Rush Limbaugh lived down to expectations today by claiming that the 14 Amendment doesn’t cover same sex or animal marriage.
Audio courtesy of Media Matters:
Transcript from Rush Limbaugh:
LIMBAUGH: No, I don’t think the framers of the Constitution never once imagined that ever, in the history of humanity, would this question ever come up and be treated with validity. Do you think Washington and Adams and Jefferson and Monroe said, “You know, we can see three, 400 years down the line where marriage isn’t gonna be between a man and a woman.” Wouldn’t even consider it. What are you trying to get, original intent for marriage in the Constitution?
Here’s the thing. You know, the 14th Amendment is what the same-sex marriage proponents are using, and that’s how they’re linking it to civil rights. And, by the way, this is really important here, folks. The reason that the proponents of homosexual marriage call it a civil right is because it’s all about optics and imagery and PR, and if you’ve got a civil right, no matter what it is, it may as well be draped in gold. A civil right is unchallengeable. A civil right is the most powerful right anybody can have. And people who oppose them are bigots. So you categorize what you want as a civil right, you immediately establish your opponent as a bunch of bigot hayseeds making it easier to defeat them.
Now, to answer your question specifically, the 14th Amendment and the equal-protection clause, which is what the proponents argue, that’s where they go in the Constitution to advance the notion of same-sex marriage, the 14th Amendment was passed after the Civil War to apply to former slaves to ensure that they are treated like all other citizens. It never did have anything to do with gay marriage. It was never intended to have anything to do with gay marriage or animal marriage or any other kind of social contract. It was specific to slavery, and after the Civli (sic) War. But, you know, the left looks at the Constitution and sees things that aren’t there and then they find ’em.
A little background is required to understand who Rush Limbaugh was comparing to animal marriage. According to a 2011 study by the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute, “Drawing on information from four recent national and two state-level population-based surveys, the analyses suggest that there are more than 8 million adults in the US who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual, comprising 3.5% of the adult population. There are also nearly 700,000 transgender individuals in the US. In total, the study suggests that approximately 9 million Americans – roughly the population of New Jersey – identify as LGBT. Key findings from the study include among adults who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, bisexuals comprise a slight majority (1.8% compared to 1.7% who identify as lesbian or gay); women are substantially more likely than men to identify as bisexual; estimates of those who report any lifetime same-sex sexual behavior and any same-sex sexual attraction are substantially higher than estimates of those who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. An estimated 19 million Americans (8.2%) report that they have engaged in same-sex sexual behavior and nearly 25.6 million Americans (11%) acknowledge at least some same-sex sexual attraction.”
What if Republicans were arguing that the constitution does not provide rights for the entire population of New Jersey? The argument would be considered absurd, and laughed out of court. However, this is the argument that Republicans are making today. They are claiming that a group of people who are recognized as citizens in every other way, are not guaranteed the right to marry who they want to marry under the constitution.
Republicans apparently see no contradiction in labeling themselves the party of individual liberty and less government while they try to deny individual liberty to a group of Americans by asking a branch of the government to deny them rights.
No matter how the Supreme Court rules, conservatives like Rush Limbaugh have already lost. The court of public opinion supports marriage equality, and if Republicans keep talking about “animal marriage,” they will continue to lose elections.