Ruth: Far right froths as rest of nation yawns

Published Oct. 10, 2014

From all the huffing and puffing suggesting we are all doomed into the embrace of Satan's breast should Biff and Todd and/or Blanche and Mildred get married, you would have thought the U.S. Supreme Court was populated by the Village People, Elton John and Ellen DeGeneres.

In the aftermath of the court's decision not to consider a host of appeals related to the lifting of bans on same-sex marriage around the country, gay unions were effectively legalized in 30 states, with several more soon to likely follow.

And do you know what happened next? Nothing. Absolutely nothing, not so much as a thunderclap of heavenly disapproval. Not a small boil. Not even a single locust clearing its throat. Nothing.

But that didn't stop the sackcloth cabal from going into a full Elmer Gantry meets Pat Robertson froth over the prospect of gay weddings, followed by positively fabulous receptions.

Still, there was some good news. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has become a professional chattering-teeth talk show host, was so incensed over what he saw as a lack of proper breast-beating indignation from Republicans over the court's decision not to take up the gay marriage issue that he threatened to leave the GOP. That makes him even more irrelevant than he already is. At least that got some crickets chirping.

Not to be out-demagogued, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Who's the Garish of Them All?, weighed in by accusing the U.S. Supreme Court of engaging in "judicial activism at its worst." Consider that the Lone Stare grate was grousing that the court was committing judicial activism by taking a pass.

But Cruz wasn't finished in his quest to become the Senate's bobble-head of pandering. In large measure, the underlying predicate for striking down state gay marriage bans rests within the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause, which simply and clearly notes: "No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Apparently Cruz dozed off during his Harvard University Law School class on constitutional law. How else to explain that his fix for all these gays and lesbians is to amend the equal protection clause by extending equal protection to everyone except gays and lesbians, who could be freely and legally discriminated against until the Rapture occurs?

Of course, Cruz's channeling of Joe McCarthy has about as much chance of becoming part of the Constitution as bringing back Prohibition. But it will play well out there in Buford T. Justice County during the Republican presidential primaries.

Clearly the lifting of gay marriage bans will be a godsend to theological hucksters like the Family Research Council's president, Tony Perkins, who accused the scores of state and federal judges who have merely upheld a constitutional provision in the law since 1868 of going "rogue."

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Or perhaps the states are free to enact any statutes they want, as many did with respect to permitting racial discrimination. And the U.S. Supreme Court is free to knock them down when they are illegal. Who knew promoting equality qualified as court-sanctioned hooliganism?

Many others in the pillar of salt community, like the Florida Family Policy Council's John Stemberger, argue lifting the gay marriage bans "dilutes and devalues marriage." But how?

No one has been able to explain how a heterosexual's loving, committed marriage is somehow less loving, less committed, less sacred because actors Neal Patrick Harris and David Burtka said their "I do's" this year. Did Stemberger go home and say to his wife, "Honey bunchkin, I just don't feel quite as married as I used to"? Good luck with that.

Cruz, Huckabee and their fellow travelers on the far right can cast all the stones they wish at the rapid expansion of same-sex marriage nationwide. That's free speech — equally protected for everyone. But the tide of public opinion in support of gay unions irrevocably has turned across the political spectrum — without so much as a croak from a single frog.