News host Sean Hannity, “Today, it’s some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history.”
- Immediately after the ruling, Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee called on his followers to “resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.”
- On ABC’s “This Week,” Huckabee said that marriage equality opponents “don’t have a choice,” but to directly challenge the Court’s ruling.
- It fell to Fox News Host Megyn Kelly to explain to Huckabee, “It’s the Supreme Court’s job to interpret the Constitution and tell us what it means.”
- Former Sen. Rick Santorum told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that the next president must stop same-sex marriage “for the survival of our country.”
- During a speech in Iowa following the Court’s ruling, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal suggested doing away with the Supreme Court. “The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body,” he told the crowd, as quoted by The Advocate newspaper. “If we want to save some money lets just get rid of the court.”
- Asked on NBC’s “Meet The Press” why his state had not yet issued licenses, Jindal said. “We don’t have a choice. Our agencies will comply with the court order.” Jindal explained that since the Court’s ruling did not specifically stay the state had to start issuing licenses, Louisiana is waiting for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to implement the Supreme Court’s ruling.
- Former Florida governor Jeb Bush dropped his previous “respect” for same-sex couples. Appearing on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “The Brody File,” Bush warned that the country’s future would be at risk if children were raised by same-sex parents. “To imagine how we are going to succeed in our country unless we have committed family life, committed child-centered family system, is hard to imagine,” Bush said. “We need to be stalwart supporters of traditional marriage.” (Nobody mentioned that Florida’s foster system literally lost 500 children on Bush’s watch. Having inherited the worst foster system in the country, Bush made it worse by privatizing the state’s child welfare service system, and sub-contracting out the work of caring for foster children.)
- Speaking to Beitbart.Com, Sen. Rand Paul (R, Kentucky) said that marriage equality “offends” him: “I’m for traditional marriage. I think marriage is between a man and a woman. Ultimately, we could have fixed this a long time ago if we just allowed contracts between adults. We didn’t have to call it marriage, which offends myself and a lot of people.”
- Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who is expected to enter the race soon, condemned the Court’s decision as a “gave mistake,” and said in a statement, “As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.”
- Donald Trump touted his support of “traditional marriage” on CNN’s “State of the Union”, only to have host Jake Tapper ask him, “What do you say to a lesbian who’s married, or a gay man who is married, who says, ‘Donald Trump, what’s traditional about being married three times?’”
- Ohio governor John Kasich, who will enter the raise laster this month, said that he believes in “traditional marriage,” but that America needs to “take a deep breath” after the Court’s ruling.
- South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham warned on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage would not only fail, but hurt the GOP as well. “You can put it in the [GOP] platform, but it will, in my view, hurt us in 2016, because it’s a process that’s not going to bear fruit,” Graham said.
Out of all the GOP candidates, Graham is about the only one willing to tell the base that passing a constitutional amendment ain’t gonna happen in a country where 60 percent of Americans support marriage equality. Maybe that’s because deep down Graham knows he’s not going to win the GOP presidential nomination, so he has nothing to lose by speaking this particular truth.
The rest of the field would do well to listen to former Bush speechwriter David Frum’s take on the opportunity conservatives have to pivot away from old “culture war” politics: “Every once in a while, we bring down the curtain on the politics of a prior era. The stage is now cleared for the next generation of issues. And Republicans can say, ‘Whether you’re gay, black or a recent migrant to our country, we are going to welcome you as a fully cherished member of our coalition.’”
What played well even 10 years ago won’t necessarily work today. A poll conducted by the Democratic research firm GQRR found that 55 percent of likely 2016 voters would be less likely to vote for a candidate who opposed marriage equality. Even evangelicals, traditionally the “go-to” constituency for right-wing candidates, are not uniformly outraged by the Court’s ruling. Some, like David Cloud, hold the perspective that the Court was “shaking its puny fist at God,” which shouldn’t bother true believers. Others who are in favor of LGBT equality celebrated.
Various right-wing lawmakers took their cue from segregationists who resisted integration, after the Court desegregated public schools.
- Rep. Louis Gohmert (R, Texas) released a statement warning that “God’s hand of protection will be withdrawn” from the US as a result of Friday’s ruling. Look for Gohmert to claim everything from natural disasters to terrorist attacks and bad-hair days as “proof” of his claim.
- Sen. James Inhofe, (R, Oklahoma) invoked the enigmatic gay friends every right-winger seems to have, to tell KJRH, “ I know a lot of people, actually a lot of people who are friends of mine in the gay community, who also think it was a bad decision.”
- Mississippi governor Phil Bryant said the Court’s decision “usurps” states’ right to self-govern, and told the Clarion-Ledger that he is studying the state’s legal options.
- Clerks in Harris County, Texas stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether, until Harris County attorney ordered them to comply. As a result, Jack Evans and George Harris — both in their 80s, and together for 54 years — became the first same-sex couple to get married in Dallas, Texas.
- Probate judge Wes Allen of Alabama’s Pike County stopped issuing marriage licenses based on a new interpretation of the word “may” in the Alabama statute that states, “marriage licenses may be issued by the judges of probate.” Apparently, “may” also implies “may not.”
Of all the reactions to the Supreme Court ruling, none could beat former D.C. Madam patron Sen. David Vitter’s (R, Louisiana) Tweet of himself eating Chik-Fil-A in his car.
Chick-fil-A kind of day pic.twitter.com/D1HqJd3Umh
— David Vitter (@DavidVitter) June 27, 2015
The internet has a long memory, and Sen. Vitter walked right into the thick of it.
— day enjoyer (@samknight1) June 27, 2015
@DavidVitter you paid prostitutes to put you in a diaper and treat you like a big baby
— The Discourse Lover (@Trillburne) June 27, 2015
.@DavidVitter You get off on wearing adult diapers and being an adult baby. Who are you to judge my lifestyle and marriage?
— Robin (@caulkthewagon) June 27, 2015
@DavidVitter marriage is between a man, a woman and his prostitutes. Right Senator?
— Bill Evans (@WGBill) June 27, 2015
— John Smith (@GOP_U) June 27, 2015
@DavidVitter Eat it up! We’re too busy celebrating marriage equality to care.
— Fortune Feimster (@fortunefunny) June 27, 2015
So .@DavidVitter are you afraid the gays will ruin your marriage after you cheated on your wife with prostitutes? Bwhaaaa!
— Jade Helm Commander (@Anomaly100) June 28, 2015
— steviest (@stevematic) June 27, 2015
@DavidVitter You can really taste the hate and hypocrisy in every bite. You’re wearing a diaper right now, aren’t you?
— Bob (@jordan101LA) June 28, 2015
The Usual Suspects
The peanut gallery collapsed into hysterics.
- Alabama’s chief justice Roy Moore’s wife Kayla Moore posted on Facebook that their Foundation for Moral Law would wound steadfastly oppose marriage equality in Alabama. Moore called the Court’s ruling “illegitimate,” and claimed that “at least 2 members of the Court’s majority opinion were under a legal duty to recuse and refrain from voting” — referring to justices Ginsburg and Kagan having officiated at same-sex weddings.
- National Review Online’s Quinn Hilyer wrote, “We should weep for our country, and for its constitutional order.”
- Focus on the Family Founder James Dobson said the “vulnerable kids will grow up in homes with same-sex parents” are the “real victims of the Court’s ruling.”
- The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol tweeted “Polygamy, here we come!”
- Fox News host Martha MacCallum asked “what’s to prevent 3 people from getting married.
- Radio host Bryan Fischer tweeted, “June 26, 2015: a date which will live in infamy, comparing the Courts ruing to Pearl Harbor). Fisher followed up by tweeting, ”From a moral standpoint, 6/26 is now our 9/11.”
Some threatened everything from suicide to revolution.
- Fox News contributor Todd Starnes warned his Twitter followers, “If you think the cultural purge over southern traditions was egregious – wait until you see what they do to Christians in America.
- Starnes also warned pastors who refuse to perform gay wedding ceremonies to “prepare for hate crime charges.”
- In an interview with Starnes, Franklin Graham warned Fox News viewers, “you had better be ready and you had better be prepared” for full-scale persecution of Christians, and for “God’s judgment on this nation.”
- Pastor Steven Anderson, of Faithful Word Baptist Church called for ministers who performed same-sex marriages to be stoned to death, and reiterated his call for the execution of all LGBT people. “I hate them with a perfect hatred,” Anderson shouted. “I count them mine enemies.”
- Glenn Beck warned that his radio program could be shut down because his Mormon church will not perform same-sex weddings. “This could mean the end of radio broadcasts like mine,” Beck said.
- Janet Porter released a hilarious video comparing marriage equality to slavery, and claimed it will bring about the End Times, Nazi-style anti-Christian persecution, and the end of civilization.
- After saying that he would be willing to set himself on fire to protest marriage equality, Texas pastor Rick Scarborough backed out, explaining that he was merely quoting a song.