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Are Freepers going soft on gay marriage?

There’s an interesting article at on John Roberts and the possible effect he will have on gay civil rights decisions if he ends up on the Supreme Court.

Abortion may dominate next month’s Senate hearings on whether to confirm John Roberts to the U.S. Supreme Court, but gay rights is the stealth issue. Democrats aren’t as eager to push for same-sex marriage as they are to protect abortion, but there is little question that the leading edge of civil rights law involves lesbians and gays rather than more settled questions of gender and racial equality.

Over the next decade or more — and if confirmed, the 50-year-old Roberts could be on the court for 30 years — activists on both sides expect the Supreme Court to decide the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage, the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act denying homosexuals federal benefits conferred by marriage and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays and lesbians in the military.

…The sensitivity of the gay rights issue became clear last week with the revelation that Roberts provided free legal advice for gay plaintiffs on a groundbreaking 1996 Supreme Court case, Romer vs. Evans, which struck down a Colorado ballot initiative banning antidiscrimination laws for gays. The work sparked momentary alarm among religious conservatives that Roberts could harbor secret sympathies.

Most religious conservatives said they had been assured that Roberts would be reluctant as a judge to overturn the will of voters or legislators despite his work on Romer, although a Virginia group, Public Advocate of the United States, said Tuesday it would oppose his nomination. Gay rights groups say his work on the case does nothing to reassure them.

…The Massachusetts ruling relied heavily on the Lawrence decision that decriminalized homosexuality. That 6-3 ruling was penned by Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Republican appointee of President Ronald Reagan, denounced afterward as “the most dangerous man in America” by Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.

The stakes are every bit as high for lesbians and gays. A Supreme Court ruling against same-sex marriage would be disastrous for the gay rights movement, which views marriage as a core right that could in one stroke eliminate nearly all other forms of discrimination. Fearing such a setback, gay legal advocacy groups are deliberately holding back on challenges to the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, even though the Massachusetts marriages present the first opportunity to challenge that law.

Instead, they are concentrating on getting more state courts or legislatures to permit same-sex marriage or civil unions while waiting for cultural norms to shift in their favor.

…Gay rights groups are highly skeptical of Roberts on the basis of his decisions in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and his work for the Reagan and first Bush administrations that imply a narrow view of the judiciary’s role in overseeing executive and legislative action.

They will be concentrating on whether Roberts believes the Constitution contains a right to privacy, and whether he believes the Romer case he helped win was correctly decided.

Oddly, the Freepi reacted unevenly to this article, with more than a few resigned to the fact that there won’t be a marriage amendment, and that — gaspgay marriage is inevitable.

Actual Freeper Quotes™

“Liberals would love to have the SCOTUS jam gay marriage down America’s throat. That’s next to their love of aborting the country to the edge of extinction.”

“The poofters know they haven’t a chance of inflicting their perversion on the nation without a solid leftist judicial tyranny to support them.”

“There aren’t going to be a whole lot of difficult issues on gay marriage. I can tell you how it’s going to turn out already. They are going to rule that it’s a State issue. The biggest issue is going to be whether the US government or the States can decide that they aren’t going to recognize a gay marriage consummated in one of the other States. I predict that issue will be resolved in favor of requiring that the marriage be recognized. The problem there is that the Supreme Court has already ruled that the full faith and credit clause requires the States to recognize each other’s marriages. The only issue is whether the Court should create an exception in that rule for gay marriages. I don’t see that happening.”

“So basically you are saying homosexual marriages will be legal in all 50 states. Even if one state decided it didn’t want to do that, it would be a joke, since every resident of that state could get married in another state, then come back, and it would have to be recognized. Of course, once homosexual marriages are “legalized” relatively few homosexuals will avail themselves of it- but the number of heterosexual marriages will drop sinificantly.”

“Correct. That’s why Massachusetts’ actions are so damning. They’ve basically decided for everyone that gay marriage is allowed. Three judges are dictating this result to the entire nation, and there is no accountability.”

“Bubye America, gays are coming. Evil ideologies using people and children as instruments are nothing short of pedophilian. It started with abortion “rights”, folkes.”

“And this is why that pro bono work is worth questioning.”

“Roberts may be setting off America’s Gaydar in more ways than one…”

“More important, I think, is what would become of DOMA?”

“The main problem with DOMA is that it prevents Federal recognition of gay marriage, and this is more serious than state recognition. Because, like it or not, as long as the Federal government is in the business of taxing people based on their State definition of their marriage, a principled conservative would be hard pressed to to justify the obvious “equal protection” clause violation.”

“Look at it this way. The Federal government recognizes for tax purposes, every legal marriage as defined by State Law. Except the 6000 SSM marriages of Massachusetts. I can’t see how one can say that this doesn’t violate Equal Protection. As to whether the court has the guts, I think timing is everything. If it got to the court this year, I would agree without you. But the younger generation is quite accepting of gay relationships and this trend is on-going. Five years from, ten years? I’m not sure it will be so controversial then. If social conservatives are to win this fight, time is of the essence. And that has to be a constitutional amendment.”

“I agree that a Constitutional Amendment is the only way to fix it. But that ain’t gonna happen. Hell will freeze over before they change the Constitution to ban gay marriage.”

“If the ban on gay marriage is thrown out by the Supreme Court, then that will be the end of the tax benefit associated with marriage. From then out, you’ll only get a tax benefit for kids, and with the aging population, you might not even get it for that. That’s why the conservatives say that gay marriage is the deathknell for the institution of marriage.”

“I think you might be unnecessarily pessimistic. Gay people are an awfully small percentage, and at least among men, the desire to marry is not that strong. Lesbian relationships are more durable. I don’t see any reason why tax advantages need be in jeorpardy. I really don’t feel that gays will be the deathknell for marriage. We straights are doing an aawfully good job at destroying it without any help from gays.”

“I agree with your last state
ment, but that just underscores my point. Marriage has been severely battered already. There really isn’t much left to it. One of the biggest benefits of marriage at this point is the monetary benefit, ie. employee benefits, taxes, etc. If those must be extended to 500,000 new marriages, that severely increases the cost of those benefits, and will result in those benefits being curtailed.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding