Social conservatives are losing the SSM battle (and getting desperate in Kansas)

I’m a little late to this but feel free to file this news under “Things that won’t happen this year;” the state of Indiana won’t put a measure on this year’s midterm election ballot that would constitutionally ban the state from recognizing same-sex marriages.

SSMpic1The Indianapolis Star reported last Friday:

A decision Thursday by the Indiana Senate not to restore the original language of the proposed constitutional amendment means that even if it passes, as expected, during a final vote Monday, it would have to pass a future legislature and couldn’t go before voters until at least 2016.

As ThinkProgress’ Zach Ford explains, “Because amendments must be approved in identical form in two consecutive legislative sessions, this new version will need to be approved again.” This still leaves open the possibility for putting a constitutional ban on the ballot two years from now. Of course by 2016 the whole initiative might be moot. Since the Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defence of Marriage Act opponents of same-sex marriage are 0-5 in federal courts — most recently in Virginia.

Yet if you’re still a fan of awful discriminatory policy, look no further than to the effort — which is going nowhere in the state Senate — in Kansas to implement it’s own anti-gay throwback to the Jim Crow era.

Jamelle Bouie explains:

Looking at this bill, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to call it a close cousin—if not sibling—of Jim Crow (natch, for black gays and lesbians in the state, there’s little difference). Like its Southern predecessors, this proposal is meant to isolate and stigmatize a despised minority, under of the guise of some higher priority (“religious liberty”).

Josh Barro cynically answers why social conservatives opposed to marriage equality are asking for such special rights:

Social conservatives have a reason for seeking these special privileges: the America they knew is falling away from them, and that change is mostly about social attitudes, not law. Legal freedom won’t be enough to protect people’s ability to be loudly and proudly anti-gay; the government will have to create special rules barring private action against the anti-gay.

For a more theoretical deconstruction of the argument underlying erstwhile anti-statists crying “Liberty!” in demanding government coercion, you should read Matt Bruenig noting that there “is nothing in the concept of liberty that requires the state to become the enforcing agent of a discriminatory restaurateur.”

Social conservatives, spurred by a recent spate of public accommodation lawsuits against private establishments refusing services on the basis of sexual orientation, understandably deny that their opposition is rooted in such a way. Yet even teasing out the broader implications of justifying a narrow protection to discriminate, as Jeff Spross admirably does here, requires defending discriminatory actions against other protected categories of people. That’s not a position I would envy having to defend.

The House bill in Kansas was particularly egregious, and strikes me as rather desperate. Perhaps that is evidence for some later stage of denial for having your particular bigotry disfavored by the majority of society. I certainly hope so.

*Note: Originally posted at The McLean Parlor


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