Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ross Douthat on Gay Marriage...

The lack of any substantial screaming from the right wing in response to Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling that tossed out Prop 8  has been disquieting.  Rachel Maddow was one of the first to point out that there was nary a peep from anyone, even from loud-mouth wingnuts.  But now the opposition is building.  We knew it would happen, so it’s not a surprise.  Even so, it is disappointing.  And, by the way, is there a special rock that these folks run to, nestle under and snuggle up, to whisper to each other?
The first action from the right, after the first flurry of excitement about the ruling itself had died down, was a smattering of mud thrown at the Judge himself with accusations that Vaughn Walker was gay and that, as such, he should have recused himself.  None of this was screamed before and during the trial, mind you, just after the judgement against Prop 8 was announced.  I suspect that the pro-Prop 8 folks thought that this conservative judge who, we are told, has “libertarian tendencies” (whatever that means), would rule in their favor.  
(By the way, if gay judges have to recuse themselves, would heterosexual judges be expected to count themselves out, too?  In that case, should we be looking for asexual folks or castrati to make rulings on the subject?)
The personal attack against Judge Walker hasn’t had much heft and now the attack against the reasoning in the ruling itself is beginning.  The New York Times op-ed columnist Ross Douthat put in his two cents on Monday, August 9th.  [Here]  (And that’s exactly what it is worth.)  Remember Ross Douthat?  We wrote about him six weeks ago in two pieces titled “Feminism Revisited” [Here] and “Another Wake-up Call.” [Here]  Douthat and fellow conservative, Ramesh Ponnuru, had rushed to write that feminists no longer exclusively belonged to the Democratic Party because a few Republican women had won important primary races.  And besides there is also Sarah Palin... 
One of the points that Judge Walker made among his 80 Findings of Fact was that there is no evidence that same-sex marriages had done or will do any damage to heterosexual marriages. [Here]
Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite sex-marriage.
Nevertheless, Ross Douthat used his column to worry about the general state of traditional Western-style marriages which Western Civilization has developed instead of evolving other traditions, such as polygamy.  He concludes with some interesting thoughts: [Here]
The lifelong commitment of a gay couple is more impressive than the serial monogamy of straights. And a culture in which weddings are optional celebrations of romantic love, only tangentially connected to procreation, has no business discriminating against the love of homosexuals.
He ends the column, almost sadly, saying that traditional marriage--”one of the great ideas of Western civilization”--is worth saving.  He doesn’t tell us exactly why, but we certainly feel his sadness.  And he concludes with this: [Here]
But based on Judge Walker’s logic — which suggests that any such distinction [between traditional and same-sex marriage] is bigoted and un-American — I don’t think a society that declares gay marriage to be a fundamental right will be capable of even entertaining this idea.
I’m not going to try to parse what this conclusion means.  its very vagueness suggests that even Ross Douthat can’t spell it out without it sounding like a dictum from the Holy See.  
If this is the best the conservative religious right can do, I feel better already...  

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