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Archive for December, 2012

Paul Beppler (R) and his husband Terry Gilbert participate in a group first dance at “A Wedding Reception for All,” which was attended by hundreds and held at the Paramount Theatre on December 9, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. The two were married today after 12 years together. (David Ryder/Getty Images)

by Justin Green.

Rod Dreher, one of the more respected opponents of same-sex marriage, knows we are heading for a future of marriage equality. His advice? Build a “legal firewall to protect religious liberty once SSM becomes the law of the land.”

Here’s an example of what a conservative “firewall” can look like, courtesy of British Conservatives:

  • Ensure that no religious organisation or individual minister can be compelled to marry same-sex couples or to permit this to happen on their premises.
  • Provide an opt-in system for religious organisation who wish to conduct marriages for same-sex couples.
  • Amend the Equality Act 2010 to reflect that no discrimination claims can be brought against religious organisations or individual ministers for refusing to marry a same-sex couple.
  • Ensure that legislation will not affect the canon law of the Church of England or the Church in Wales. As a result, if either church wanted to conduct a same-sex marriage, it would require a change to primary legislation at a later date and a change to canon law.

The last point is a non-issue for Americans, but the first three are highly relevant. Providing protection for religious officials and institutions against discrimination claims is a highly important step for conservatives here in America. Rod claims, and I must concur, that there’s some urgency on this issue:

It was my guess that most Americans who favor SSM don’t want to punish churches and religious charities who disagree. We should appeal to them while they still exist.

Most conservatives can see where we’re going. In 2004, George W. Bush used the marriage issue as part of his strategy to win Ohio. In 2012, Barack Obama openly campaigned as a supporter of same-sex marriage. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is gone. The Defense of Marriage Act is on its way out the door. And while Jonathan Rauch makes a poignant case against the Supreme Court making history by decisively ruling on California’s Proposition 8 — effectively asking the Courts to allow the case for marriage equality to be made before the people — it is only a matter of time before gay and lesbian couples gain full equality at the ballot box.

Conservatives face, to pardon my Newt-speak, a crossroads. We can continue a fight against relative inevitability, or we can focus efforts on protecting freedom of conscience and religious liberty. There’s still time for conservatives to coopt this issue as part of a broader agenda for promoting family values. But rest assured, if we wait too long, that opportunity will pass.

Read the article from The Daily Beast.

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House Republican leaders had a uniform response to the Supreme Court’s decision to take up gay marriage: silence.

The high court’s decision last week to hear two cases relating to same-sex marriage puts that issue at the center of the national debate. And it does so at an exceedingly awkward time for Republicans, many of whom are trying to downplay or moderate their party’s views on social issues to chart a path back to electoral success.

The timing is most uncomfortable for House Republicans, who are playing a key role in one of the cases the court agreed to hear.

In June, the House of Representatives told the Supreme Court that the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act “is an issue of great national importance” that urgently requires the justices’ attention. The 1996 law denies federal benefits to same-sex married couples.

But when the court agreed on Friday to hear one of the DOMA cases early next year, the Republican leadership had nothing to say about it.

Advocates on both sides of the issue said they’d seen no statements from Republican lawmakers about the court’s decision to take on DOMA and an even more provocative dispute regarding a ban California voters approved on same-sex marriage.

“I’m personally grateful to Speaker Boehner for being willing to defend the law, but it’s clear GOP elites don’t want to talk about it and want to keep it as quiet as possible,” said Maggie Gallagher, a founder of the National Organization for Marriage and a fellow at the conservative American Principles Project. “That’s so obvious, I don’t see any point in pretending otherwise.”

Tom McClusky of the Family Research Council said he assumes from conversations he’s had with congressional aides that lawmakers are pleased the high court is taking up the issue. “But there’s just radio silence” publicly, McClusky said. “I was disappointed there wasn’t more from the Hill.”

And a top gay-rights activist, who asked not to be named because of his outreach to Republicans, said he hasn’t “heard or seen anything” from GOP leaders or members. “They’re really just hoping this issue will go away.”

Read more from Politico.

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by Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and the author of “Schools for Misrule.”

After years of defeats, same-sex-marriage advocates scored a remarkable 4-0 sweep of state ballot contests on Nov. 6. One major reason: This year, significant numbers of Republicans voted their way. That should give pause to a GOP establishment that has alienated many younger voters and independents with its stance on the issue and now faces the prospect of dissent among its core constituents as well.

…Fox News sponsored exit polls in each of the three states; of self-described Republicans, between 21 percent and 25 percent said they were breaking from the party’s official position in their vote. The pollsters asked voters which was closer to their own view: “Government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals” or “Government should do more to solve problems.” Of voters who said government is doing too much — prime prospects for anyone trying to assemble a majority Republican coalition — 34 percent to 38 percent sided with same-sex marriage advocates.

So where next for the Republican Party on this issue? Despite the GOP’s historic identification with individual liberty and with getting the government’s nose out of citizens’ business, no one expects it to endorse same-sex marriage anytime soon. But one plausible path would be a GOP call for leaving the issue to the states, with New York going one way, for instance, and Texas another. That would probably capture a consensus among a broad range of active Republicans, fit reasonably well with the party’s other ideological stands and still distinguish its position from the Democratic Party’s support for same-sex marriage in its 2012 platform.

The GOP has left itself little room to maneuver. When some in the Romney campaign took an interest in the “leave it to the states” position this fall, they discovered that the candidate, like several of his former rivals for the nomination, had already signed a pledge circulated by the National Organization for Marriage committing him to support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Although many national polls now show support for marriage equality, the national Republican platform continues to endorse the same deeply out-of-touch proposal.

If and when the party’s leadership changes its mind, a whole lot of suburban Republicans will be murmuring under their breath, “About time.”

Read the article from The Washington Post.

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