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Monday, November 20, 2017

She didn’t mean it.

Alabama state legislator Patricia Todd now says she’s not going to name those among her conservative colleagues who have had extramarital dalliances, although she had threatened to do so. But she has stiffened her resolve about this much: She’ll continue to combat anti-gay bigotry, which is what started this imbroglio.

Todd, a Democrat and Alabama’s only openly gay legislator, was heartened when a federal judge struck down the state’s law banning same-sex marriage earlier this month. The ruling is another sign of the rapid advance of gay rights; if U.S. District Court Judge Callie V.S. Granade’s decision holds, Alabama will be the 37th state to permit gay marriage.

But the ruling was immediately greeted with criticism from Republicans in the statehouse, who vowed to fight it. State House Speaker Mike Hubbard, for example, pledged to “continue defending the Christian conservative values that make Alabama a special place to live.”

For Todd, that was too much. “What I heard was, ‘We’re going to defend the Christian values of Alabama and family values.’ … This rhetoric … is very hurtful in the gay community,” she told me.

So she took to her Facebook page to warn her colleagues that she would fight back.

“I will not stand by and allow legislators to talk about ‘family values’ when they have affairs, and I know of many who are and have. I will call our elected officials who want to hide in the closet OUT,” she wrote.

Her anger is understandable. For decades, conservative Christians have wielded the Bible as an instrument of division, distorting its message to buttress their bigotry. Worse, they’ve been “family values” hypocrites, indulging their own vices while casting stones at others.

As just one example, U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) was implicated in a prostitution scandal in 2007. He offered an apology for his “sin” and has since been re-elected. He continues, by the way, to oppose gay marriage.

The challenge to Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage was brought by a lesbian couple, Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand, who were married in California in 2008 but live in Mobile. The major reason for their nuptials was so that Searcy could be considered a legal parent to their son, whom McKeand gave birth to in 2005, they told The Associated Press. But the state of Alabama refused to recognize their marriage.

Judge Granade, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, ruled that Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban violated the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment. And she dispensed with the absurd notion that rearing children in a same-sex marriage would loosen the bonds that tie biological parents to their offspring.

“… Alabama does not exclude from marriage any other couples who are either unwilling or unable to biologically procreate. There is no law prohibiting infertile couples, elderly couples, or couples who do not wish to procreate from marrying. … In sum, the laws in question are an irrational way of promoting biological relationships in Alabama,” she wrote.

Still, the bigots continue their battle, hoping to bend the arc of history back toward the 19th century as the nation waits for the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a definitive ruling later this year. Alabama’s attorney general is appealing Judge Granade’s ruling. And Alabama’s famously combative Supreme Court chief justice, Roy Moore, has promised to ignore the federal judge’s decision.

Further, those antediluvian voices have been echoed on the national stage by some Republicans considering a run for the presidency. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have suggested a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

But that view is rapidly dwindling, close to obsolete outside the aging GOP base. Nearly 60 percent of Americans now support same-sex nuptials, according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. No matter what the Supreme Court rules, gay marriage will prevail in the not-too-distant future.

That’s why Todd is optimistic — even as she pushes back against the prejudices of some of her colleagues. “The reality is, we’re going to win this battle,” she said.

Cynthia Tucker won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2007. She can be reached at cynthia@cynthiatucker.com.

Photo: Senate Democrats via Flickr

31 Responses to Despite Conservative Republicans, Gay Marriage Will Prevail

  1. The best thing social conservatives could do is accept change as an inevitable component of social and intellectual evolution, and instead of fighting make an attempt to shape change to satisfy their values and expectations.

      • Their opposition to the expansion of Veterans benefits, increasing the minimum wage, opposition to same sex marriage, and opposition to investment in infrastructure, among other manifestations of Republican orthodoxy, is taking care of that.

        • I wish. There are now more Republicans in office at the state and federal level than anytime since 1928. I would hardly say they’re losing.

          • Think of the current Repugnican party as an old clunker with a gas tank full of mothballs. That sucker will run like a scraped ape for about a half hour; then it’s going to need a new engine.

          • I’ve been hearing for 30 years that once the old people die off, the “social conservatives” will go with it; it hasn’t happened. They’re indoctrinating a whole new generation of idiots to torment us and winning more elections than ever. They’re destroying the county and it sucks.

          • I concur with your assessment that we’re being tormented by idiots (wingdings), but the worm is turning. American civilization is advancing, despite the best efforts of Repugnicans to push back the tide. The GOP will evolve, or become politically irrelevant in the not-too-distant future.

          • Advancing? You mean regressing, right? With all the uneducated losers coming into this country, the space program being cut, businesses being overwhelmed with taxes and regulations, outsourcing, etc….. How do you figure? I really don’t see how we can see that we are moving forward, and by moving forward if you mean from a social standpoint, our world as we know it has become more decadent than normal, and we all know what happened to Rome at the end.

          • But if they’re uneducated losers, most of them are sure to vote Republican if they get naturalized.

          • The conditions that existed in 2014, when a large number of Democrats were running for re-election in red or purple states and districts, is going to be reversed in 2016, when the exact opposite is going to be the case.

          • Well then look at the 2018 map. It’s as bad if not worse than 2014. We’re going to be fighting these idiots for a LONG time. Democrats stayed home in 2010 and this country will pay for that for at least the next 20 years.

          • The first order of business – when it comes to politics – is to replace the entire Democratic campaign strategy team. They allowed the GOP to control the narrative, to distort our accomplishments, and influence the opinion of millions of Americans, including many Democrats. Can you imagine what the GOP would have done with a domestic and foreign policy record like ours? Instead of letting the opposition control the agenda after President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, they declared war, ignored the consequences and meaning of a resounding political victory, fought for their values and goals, and with the exception of President Obama’s re-election they have been scoring congressional victories ever since. Not because of their record, which is dismal, not because of their lack of vision, but because they know how to run a political campaign. It is great to be members of a party that focuses on governance, but when a political party ignores the art of politics, and its candidates are out of office, there is not much to govern. That is the reality Republicans understand, and we continue to ignore.

          • As usual, you’re spot-on Dominick. It’s about time we focused on the crux of our electoral problems (notwithstanding the collective low IQ of Repugnican voters). To wit, that the Democrats are cowardly and lack leadership skills and political acumen.

          • I confess that since I live in a red hot district and, therefore, surrounded by reds, my opinion may be influenced by the tendency of those who love their ER freebies and talk about personal responsibility while cashing their welfare checks at WalMart.
            As for the “I”, I can only speak for myself. The rest is just speculation or opinions based on official statistics and the ability to remember the past.

    • The problem is, social conservatism doesn’t allow for evolution – neither social, intellectual nor, for that matter, biological. Sunday School conservatives spell the word with an “I”, as in “evilution”. And in an increasingly progressive environment, they have no hope of shaping change. Only the rapture can “satisfy their values and expectations”.

    • That would be nice but when change, intellect, compromise and evolution are dirty words to them, not likely.
      These are people who thinks it’s somehow honorable to remain rigid and inflexible. They don’t want to change with the times or evolve, they want their 1950’s back.

  2. Just look at that photo. Have you ever seen a group of republicans where any of them are smiling??? I haven’t. They just look like a bunch of grumpy old men.
    If christianity is so great, I would think they’d find it impossible not to be happy.

    • Anyone that’s completely obsessed with other peoples’ lifestyle and sexual orientation could not possibly be happy. One would have to be extremely mean spirited – despite their proclamations of compassion – to spend half their life fighting against someone else’s path to happiness. And in the end…why the hell should they even care about something that does not affect them? Nosy, paraonoid, scared-of-life, nasty, busybodies. I don’t see any place left for happiness.

    • Not as long as there is one fundamentalist Republican who hopes nobody finds out about his secret gay lover, and can continue his hypocrisy going.

  3. Progress usually wins out, albeit often very slowly. One day the nation will live up to the wonderful words in our founding documents.

  4. Looking at that picture, what self respecting human,unless in “the business” would willingly agree to a dalliance.
    Who will win?
    Definitely not the hypocritical American Taliban led by David “family values aka diaper boy” Vitter.

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