Posted by Brad @ 9:54 am on June 27th 2011

Conservative Coalition Cracking Up on Marriage Equality

One of the most fascinating things about the marriage equality success in New York is watching the conservative blogosphere react to it. As Rojas mentioned, conservatives are denied their favorite trope of banging on about “judicial interventionism”, and are faced with a situation where the outcome was, unquestionably, based on representative democracy working precisely as designed (as a sidenote, whether conservatives bitch about judicial activism or not is, to me, immaterial about whether a judge sitting on a bench making a decision is making the right or wrong one given the legal questions in front of him, but there’s no question as to the political advantage of a legislative solution). For example, here’s a funny exchange (first post, second) in which one activist tries to trot out the well worn line of attack (marriage equality = tyranny), but fails.

In any event, because of that, not only are gay marriage opponents left to fall back on their justifications which track more closely with their real, primary motive (which is marginalization and ghettoization of gays) but, interestingly, a fair few normally reliable “party line” conservative writers feel enough cover to tentatively take a few steps out of their normal lock step.

To that end, I’d really encourage you to read back over the last few days of commentary at the Corner, which is ground zero for marriage equality issues but also has a pretty representative sample of the whole spectrum of party line Republicans. Prior to this weekend, while there have been a few errant dissenting opinions aired, it always seemed to me, like much of NRO, that those who had positions matching the party line spoke out fervently, and those that were perhaps more tolerant just chose to not write much on the subject rather than possibly stir up squabbling. The net result of that you were either hearing from the likes of Maggie Gallaghar and Kathryn Jean Lopez, or you weren’t hearing anything.

Gay marginalization have always seemed to me to be the sort of issue that the Republican intelligentsia were generally squeamish on (I’m talking the beltway cocktail party Republicans, the think tank opinion leaders, the high money donors) but which they mealy-mouthed supported because they cynically believed it that they’d get ridden out of the party on a rail, by the rabble, if they dissented. In other words, it was a position driven not by the leaders, but by the base.

So, one of the other side benefits of New York is it finally seems to be granting enough cover for well-placed conservative talking heads to begin the process of “coming out” as being, at worst, ambivalent.

Two good Corner posts I’d point you to:

Kevin Williamson, “Where Do We Put The Sidewalks?”

Michael Potemra’s “New York’s Age of Anarchy: Hour Zero”

1 Comment »

  1. Lopez’ comparison of New York to North Korea is particularly amusing given that North Korea does not permit gay marriage.

    Comment by Rojas — 6/27/2011 @ 11:54 am

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