The anti-gay Family Policy Institute of Washington has posted a video called “BY PROHIBITING GAY MARRIAGE, AREN’T WE VIOLATING THE SEPERATION (sic) OF CHURCH AND STATE?”.  It features FPIW’s Executive Director Joseph Backholm and appears to be one of a series (in progress) of video responses to each of the FAQs posted on the FPIW website.

The question he is answering in this video is irrelevant.  The real question is “By prohibiting marriage equality, aren’t we violating the equal protection of the laws clause in the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution?”  Backholm’s approach is to introduce religion into the discussion of civil law where it is irrelevant to the discussion, then claim anti-religious discrimination when reminded of its irrelevancy.  That’s twisted, sister.

The monologue begins with Backholm saying “No” as if in answer to a question from the viewer.  This is an appropriate opener for someone who literally promotes discrimination against LGBT people.  (See Backholm’s July 13, 2009 “Monday Minute”, and “Isn’t it bad to discriminate?“.)

No, the phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear anywhere in the United States or Washington State constitutions.  Regardless, the fact that people of a particular religious faith share common ideas does not mean that those ideas are necessarily unconstitutional because they are religious.

To the contrary, our laws against stealing, killing, lying, perjury, incest, rape, battery and destruction of property were all religious tenants long before they were laws.  Now no one wants to repeal the criminal code because its major themes were first recorded in the Bible.  

Now the idea that a preference for heterosexual marriage is unconstitutional is [sic] simply because it is consistent with religious doctrine is legally and constitutionally unsupportable.  

Now our Founding Fathers wanted to avoid a situation where a religious organization wrote the laws for the county.  However, they did not intend to create a country in which citizens and elected officials were forbidden from reading, discussing, thinking about or even legislating ideas that happen to be religious in nature.

Why would Backholm be spending time making these videos?  Besides too much time on his hands, I mean?  A few weeks ago he openly acknowledged that he sees the pro-equality writing on the wall.  The following is a quote from Backholm from the November 11, 2009 broadcast of Family Policy Radio, the FPIW weekly radio show co-hosted by Backholm and Russell Johnson.

[A]nd you know when we consider the fact that tremendous loss of ground that has been made on this issue – 20 years ago the fact that we would have a straight-faced conversation about same-sex marriage would be unthinkable.

He’s absolutely right.  In just the past 10 years we’ve seen incredible advances in marriage equality, not to mention other laws actualizing LGBT citizens’ rights to freedom from discrimination, etc.  Twenty years ago, as Backholm reminds us, we had ZERO relationship recognition in the United States.  Since then we’ve realized marriage equality in 7 states, lost it in two for a net of 5.  The legislatures of NH, VT and ME voluntarily passed marriage equality laws, and an astounding 3/4 of the Massachusetts legislature voted to defeat an anti-equality constitutional amendment there.  Legislatures in 11 states have voluntarily passed some form of civil union-type law, and only three weeks ago the voters of Washington state approved full-fledged domestic partnerships at the polls, a national first.  While it is true that 29 states have passed anti-equality constitutional amendments, marriage wasn’t possible in those states prior to those amendments anyways, so functionally nothing has changed regarding access to marriage in those states.

On balance then, we’ve made enormous strides, and in Washington especially, where Backholm’s organization just wasted $205,000 on the losing side of the domestic partnership referendum and their parent organization Focus on the Family wasted $92,000.  Not to mention God has endorsed gay marriage in Washington.  Backholm has stated that he recognizes this march of progress.  What to do then, when you know that ultimately you’re already defeated?  I guess the answer is waste your time making videos to justify your paycheck, because you’ve run out of options for taking the legal offensive in Washington.  Now all you can do is sit and wait to see what The Gays and the majority of the Washington legislature and the majority of Washington voters (“The People”, including those of Brier where Backholm lives) who support civil equality will do next.

Btw, I guess Backholm disagrees with the opinion of Larry Stickney, Stephen Pidgeon, Bob Struble and Gary Randall that voter ratification of the domestic partnership law via Referendum 71 will necessarily lead to a successful state supreme court challenge of the state’s DOMA law that would be unassailable by the electorate.  Since Backholm is a lawyer (WSBA #36877), I think it is significant that he has remained silent on this theory.  I think it means he thinks Stickney et al. are full of it, but doesn’t want to have to say so in public and jeopardize the already weak bonds between the various anti-gay factions operating in Washington.  If Backholm did anticipate the outcome Stickney et al. do, he wouldn’t be wasting time making videos for what he considered a dead issue.  Instead, he’d be spending his time on issues more his speed, like bikini baristas.

The anti-gay Family Policy Institute of Washington has posted a video called “BY PROHIBITING GAY MARRIAGE, AREN’T WE VIOLATING THE SEPERATION (sic) OF CHURCH AND STATE?”.  It features FPIW’s Executive Director Joseph Backholm and appears to be one of a series (in progress) of video responses to each of the FAQs posted on the FPIW website.

The question he is answering in this video is irrelevant.  The real question is “By prohibiting marriage equality, aren’t we violating the equal protection of the laws clause in the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution?”  Backholm’s approach is to introduce religion into the discussion of civil law where it is irrelevant to the discussion, then claim anti-religious discrimination when reminded of its irrelevancy.  That’s twisted, sister.

The monologue begins with Backholm saying “No” as if in answer to a question from the viewer.  This is an appropriate opener for someone who literally promotes discrimination against LGBT people.  (See Backholm’s July 13, 2009 “Monday Minute”, and “Isn’t it bad to discriminate?“.)

No, the phrase “separation of church and state” does not appear anywhere in the United States or Washington State constitutions.  Regardless, the fact that people of a particular religious faith share common ideas does not mean that those ideas are necessarily unconstitutional because they are religious.

To the contrary, our laws against stealing, killing, lying, perjury, incest, rape, battery and destruction of property were all religious tenants long before they were laws.  Now no one wants to repeal the criminal code because its major themes were first recorded in the Bible.  

Now the idea that a preference for heterosexual marriage is unconstitutional is [sic] simply because it is consistent with religious doctrine is legally and constitutionally unsupportable.  

Now our Founding Fathers wanted to avoid a situation where a religious organization wrote the laws for the county.  However, they did not intend to create a country in which citizens and elected officials were forbidden from reading, discussing, thinking about or even legislating ideas that happen to be religious in nature.

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Laurel Ramseyer

Laurel Ramseyer

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