Democracy Soup

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Conservatives’ Anti Gay Marriage Debate Reduced to Beauty Queens and Rudy Giuliani

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Originally published on on Tue, 04/21/2009 – 1:42pm

We’ve seen Steve Schmidt last week and Meghan McCain this month rise up and speak up as Republicans, saying get out of the way on gay marriage.

So the last bastion for conservatives against gay marriage are Rudy Giuliani and Miss California.

Let’s start with the reigning Miss California, Carrie Prejean.

I think it’s great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage and, you know what, in my country and my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anyone out there but that’s how I was raised and that’s how I think it should be between a man and a woman.

Well, she lives in and represents a state where people went to the polls and voted to limit marriage to “opposites.” And she mentions her family, though her sister is a gay rights activist. So it’s not true in “her country” or “her family.” Two strikes, so far.

But she uses the question and answer controversy to build on two themes. First, she says her honesty cost her the Miss USA crown. Prejean did finish as first runner up, but whether you’ve been to numerous pageants or you’re a pageant virgin, it can’t be easy to dissect narrow differences in such a competition. For all she knows, some of the judges might have liked her answer. Prejean chose to play the victim, a typical conservative reaction.

She also played up the support she has received since the pageant and the lack of hate she has received. Lack of hate? Okay. If that is true, the reason likely has to do with whether people care enough about beauty pageant contestants to express hate, and the lack of ease in contacting Miss California.

Then again, her post-pageant motivation could be to keep her name alive. After all, you know more about her than Miss North Carolina who won the pageant.

Prejean might be a little confused and definitely clueless, but it’s possible she’s being fairly honest. The same can’t be said for Giuliani.

When Giuliani ran for president, he had a chance to offer a different vision of Republicans: talk conservative about a few red meat items, but offer, by GOP standards, more tolerant positions on topics such as abortion and gay marriage.

We could point out his three marriages, one to a second cousin. We could discuss the distasteful, public and private, transitions between said marriages. We could even note that his gay pals, with whom he roomed for 6 months in 2001 in between marriage #2 and #3, are getting married in Connecticut this year.

In his run for president in 2008, and his possible run for the New York governor’s chair in 2010, Giuliani is bending over backwards to seem tougher on issues. If Giuliani were genuinely outraged, there could be a simple disagreement. But given Giuliani’s political history — not even counting his relationship history – there is no reason to think that even Giuliani believes what he says.

Howard Koeppel, a Republican and one of the two gay pals, told the press that Giuliani’s opposition to gay marriage stems from his religious beliefs.

“He isn’t an advocate for gay marriage because of his religious beliefs,” he said of Giuliani, who has supported abortion rights. “He is a traditional Catholic. Those teachings say marriage should be between a man and a woman.”

Now we have the religious card: you can’t be for gay marriage because you’re a Catholic. But not every conservative Catholic has that viewpoint.

Douglas Kmiec has a long history of being Catholic and conservative. Courtesy of Wikipedia:

He is the Caruso Family Chair and Professor of Constitutional Law at Pepperdine University’s School of Law. He served as head of the Office of Legal Counsel (U.S. Assistant Attorney General) for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush… Professor Kmiec is the former Dean and St. Thomas More Professor of the law school at The Catholic University of America (2001-2003). With leaves for government service, Professor Kmiec was a member of the faculty at Notre Dame Law School from 1980 to 1999. At Notre Dame, he directed the Thomas White Center on Law & Government and founded the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy.

Kmiec was on the “Colbert Report” last Thursday. And while he spoke in vague terms (e.g., never saying the phrase “gays should get married”), Kmiec outlined a conservative view on why the state should get out of the way of gay marriage.

“Fundamentally, there’s two principles involved. The state has an obligation to treat all of its citizens equally and to observe the principle of equality. So straight or gay, you go get a license from the state.”

Kmiec does taut religion in that it could add more to the relationship, but that isn’t part of the state’s role.

“The state should not be adopting any religion’s perspective, any one religion’s perspective and imposing it on us.”

In a contest to show who is more conservative than the other, Kmiec would blow Giuliani away. And even Kmiec gets it.

Religion is strengthened when the state gets as far away from it as possible. That’s a conservative position, by and large, where those on the left can nod in agreement. But it could be a selling point for religious conservatives to feel good about their positions, and still allow for gay marriage. If there is a storm coming, it’s one of tolerance, not intolerance. The list of Republicans who understand this is getting longer.


Written by democracysoup

April 21, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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