As I expected, Arizona governor Jan Brewer has vetoed SB 1062. Though it has been described in the media as a bill that establishes a “right to deny service to gay and lesbian customers”, this is quite false. The aim of the bill was to provide the same protections currently afforded to religious institutions under state law to “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church,” “estate, trust, foundation or other legal entity” and to allow religious defense to be used as a defense in lawsuits by the same entities.
In itself, the bill is harmless. It makes no reference to homosexuals, even though the outrageously unjust decision of Elane Photography v. Willock, which may be heard by the Supreme Court at some point in the reasonably near future, was the impetus behind it. In context, however, the bill was quite unnecessary and I believe will ultimately end up causing more harm than good.
In the first place, Elane v. Willock took place in New Mexico, wherein homosexuals are a “protected class” under NM state law. No such protections exist in AZ; ergo, no legislation along these lines was really needed at this time. The actual threat to religious liberty, at least from the vindictive sort of activism that has brought photographers and bakers to court, was non-existent. The summary and background written by proponents of the bill made Elane one of its core concerns without recognizing that NMs distinctive protections for homosexuals were responsible for the legal conflict in that state (as an aside, I do not believe Elane Photography refused service simply because Willock was gay).
Because the bill wasn’t really necessary and a tangible threat in the form of an actual lawsuit against a Christian business owner was not in play, it was easy to see it as an irrationally spiteful measure (as I would see the actions of Vanessa Willock against Elane Photography, by the way). Now it is one thing to have to put up with the left-wing media’s triumphalism when we have a moral duty to make a stand, as Elane Photography and other businesses have; it is another thing to have to witness the spectacle of melodrama from the homosexual political movement and its straight allies as Brewer announced her decision. The passage, veto, and failure of SB 1062 gave aid to our enemies who would trample our religious liberties into dust, and did harm to our own cause. I do not blame Brewer for this. I blame imprudence on the part our well-meaning friends in Arizona. As the governor herself put it:
Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated.
We must only fight battles that need fighting. Preemptive strikes didn’t work out too well for George W. Bush and they aren’t going to work out well for the social conservative movement. Right now this country is split – roughly half of it agrees with our basic proposition that the right to free exercise of religion and conscience outweighs a gay couple’s right to have any business they like participate in their gay weddings. If we push for unnecessary legislation against vague or non-existent threats and hand PR victories to the enemies of liberty, that balance could shift against us in short order.
The moral high ground never belongs to perceived aggressors. Only those who strike back in legitimate self-defense can strike with overwhelming force and the moral support of the people. If this lesson is not absorbed, then our cause will never prevail.
One of the more annoying memes I am often confronted with is the automatic assumption that libertarians must be for “gay marriage.”I can understand why some people automatically assume such things in good faith, but I can also tell when the leftist media is attempting to exploit an apparent rift between libertarians and conservatives on the right. Whenever I read somewhere that there may be tension between different wings of the American right on an issue such as “gay marriage”, it is almost never a conservative or a libertarian writing it.
Is it consistent with libertarianism to be an uncritical and loud advocate of “gay marriage”? In my view, the answer is no. In fact, it is more consistent with libertarianism, at least in the current political climate and given the way the issue is currently framed, to be opposed to the “marriage equality” movement. The word “equality” ought to be the first indication to a libertarian that something may be amiss, since egalitarian movements are often statist, sometimes outright totalitarian movements that seek to achieve an ideal of equality by sheer force. Communism is the most obvious example, but what feminist and certain racial groups have achieved on college campuses is only a microcosm of what they would like to see in society at large: free speech utterly silenced, opposing views ostracized, careers denied or ruined over the utterance of a heterodox opinion (just view the archives of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education for countless examples). To some extent this already does happen in society at large, but only selectively – for now.
Since “gay marriage” is all the rage, especially since Biden and Obama decided to make public statements on the matter, it is virtually all I have been hearing about in my own online networks. Debates are raging, friendships are being tested, hostility is everywhere. One thing emerges out of this chaos more clearly than anything else: the gay agenda, which I define as a radical political program with the aim of legitimizing homosexuality in all spheres of human existence, is based on the hysterical repetition of outrageous lies. It is not unlike the completely fraudulent “war on women”, a war that was supposedly declared when a number of Americans publicly resisted the idea that they ought to pay for other women’s birth control.
In the case of “gay marriage”, the big lie is that there is some desire on the part of conservatives and Christians in this country to actually deny some right, some liberty, some freedom to people who identify themselves and live as homosexuals. As abhorrent, disordered and immoral as I find the “gay lifestyle” to be, the truth is that – and here I speak for virtually every conservative Christian I know or have read – we really are not the least bit interested in micro-managing the sex-lives of our fellow citizens. We have absolutely no desire to have uniformed gendarmes kick in your bedroom doors to make sure no acts of sodomy are taking place in the middle of the night. The only thing more repugnant to me than such acts would be the prospect of becoming comfortable with the sort of routine invasions of personal privacy that would be required to ensure that no one was living out their life as a homosexual.
To be even more specific, to the gay couple we say: we do not care if you visit one another in the hospital. We do not care if you grant one another medical power of attorney. We do not care if you jointly own property. We do not care if you leave property for each other inherit when one of you dies. We do not care if you own a home together and live in it. We do not care if you get dressed up, rent a local hall, stage whatever sort of ceremony you like, and even refer to yourselves as “married.”
We may object, on different grounds, some secular, some religious, to your adopting children. After all, there are now other human beings in the equation- and there seems to be at least some kind of moral consensus across political lines that the interests of children do sometimes take precedence over the rights and privileges of adults. In any case, its something we can safely set aside for the moment.
To reiterate, this time specifically to the radical homosexual: on all the issues that concern the consenting adults only, we don’t care. Of course we care in the abstract that you are leading lives of grave sin in open defiance of God, but then so do millions of “heterosexuals” who fornicate, commit adultery, use artificial contraception, sterilize themselves, and so on. Not every sin can or should be a matter for the state to concern itself with, and we are content to let God judge in these matters; but no sin, and this brings us closer to the main point here, can ever be called a virtue, no evil can ever be called a good, by any Christian with a conscience, or by any citizen who cares about the integrity of society.
You can live as you want, engage in whatever sort of contracts you like, conduct any sort of ceremonies you please. But there is one thing you cannot have, and it is the one thing you seek through this radical political agenda, these hysterical protests and complaints about Christians: our approval. It cannot possibly be about anything else, because it is really the only thing you are missing. You want to live in a world in which everyone regards what you do and how you live not only as normal, but as a positive good. And your attempts to legalize “gay marriage” are about this and this alone. It is not about “equal rights” that you already possess, it is not about the freedom to openly identify as gay, which you already have. It is about using the power of the state to force society to recognize your living arrangements and lifestyle choices as legitimate. It is about policing the thoughts and opinions of the American people. It is about sharing prestige with properly and truly married couples. It is about envy and resentment, and a deep, abiding hatred of religion in general and Christianity in particular.
Let me be blunt: your disordered lifestyles are not equal to the traditional marriage or the traditional family, which have served as the foundation of civilization since its very beginnings. You do not deserve equal prestige, and nor, for that matter, do “straight” couples who actively choose not to procreate. And you have no right to such things. You have no right to have the state give you extra benefits, tax breaks, or anything of the sort – you have no right to have your romantic choices ratified by society. You don’t have the right to go through life without being heckled or bullied, as you heckle and bully the Christians you hate, as you mock with the most disgusting outrages imaginable all that we hold sacred.
In the face of your tyranny, your bullying, your mockery, your boundless hate, we will continue to persevere.
By Charles E. Rice
Fr. Norman Weslin, O.S., at the complaint of Notre Dame, was arrested in May 2009 and charged as a criminal for peacefully entering the Notre Dame campus to offer his prayer of reparation for Notre Dame’s conferral of its highest honor on President Obama, the most relentlessly pro-abortion public official in the world. The University refuses to ask the St. Joseph County prosecutor to drop the charges against Fr. Weslin and the others arrested, still known as the ND 88 although one, Linda Schmidt, died of cancer this past March. Judge Michael P. Scopelitis, of St. Joseph Superior Court, recently issued two important orders in this case.
The first order denied the State’s motion to consolidate the cases of multiple defendants. That motion would have denied each separate defendant his right to a separate jury trial. The order did permit consolidation of the trials of twice-charged defendants on the separate offenses with which that defendant was charged; a defendant charged, for example, with trespass and disorderly conduct would therefore not have to appear for two trials. Judge Scopelitis also denied the prosecution’s attempt to force each defendant to return to South Bend for each proceeding in the case, which would have coerced the defendants to abandon their defense. Instead, the Judge permitted the defendants to participate by telephone in pre-trial conferences.