It is amazing, when not being forced to cater to the extremist element that controls the narrative of their party, how liberal Republicans can be in their outlook. Finding out what a Republican really thinks can be a great deal like trying to observe what animals are like when they’re not in a zoo and subject to scrutiny.
In a demonstration of just how potent a factor politics, ideology, and ambition can be, a group including many now politically-inactive Republicans, have signed a legal brief in favor of marriage equality. As of Monday night, there were 75 signatories and the total topped 80 by Tuesday morning.
This comes at the same time as extremists like the AFA’s Bryan Fischer are claiming that nobody has a right to be immoral:
Fischer claims that Americans,
[D]on’t have a moral right to do it, they don’t have an ethical right to do it, they don’t have a right to do it according to the laws of nature, and most importantly, they do not have a right to do it according to the laws of God, and beyond that they do not have a right to do it according to the Constitution of the United States.
What Fischer and other extremists fail to recognize is that the laws of nature abound with same-sex behavior, that the U.S. Constitution was not written in accordance with the “laws of God” but in accordance with secular English Common Law, and that the so-called “laws of God” are therefore not the law of the land. Those who are neither Jews nor Christians could give a hoot what the God of Abraham thinks about anything. It just isn’t relevant.
What does matter is what the Constitution really says, and that is that all of us are created equal and, more importantly, have the same rights. Heck, even Dick Cheney was able to figure that out, saying that, ”I think that freedom means freedom for everyone,”
The collection Republicans whose views on same-sex marriage have evolved includes a former presidential candidate, Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, who as recently as the 2012 race argued against same-sex marriage, as well as former Dubya advisors, former governors (New Jersey’s Christine Todd Whitman, Massachusetts’ William Weld, Jane Swift, and Paul Cellucci), and ex-members of Congress. The New York Times this morning offered a cross-sampling:
Among them are Meg Whitman, who supported Proposition 8 when she ran for California governor; Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York; Stephen J. Hadley, a Bush national security adviser; Carlos Gutierrez, a commerce secretary to Mr. Bush; James B. Comey, a top Bush Justice Department official; David A. Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first budget director; and Deborah Pryce, a former member of the House Republican leadership from Ohio who is retired from Congress.
Another signatory was Romney advisor Ben Ginsberg. Dick Cheney, who supports marriage equality, did not sign, but his daughter, Mary, did.
The brief is not a simple statement of support that will have no bearing on events. Rather, it will go to the Supreme Court this week in the cause of striking down California’s Proposition 8. One of the suit’s lawyers, Theodore B. Olson, once served as solicitor general under George W. Bush. Olson feels that marriage equality actually promotes family values rather than destroying them, and that it also promotes the ideals of limited government and individual freedom.
Generally, everything coming out of the mouth of Republican politicians does exactly the opposite of what they say – most GOP policies stand diametrically opposed to limited government and individual freedom, except when it comes to raping women and toting guns.
What this brief represents is a ground-shift even among Republicans in support of true equality, and an embrace of the idea that the United States is governed not by God-given law (as Bryan Fischer claims) but man-given law. It represents also the realization that knee-jerk opposition to same-sex marriage is as outmoded as Bryan Fischer is himself, that people – all people – have the same rights and that religion-based bigotry has no role in the American narrative.
The 2014 and 2016 elections just got a lot more interesting.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.