Not surprisingly, GOP presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum made dumb, bigoted comments about the overturning of Prop 8, but let’s focus on Mitt Romney’s reaction, as he’s frequently presented as the least horrific of the bunch.
“Today, unelected judges cast aside the will of the people of California who voted to protect traditional marriage,” Romney said following the decision. “This decision does not end this fight, and I expect it to go to the Supreme Court. That prospect underscores the vital importance of this election and the movement to preserve our values. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and, as president, I will protect traditional marriage and appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written and not according to their own policies and prejudices.”
“Unelected judges” is a conservative catchphrase. It is supposed to get your dander up: These “unelected” (that’s not Democratic!) judges just do whatever they want without listening to the will of the people! This misses the fact that judges are tasked with protecting the Constitution. The majority of citizens cannot all agree to deprive rights from the minority. Otherwise, there would be states in which you couldn’t own a gun.
Romney describes marriage equality as a “fight.” How is it a fight exactly? Generally, in a battle, both sides have something to gain or lose. Homosexuals want to enter into a legal contract with a consenting adult. Some heterosexuals want to forbid it. This isn’t a fight. It’s bullying — an unwarranted intrusion into other people’s lives.
“Traditional marriage” is another conservative catchphrase. Fifty years ago, that definition would not have included my own marriage. The use of “protect” implies that strangers marrying will somehow harm your marriage. It’s as if they think all heterosexuals have stock in the marriage corporation, and allow gays to marry will dilute the value of your shares.
Romney then implies that fighting marriage equality is a critical matter in the upcoming election, as if the housing crisis was directly related to interior decorators deciding to get hitched. He vows to appoints judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written. Of course, the Constitution doesn’t say anything about marriage, which is probably why Romney also supports a Constitutional ban against gay marriage.
“There’s been an assault on marriage,” Romney said in the Faith and Freedom teleconference. “I think he [Obama] is very aggressively trying to pave the path to same-sex marriage. I would unlike this president defend the Defense of Marriage Act. I would also propose and promote once again an amendment to the constitution to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.”
Where’s the “assault”? The overt implication is that gays marrying each other weakens “traditional” marriage. How? Shouldn’t conservatives opposed to marriage equality provide some modicum of data backing up this assertion? Something I couldn’t counter with the sordid past of Newt “Henry VIII” Gingrich and The Bachelor?
Anything that comes out of Romney’s mouth is as honest as what men tell women in a bar at closing time. He’ll say whatever is necessary for voters to take him to the White House. The tragedy is that he knows that a sizable portion of the United States is irrationally homophobic. Romney can talk about American “exceptionalism” all he wants but most civilized nations already have gay marriage. What makes America so great again? Arrogance and iPods? And the former is the only one we actually make here.