Using Fear of Gay Marriage as a Weapon?

Nearly every effort to extend equal and civil rights protections to gay and lesbian Americans is met with a familiar criticism from the religious right: “They’ll want to get married next!” That’s what we heard when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down sodomy laws. We’ve heard it about legislation ending employment discrimination against gay men and lesbians. Now we’re told that ending the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy against openly gay servicemembers will open the door to gay marriage. Apparently, religious-right groups think throwing the spectre “gay marriage” into just about any debate is a winning strategy. Case in point:

“Congress’ haste and disregard for the (Department of Defense) is their attempt to push through the change irrespective of the impact on the military and is an attempt to lay the groundwork for protection of same-sex marriage in the future.”

That’s from an e-mail alert sent out on Thursday by Liberty Institute (formerly Free Market Foundation), the Plano-based Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family. Like its parent organization, Liberty Institute is rabidly anti-gay, supporting government control over the private lives of gay and lesbian Americans.

Polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans support ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” So we suppose Liberty Institute thinks tying the repeal of that unpopular policy to gay marriage — an issue over which the public is more evenly split — will help keep official discrimination against gay and lesbian servicemembers legal.

Of course, none of this is new. Even today we hear arguments that advances in civil rights, such as ending employment discrimination and segregation, ultimately led to interracial marriage:

“(T)he founders of America passed laws forbidding White-Black marriage. This was the real motivation behind the segregation laws which existed in the pre civil rights era South. They did not want their civilization to decay and fall due to interbreeding with inferior racial stock! . . . The interracial breeding of the races was not promoted as an issue until Roosevelt became President with Communist Party support. Roosevelt issued the first ‘civil rights law’ on June 25, 1941 in the form of Executive Order No. 8802. This established the Fair Employment Practice Committee (FEPC). It banned discrimination based on ‘race, color or creed’ among all private businesses receiving defense contracts.”

That passage comes from an essay about interracial marriage on the white-supremacist website Stormfront. Of course, the people at Liberty Institute are not white supremacists. We’re certain that they would strongly condemn the repulsive rhetoric common among racists on websites such as Stormfront. But it’s troubling that they are comfortable using essentially the same argument to defend discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans.

12 thoughts on “Using Fear of Gay Marriage as a Weapon?

  1. Of course, the people at Liberty Institute are not openly white supremacists.

    – fixed it for ya! 🙂

  2. Coped from article above:

    “…..Liberty Institute is rabidly anti-gay, supporting government control over the private lives of gay and lesbian Americans.”
    Er, ah, excuse me, but don’t conservatives ABHOR “government control”?

    Here’s another gem:
    “The interracial breeding of the races….”
    “BREEDING”? Are we talking about animals here?

    And another: “….ultimately led to interracial marriage.”
    Like there’s something wrong with that? I thought the bigger the gene pool, the healthier the species. I’m so confused.

    And I thought Stormfront was a big supporter of Ron Paul for President. If that’s true, that tells you something. It also gives insight into Rand Paul’s thinking on his statements about the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He wants the government out of private business but says he hates racial discrimination. Uh, make up your mind, Rand, you can’t have it both ways. Either you support the right of a person of color to have access, or you do not.

  3. The old technical editor agrees that this was the proper fix. There is a reason why 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in the United States, and it goes back to the good Samaritan and the people who choose (even today) to walk by on the other side of the road while their black brothers and sisters are hurting.

  4. I find it amusing that the Religious Right is hooked up with Libertarians like Rand Paul. Best I have been able to determine, libertarians believe in total liberty, including liberty from any moral standards in the Bible. Basically, it is having so much total freedom that you can do anything you want, anytime you want, and anywhere you want—no matter who gets hurt in the process. Rand Paul would kick every black person in our country out of a job simply by virtue of philosophical default.

    The settled American view of liberty has always been an acceptable level of personal freedom tempered by a responsibility to keep the personal exercise of that freedom from impinging on the freedom and rights of one’s neighbors. I think smoking in restaurants is a perfect example. Conservatives all over the country are ticked off because the bad old state governments have told them that they can no longer smoke in their favorite restaurants. They do not understand that their right to smoke in those restaurants ends when that noxious, cancer-causing smoke reachers the noses of other diners. I have said it before, and I will say it here again. This is not 1796 when you could take your family west of the Appalachian chain into the wide open spaces where you had the right to do whatever you *&^% well pleased because no one else was there but you. We live elbow to elbow now in this country. You cannot do whatever you wish with total disregard for the rights and safety of your neighbors.

    If you think that disregard should be prime today, then I would suggest that you are living in a country that is too populated to give you the level of freedom you need. If that is the case, why not consider moving to the North Pole, Antarctica, or one of Saturn’s moons—Titan maybe? The only place you are ever going to be happy is in a place where there are no other people but you. Think about that. Your ancestors did, and they decided to leave cramped old Pennsylvania for the wide open spaces of the Colorado plains in 1805. You should do the same. Only then will you be behaving like a true historic American pioneer instead of like some spoiled little far right conservative brat who is always sulking because he cannot have his way every time.

    You know. In the old days when I was growing up, there was always some kid in the sandbox who refused to share his toys with the other kids. I remain convinced that these people grew up (if you can call it that) and joined organizations like the Liberty Institute, Family Research Council, and Focus on the Family.

  5. I wonder what it would take to get Neo-Nazis and other miscreants to show up here on TFN Insider and offer their own volunteered and self-volitional voices in support of Cynthia Dunbar and Don McLeroy? I bet they would do it if they knew about the existence of TFN.

  6. What’s the big deal about gay marriage?
    The only way it’s going to affect hetero people is if somebody passes a law making same-sex marriage mandatory for everyone– and I think it’s an understatement to say that that is extremely unlikely.

    As far as “interracial breeding” goes, humans are all the same species. Crossing two unrelated lines within the same species generally creates hybrid vigor, not “inferior stock.” Inbreeding is what causes a lineage to deteriorate.

  7. I’m disgusted with the conservatives! I would call them radical rights; however, they all seem to act & believe the same way. When did any of them, or anyone else for that matter, acquire a moral superiority? Republicans used to focus on fiscal responsibility, the free market, and small government. Now they dare to tell us how to live & what is moral when they cheat on their spouses, refuse to pay the taxes they require of us, and deceive us consistently. Perhaps they should go back to the New Testiment, remember that they, nor anyone else, gets
    to judge the morality of any person – that’s God’s job. I’m not gay, black, nor any other minority. I’m just a Texan who is more concerned with bettering myself & being more moral. I’ll answer to my God but I’m not justifying anything I do to someone else. I wish more people felt this way.

  8. a Says says: Child abuse is not a sin. Sheesh! What planet are YOU on, a Says? I sure hope you don’t have a child. I pity that poor child if you do!

    Gay marriage is a sin? Says who? Oh yeah, a Says says.

    The arguments made against gay marriage are the same ones that were made against interracial marriage and an integrated military. That crap is SO 19th century.

    I’m not gay but I can’t for the life of me determine any way in which gay marriage is going to effect me. I challenge any conservative here to answer this question: How are my (or your) citizen rights impeded by the marriage of two homosexuals?

  9. Cytocop.

    They actually went out of their way to explain it to me over at the Liberty Institute on their blog one day. We got into a bit of an exchange.

    Apart from the usual malarkey about “recruiting” people to become gay, the fundamentalists are primarily concerned that their tax dollars and other dollars withheld from their paychecks will be used to support gay sin. For example, if an employer pools health insurance premium dollars from all employee paychecks and uses a portion of those pooled dollars to cover health insurance for an employee’s gay spouse, God will look down upon the straight Christian employees from heaven, be very angry at them, and reduce their awaiting mansion in the Lord’s heaven from a 700-room Versailles model to a one-room tar paper shack with an outdoor toilet.

    The Liberty Institute folks did not use that particularly graphic illustration, but that is precisely what their response to me meant. So, in summary, it is not just about gay behavior being out in the open, and it is not about the silly notion of gay recruiting. It is about whether the Christian fundamentalist’s money is going and how angry God is going to be at them when he sees it going there.

    Personally speaking, and I think you will probably agree from your Jewish tradition standpoint, most of these Christian fundamentalists have a heck of a lot more to be worried about in the holy anger department than whether 25 cents from their paycheck is buying an antibiotic for a gay person’s cut arm.

  10. Texas is full of nothing but steers and queers. Why is marrying a queer worse than marrying a steer? Hell, Rick Perry needs to viagra just to stand up straight. If their were a real man in Texas, he wouldn’t let his woman run for office. So if there were a real man among the steers of Texas they wouldn’t be threatened by queers, Eskimos, or communist liberals. Live and let live you pencil peckers! If you are a woman married to one of these pencil peckers, then pack up and head to New Mexico where the men are men, and so are the women!