Romney signs NOM pledge for anti-gay marriage Constitutional Amendment

*sigh*

Is it just me, or does it seem like the more the pendulum swings in the direction of equality, the more forces connive to swing it back in the other direction greater than before?

The pledge Romney (along with two other GOP hopefuls) signed recently is a commitment to (as taken from the National Organization for Marriage’s blog):

  1. Support and send to the states for ratification a Federal Marriage Amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
  2. Defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court (which prevents states from being required to accept out-of-state marriages)
  3. Appoint to the Supreme Court, and as Attorney General, only those who support the original meaning of the Constitution and who will, therefore, not invent a right to gay marriage.
  4. Establish a presidential commission to investigate the increasing reports of harassment and threats to supporters of traditional marriage.
  5. Give back to the people of D.C. the right already guaranteed in the Charter which Congress gave them: the right to vote on marriage via the referendum process.

If we go back through the history of this, the argument used to be that “judicial activists” were making this gay marriage thing happen, and that we needed to stop them because the balance of powers was “broken.” Then, legislatures started to approve gay marriage, so that the argument has become that the people aren’t truly being represented. What will NOM say when popular referendums start to fall in favor of gay marriage? That the people have been tricked by Satanic forces? It’s like they simply cannot fathom the argument for equality.

They probably feel they need to get a constitutional amendment out there (which is basically a country-wide referendum) before it’s unmistakeably clear they’ve lost the battle. It’s highly unlikely a constitutional amendment will happen given that it would require 67 votes in the Senate, which the previous vote in 2006 was 49. While items 2, 3, 4 and 5 are possible, I don’t think an anti-gay president in the White House is going to stop state legislatures from approving gay marriage. Item 4 I have mixed feelings about, since it reminds me of how some states wanted time to get used to integration and how the Church thought itself as harassed by outsiders in the 1970s (regarding black ordination). Like I’ve written before, I don’t think yielding to homophobic “victimhood” is as useful as it might seem.

This NOM pledge basically announces that gay marriage will be a central issue in the 2012 debates, and unfortunately some voting blocs will probably hinge on this issue — though hopefully not as many as in previous election cycles. One has to wonder if Obama’s position will be “fully evolved” by then.

 

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12 Comments

  1. 1
    Sapphocrat says:

    I don’t worry about number 1, for the reason you give, plus (assuming Congress were to be taken over completely by drones and pass such an abomination), the state-ratification process would drag on for years. (And even Bush II couldn’t get the FMA out of the talking stages.)

    Number 2 is indeed a problem; number 3 is the worst among plausible outcomes.

    Number 4 makes me laugh, as it is obviously the result of sour grapes on NOM’s part, as NOM has failed in every court attempt to keep its donors hidden (and the money rolling in) — and that’s what this is really all about. Of the hundreds of “incidents” of “harassment” and “threats” to anti-equality bigots NOM cites, the most shocking have amounted to: “When a gay member of my country club found of I had donated to Prop 8, he stopped saying hello to me!” and “A lesbian took my picture while I was collecting petition signatures!”

    Number 5 goes after marriage in D.C. — not a big worry unless there’s a referendum presented solely to the residents of Marion Berry’s ward; wrong-wingers conveniently forget just how liberal the rest of the city is (unlike the congresscritters themselves).

    And Miss Mags only wishes “gay marriage will be a central issue in the 2012 debates.” I doubt 14+ million jobless Americans, 40+ million uninsured, and who-knows-how-many foreclosed-and-homeless by then are really going to care a whit, unless somebody can show them how marriage equality will make the economy worse (when, of course, the exact opposite is true).

    Romney was stupid to sign this thing; he just proved that the culture wars are more important to the wrong-wing than concentrating on the real problems that face us — number one being a crippled, perhaps dying, economy.

    OTOH, I almost don’t care who’s in the Oval Office any longer; the only thing that really matters is the makeup of Congress. (And the U.S. Supreme Court, of course, but with a decent House and Senate, theoretically the craziest president won’t be able to get another radical extremist confirmed).

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  2. 2
    Chino Blanco says:

    Yeah, I don’t think Romney did himself any favors with signing this thing. If he somehow makes it to the general election, he’s now associated in voters’ minds with NOM and besides the extremism it’s another easy hook to hang a campaign financing story on.

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  3. 3
    chanson says:

    This is only tangentially related, but for all those who think that married gay couples are somehow a menace to society, look at these heroes:

    Hege Dalen and Toril Hansen have rightly become national heroes in Norway after they rescued 40 fleeing teens from the massacre on Utoya Island. Using their boat, they made multiple trips into the waters around Utoya where Anders Breivik was murdering 69 people and ferried as many as they could to safety. Bullet holes later discovered in their boat indicate Breivik fired upon them. There’s been some concern among the gay community that their story hasn’t received the attention it should because they are a married lesbian couple. Let’s see if we can’t rectify that.

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  4. 4
    Alan says:

    And Miss Mags only wishes gay marriage will be a central issue in the 2012 debates.

    he just proved that the culture wars are more important to the wrong-wing than concentrating on the real problems that face us

    Sapphocrat, Chino, I hope you’re right that this issue is now extremist and/or minor. I can see how it might be used, though, as a wedge issue to disillusion people further from Obama (whether he comes out for or against gay marriage). It’s always been a wedge issue, and there are huge blocs that latch onto these things more than economics.

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  5. 5
    Steve says:

    Let us not forget that Romney once promised to be more pro-gay than Ted Kennedy. Than Ted Kennedy! And now he’s signing an anti-gay pledge from one of the most vile anti-gay organizations in existence? W.T.F.?

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  6. 6
    Steve says:

    Following up on my comment above – this is what I was referring to:
    http://www.baywindows.com/index.php?ch=chttp://www.massresistance.org/docs/marriage/romney/record/RomneyLogCabinLetter.pdfolumnists&sc=the_romney_files&sc2=&sc3=&id=53688
    And here’s a PDF of the letter posted on the website of the VERY anti-gay Mass Resistance: http://www.massresistance.org/docs/marriage/romney/record/RomneyLogCabinLetter.pdf

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  7. 7
    Sapphocrat says:

    @Alan: “Sapphocrat, Chino, I hope youre right that this issue is now extremist and/or minor. I can see how it might be used, though, as a wedge issue to disillusion people further from Obama (whether he comes out for or against gay marriage). Its always been a wedge issue, and there are huge blocs that latch onto these things more than economics.” (How does one do a proper quote here?)

    Alan, the “gay wedge” will always be pulled out to get the elderly and right-wingers to the polls, and it does work. But, at the risk of sounding overconfident (I’m not at all), I do look toward the surprisingly rapid change in overall attitude toward marriage equality over the past three years alone.

    Too, there’s little left to surprise us with; in, say, 2004, we were blindsided by the multi-state anti-gay attack (and the resulting 11 state marriage bans), which were a large part of the winning strategy straight from the evil mind of Karl Rove. I’m not saying the LGBT community is much better prepared now, but at least we’re not completely unaware lambs being led to slaughter.

    Finally (and this will sound cold and heartless, but it’s the truth), a significant portion of homophobia is generational — and older voters are dying off by the day. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but, as I recall, isn’t the LDS church in a bit of a tizzy because its own youth is increasingly at odds with the church’s official line on marriage equality?)

    Another reason Miss Mags wants to make marriage equality a focal point of the presidential debate is that the anti-gays have nothing else left — there are only two or three states (RI and NM come to mind) that neither offer marriage equality nor ban it. The cash cow that is the anti-gay state ballot initiative has dried up, so instead of concentrating on soliciting donations for each state battle, NOM, I expect, will pour its efforts into supporting ABO (Anyone But Obama) — which, of course, will require much funding from donors.

    That doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods; President Obama (who, btw, will never come out in favor of full equality as long as he’s in the running — mark my words on that) is doing enough damage to himself that the competition (whether it’s Romney or someone else) isn’t going to have to do much to put the election in the bag.

    The real focal point of the 2012 elections (congressional included) will indeed be the economy — people are inherently self-centered, and their own needs come before any ideological purity.

    In this light: If Romney is the nominee, Mittens has only to fall back on his 2002 Olympics coup as evidence of his ability to bring in money, and jobs. That’s a lot different from governing an entire country, but people will pay attention to that, and extrapolate it to their own lives, their own financial situations.

    I think the best we can hope for right now is to play up Romney’s NOM connection and (I hate to say this) hope the evangelicals really are so anti-Mormon they’d never vote for him — thus opening the door to Bachmann (MUCH more extremist than Romney) or Palin (way too stupid, with way too much baggage, even for the low-information crowd), thereby clinching the Oval Office for… somebody else.

    I put only even money on Obama at this point; the bottom line (yes, I hate to quote Reagan) really is: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

    Pretty depressing response, huh? LOL But I’m nothing if not a realist.

    In any case, I’m not sweating 2012. Whatever happens, we survived eight years of Bush II — and it is only a matter of time before we have another Republican president, whether it’s next year or 2016. We’ll get through it. It may be painful, even crushing, but we will get through it, we’ll be stronger for it, and we will come out ahead — and we may even see it before we go to “the mountaintop.”

    “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” – MLK

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  8. 8
    Alan says:

    Steve@5: Back in 1994, same-sex marriage is probably not what Romney had in mind when he was making promises about “equality.” That letter to the Log Cabin Republicans is talking about employment nondiscrimination, which he did help implement in Mass (and frankly, is where gay politics was at the time). When same-sex marriage came a decade later, he fought it with everything he had. So he should be commended for being 10 years ahead of his Church, at least. =p But he should also be lambasted for supporting “equality,” but then thinking marriage somehow isn’t part of that.

    There are forces who seek to blame Romney for letting same-sex marriage happen in Massachusetts, though. They argue that he could have told the Mass Supreme Court that it was out of its jurisdiction in its Goodridge ruling, but instead Romney “ordered clerks to issue same-sex marriage licenses.” Basically, Romney was simply following the law while he was also pushing for an amendment to the Mass constitution to overturn the court’s ruling, but that isn’t good enough for these folks.

    I think Romney’s signing of the NOM pledge is his way of combating these far-right forces who seek to paint him as a “secret liberal” to those in the center-right (not just on this issue, but other issues, as well, like “RomneyCare”). We might think this is ridiculously fringe of him, but there are clear intra-GOP reasons he has signed this stupid thing.

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  9. 9
    Steve says:

    Sorry Alan, I have to disagree. I think you’re being far too generous to Mr. Romney. In his letter he makes it clear that he shares the goal of establishing “full equality for America’s gay and lesbian citizens”. He pledges to “do better” than Kennedy on LGBT rights. Granted, he doesn’t mention marriage or civil unions but even way way back in 1994, the term “full equality” implied some form of recognition for gay and lesbian relationships (remember that in 1993 The Supreme Court of Hawaii ruled that statute limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples was unconstitutional and the right wing was already working on ways to address the issue which is how we ended up with DOMA). He touches upon employment and gays serving openly in the military (implying that he believed DADT should be repealed – this only a year after it was passed). Now, he’s aligning himself with one of the most vile anti-gay organizations out there. Are you suggesting that someone could pledge themselves to working for “full equality” for LGBT people AND pledge to fight marriage equality with a Constitutional amendment without a conflict of positions? Come on. Pandering is commonplace but Romney is just plain old dishonest. He tells people what he thinks they want to hear when they want to hear it. I don’t think Romney ever was pro-gay. I’m highlighting the letter to show that he has so little integrity that he was once willing to proclaim he was because he thought it would get him elected.

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  10. 10
    Alan says:

    Pandering is commonplace but Romney is just plain old dishonest. He tells people what he thinks they want to hear when they want to hear it. I dont think Romney ever was pro-gay.

    hes aligning himself with one of the most vile anti-gay organizations out there.

    It would be in Romney’s best interest to say what he does support in terms of gay rights (which is along the lines of the Church’s current position — nondiscrimination in housing/employment, against DADT, certain rights for same-sex couples, which is clear in the 1994 letter). But ever since his first run for president (and the mass circulation of that letter) he’s constantly on the defensive against the far-right — so he constantly says what he’s against, which is gay marriage and civil unions. If he even begins to say what he’s for, he’ll draw the wrath of these groups, since most of them are against all rights for gays. Like I said above, he’s aligning with NOM (or their pledge at least) in an attempt to silence these people.

    Are you suggesting that someone could pledge themselves to working for full equality for LGBT people AND pledge to fight marriage equality with a Constitutional amendment without a conflict of positions?

    Obviously, being against gay marriage and civil unions is not for “equality,” but I read his language in 1994 more as a gaffe or naivete more than an intentional dishonesty. Like I said, in the mid-1990s, very few gay groups were pushing for “marriage equality.” The Hawaii case was a testing of the waters; most gay people didn’t actually think it was possible. It wasn’t until the late 1990s that organizations formed to make marriage a civil rights bellwether. So, Romney was probably using the word “equality” in the sense of what he was hearing from gay constituents.

    Another thing to consider is that the Church said it was for “women’s equality” during the ERA campaign, and it really thought it was — and still does. Mormons have a funny way of thinking about “equality.”

    If you want to talk about flip-flopping and pandering, then I would point my finger at Obama more than Romney, actually. Obama clearly supported gay marriage in the 1990s, but then suddenly didn’t when came time to run for the Senate and president, and now says his position is “evolving.” Romney, on the other hand, has never been for gay marriage. In the end, I’d take Obama over Romney, but I actually see Romney as more honest on this particular question.

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  11. 11
    Alan says:

    I think you might be interested in this 1994 interview with Romney about gay rights. Regarding Ted Kennedy (whom he was running against for the Senate):

    BW: Why should the gay community support your campaign when Ted Kennedy has been a strong supporter of civil rights issues and the gay community?

    MR: Well, I think youre partially right in characterizing Ted Kennedy as supportive of the gay community, and I respect the work and the efforts hes made on behalf of the gay community and for civil rights more generally, and I would continue that fight.

    Theres something to be said for having a Republican who supports civil rights in this broader context, including sexual orientation. When Ted Kennedy speaks on gay rights, hes seen as an extremist. When Mitt Romney speaks on gay rights, hes seen as a centrist and a moderate. Its a little like if Eugene McCarthy was arguing in favor of recognizing China, people would have called him a nut. But when Richard Nixon does it, it becomes reasonable. When Ted says it, its extreme; when I say it, its mainstream.

    I think the gay community needs more support from the Republican party and I would be a voice in the Republican party to foster anti-discrimination efforts.

    Now obviously, not even supporting civil unions in 2012 is a terrible position to hold. And this argument about being a centrist, and therefore one’s voice being more important, is ugly. But in 1994 the atmosphere was totally different in the realm of gay rights. Essentially, gay rights have changed to include more deserved rights (as it became understood they were possible — such as civil unions and now marriage), whereas Mitt Romney stayed the same.

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  12. 12
    Alan says:

    Sapphocrat@7

    Another reason Miss Mags wants to make marriage equality a focal point of the presidential debate is that the anti-gays have nothing else left there are only two or three states (RI and NM come to mind) that neither offer marriage equality nor ban it.

    However, there are plenty of states that don’t ban gay marriage specifically by amendments to their constitutions, which means there are judicial and legislative openings. That’s what the 2012 ballot initiatve in Minnesota is about: to amend the constitution because a statute is seen [by the far-right] as potentially not strong enough, since the Minnesota Supreme Court could deem it unconstitutional at any moment. NOM seems to be of the logic that these amendments are what’s needed. It’ll be interesting if Minnesota becomes the first state to reject one.

    NOM is also interested in turning back the clock in Iowa, since it has an elected judiciary. But the eastern states with gay marriage, yeah, it can’t touch those so far as I can tell. The people seem too fine with it.

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