Oh-Oh: Time For Another GOP Ethics And Intelligence Test Already…

Republicans lost the chance to gain control of the Senate thanks to multiple ethical and logical mistakes, and now, as a direct result of that botch, Senate Majority Leaders Present and Future Chuck Schumer has announced that he will try to cement same-sex marriage into federal law. In July the House passed the Respect for Marriage Act, but the Senate delayed its vote on the bill until after the midterm elections. I’m sure, having a significant proportion of Neanderthals in their midst and being hell-bent on self destruction, the GOP was preparing to bury the bill once they had a majority, or filibuster it if they did not.

Morons. The hints in Clarence Thomas’s outlier concurrence in Dobbs that reversing the SCOTUS decisions declaring birth control and same-sex marriage as guaranteed rights may have cost Republicans more votes than reversing Roe v. Wade. Unlike abortion, which involves killing human beings (the question is “how human”), same sex marriage raises no such substantive ethical issues. Some religions oppose it: swell, they can refuse to allow it in their flocks. It is a down-the-metaphorical-middle-of-the -alley example of the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the vast majority of Americans accept it as one of those ancient taboos that made sense once but does no longer.

This should be an easy one, both ethically and politically. If the Republican Party wants to be seen by Americans as hopelessly out of touch with reality and under the thumb of theocrats (like Mike Huckabee and Mike Pence) fighting this lost cause is a great way to do it. If they do that, the GOP will be handicapping itself in far, far more important battles that it is obligated to fight and win for the good of the nation.

We’ll know just how stupid and irresponsible the party is, and how flat its learning curve is too, when we see how many Republicans have the sense to to make the Respect for Marriage Act a genuinely bi-partisan law.

30 thoughts on “Oh-Oh: Time For Another GOP Ethics And Intelligence Test Already…

    • That’s the issue with partisan politics since parties have existed, and the type of thinking that has led directly to our current situation. Policymaking shouldn’t be about denying an easy win to the other side, it should be about doing what’s best for the American people. It may smart for Republicans to see their political opponents get credited with such a big win, but the ethical way to play this is to support the bill which has widespread support in the populace. Perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to take a lesson from the situation about the duties of our elected representatives, either. Opposing this bill will not turn out well for Republicans, and I hope they have the sense to see it, or it will cost them dearly moving forward.

  1. That is just the trouble, isn’t it? Instead of looking at this as a way to include a significant portion of citizens in a right to become lawfully married (and possibly gaining some future candidates and voters), it is looked at as a “win” for the libs. Can’t have that! Let’s jerk gay people around for another decade or so–that’ll show ’em.

      • Then force his hand. By giving some limited support and perhaps ending the never ending suits based on religious objections the R’s should say we will support the bill with an amendment giving immunity for religious objections. If there is widespread popular support the likelihood that choices of wedding cake baker and photographers will not deny the happy couple from obtaining such services.

        • R’s should say we will support the bill with an amendment giving immunity for religious objections.

          Can you be a lot more specific?

          I obviously don’t think a Catholic priest should be forced to preform a ceremony. And I obviously think a Catholic hospital should be obligated to recognize a marriage for visitation and emergency decisions. So where are the lines? Deny a cake? Deny a hall? Deny a dinner reservation for the first anniversary? Deny the bridal suite? Deny any hotel room at all? Refuse to dispense medication? Refuse to fix a car? Refuse to rent a hall for the straight marriage of the child of two women? Exactly how much can you shut out gay people and call it a religious objection?

          Can a firefighter refuse to rescue those people from a flaming building because they deserve to burn?

          I need to know exactly where the boundary is. And while you ponder it, get your John Rawls on and consider that I’ll push for the same objections to be used against MAGAs.

          • “I’ll push for the same objections to be used against MAGAs.”

            Because religious beliefs and political beliefs should be treated exactly the same under the law. We went over this in 2016 when the fuel deliveryman in Maine was leaving a message on his phone saying if you voted for Trump get your heating il someplace else and the towing guy was refusing to tow anyone with a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker.

            • Because religious beliefs and political beliefs should be treated exactly the same under the law.

              Could you write a law the defines a belief as one or the other? Could you even come close without restricting the definition of religion in a first amendment-unfriendly way?

              We went over this in 2016 when the fuel deliveryman in Maine was leaving a message on his phone saying if you voted for Trump get your heating [oil] someplace else and the towing guy was refusing to tow anyone with a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker.

              (Minor typo correction for clarity–not pedantry, I make plenty of typos.)

              Indeed. Exactly like refusing to sell a cake. Exactly like the behaviors that the civil rights act was passed to prevent.

              You want to do unto others. How can you complain if others will do unto you. Isn’t that your whole rational for capital punishment?

  2. The monkeypox outbreak last summer was a wasted opportunity. The outbreak was an object lesson in the public health virtues of committed monogamy. But public health officials didn’t want to push that angle because they don’t want to validate traditional institutions, and conservatives didn’t want to push it because it would validate gay marriage.

  3. Jack,

    I think you are falling into the mistake both Schumer and Graham made in the wake of the Dobbs decision.

    This piece of legislation is meaningless.

    If Thomas is right, and Obergefell was badly decided (I have not read the decision, but I suspect I know both the arguments AND Thomas’s view (based on his dissent in Dobbs)), Federal legislation of gay marriage is JUST AS STUPID AND MEANINGLESS as any attempt to “codify Roe.”

    The Feds could codify Gay Marriage all they want, but, if the Supreme Court came out and agreed with Thomas that it is not a federal issue and is within the proper province of the States (like they did with Dobbs), the Respect for Marriage Act would be deemed Unconstitutional. But, as it stands now, the Respect for Marriage Act is completely unnecessary, because of Obergefell. Either way, it is pointless legislation.

    But, if a federal legislator believes that it is not within the purview of the federal government to define marriage, wouldn’t that legislator be obligated to vote against it? Or, if it is settled by Obergefell, would it not be obligated to vote against it as a nullity?

    I am responding for another reason. On Extradimensional Cephalopod’s “guest post,” he asked this question of me:

    Can you provide examples where Republicans would accept an outcome that goes against their ideals because it accords with the rule of law?

    I have been meaning to respond to him. This post provides a good opportunity to do so. Let’s say I am opposed to gay marriage. My State, the State that Mondale Won, passed a constitutional amendment to allow gay marriage. I can say all of these things without contradiction: 1) I don’t think gay marriage should be legal; 2) it’s fine that it is legal in my state, because they passed a constitutional amendment to make it so; 3) Obergefell was wrong because it is not a federal issue; and 4) Respect for Marriage Act should be defeated. In fact, it would be just as legitimate to substitute “I think gay marriage should be legal” for number 1. But, assuming I think gay marriage is wrong, I am fine with it being legal in my state so long as it was lawfully done.

    The same could be said for abortion. I think Dobbs was correctly decided. However, it has next to no impact on my state because the State Supreme Court decided over 25 years ago that the Minnesota Constitution provided more protection for abortion than the federal one did. I can still believe abortion is wrong and should not be legal while recognizing that the legal process has been satisfied. I may not like it, but it is legitimate.


    • I don’t think so. Abortion is not covered by the Constitution or any of the amendments, or any valid Federal law. Same sex marriage is an Equal Protection issue, and just like the Civil Rights act, an appropriate object of Congressional attention. The problem with Roe was that it was based on an imaginary extension of an unenumerated right. The biggest problem with Obergefell wasn’t the decision but the (even worse than his usual) Kennedy opinion, which skimped on Equal Protection, an issue not involved in Dobbs. The Scalia/Thomas objection to saying there’s no right to marry if you’re gay is the most extreme of the originalist ideology: the Founders couldn’t imagine it. Well, ethics is learning and evolutionary. This is a perfect example.

      • Well, I have not read the Obergefell opinion.

        That being said, you would agree that marriage was typically an area outside of federal jurisdiction, right?

        Loving v. Virginia presented an Equal Protection argument that brought it into federal jurisdiction.

        And, I agree that Loving was correctly decided on an Equal Protection basis.

        But, if Obergefell was based on Loving (as the arguments I have heard typically followed), I don’t believe the analogy would hold up (I wonder if Clarence Thomas and I agree on that).

        Again, all of that being said, even absent a federal restriction, the States would be free to set the parameters for marriage. Hell, the States could allow siblings to marry (Love is Love, Equal Protection, all that crap); I would oppose that, but I respect principles of self-government to allow people to make stupid laws. If I really dislike it enough, I can move; however, that is a whole lot more unpalatable if the stupid law is endorsed by the US Supreme Court.


          • I agree that that could create a problem, but it could create that problem across all of the classical marital restrictions.

            For those who are not inside baseball here, the classical marital restrictions were that marriage was between: 1) a man and a woman (no gay marriage and no polygamy); 2) of legal age (no pedophilia); and 3) not related by closer than 3 degrees of blood (?)(no incest).

            So, now that the feds have ventured into giving benefits to spouses, what keeps the incestuous, pedophilic, polygamists from demanding equal protection?

            Specious arguments, I suspect.


    • Completely agree, Jut! The states should decide. Many things the state sanctions are contrary to my faith but are nonetheless legitimate state decisions. Since the state almost universally took over licensing marriage from the churches back in the 1800s, there’s basically little difference between a marriage license and a hunting license. Neither one implies a church sanction -or needs one in that context. I am a bit surprised that the polygamists aren’t jumping up and down and screaming, “Hey, what about us?” since the “ick factor” of polygamy was long ago exceeded by other state-sanctioned conduct. God will sort this all out eventually. (I know how this story ends; I’ve read the last chapter.)

      • McConnell voted against it though it protects miscegenation.
        Graham voted against it even though it protects same sex marriage.
        Rand Paul voted against it even though not getting all up in people’s personal lives is a libertarian position.

        Political expediency is a hell of a drug.

        After all, remember who signed the DOMA into law!

        Again, political expediency is a hell of a drug.

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