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Friday, October 21, 2016

There’s an oft-repeated phrase in discussions of same-sex marriage: “Be on the right side of history.”

I prefer something simpler: Be right.

We are swiftly arriving at the point where most Americans recognize right from wrong and see — with clarity gained through experience or thoughtful reconsideration — the fiction that love could somehow be ruinous to society.

And so it was notable last week, as the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a string of lower-court rulings that knocked down same-sex marriage bans in five states, that there was relative silence from the politicians who had once so strongly endorsed such bans.

It was as if they were too busy pondering a leap to the right side of history to be bothered.

By declining to hear appeals in these cases, the high court paved the way for same-sex marriage to be legal in 30 states.

For years, Republican politicians and, lest we forget, a good number of Democrats, including our current president, made clear in their campaigns that marriage should be between a man and woman. They built a wall and leaned into it, forcefully.

But now, with the hearts and minds of the populace changing and people from both parties stepping away, that wall is coming down, liable to squash the still-stubborn few trying to keep it in place.

Those flattened souls are the ones history will remember harshly. Not the many who opposed same-sex marriage and then eked away as attitudes shifted, but the ones who bucked public opinion and reasonableness and fought on, highlighting the worst of the arguments used against the civil rights issue of this age.

To that end, I give you Republican Texas senator Ted Cruz, one of the few high-profile politicians to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to stand down. Cruz is likely to run for president in 2016.

He responded to the expansion of same-sex marriage rights by utilizing the three H’s: hysteria, hypocrisy and hypothetical history.

The first line of Cruz’s statement was: “The Supreme Court’s decision to let rulings by lower court judges stand that redefine marriage is both tragic and indefensible.” That’s hysteria, the idea that allowing two men or two women to marry is somehow a tragedy or an assault on the greater good.

The predictions that opening marriage to gay and lesbian couples would tear apart the fabric of society never came to pass, and public support for same-sex marriage has risen steadily, crossing the 50 percent threshold in Gallup polls in 2011 and continuing to climb.

Cruz, in his excoriation of the high court, then moved on to hypocrisy: “This is judicial activism at its worst.”

Judicial activism is a term politicians of all stripes use when a court makes a decision they oppose. But what about earlier this year, when individuals on the same court struck down limits on the total amount of money people can give to candidates, political parties and committees, opening the door for big-money donors to wield greater influence?

The justices were not, in Cruz’s opinion, irresponsible activists. He released a statement praising their decision: “Today’s Supreme Court decision is a victory for the First Amendment.”

I’m sorry, but you can’t have it both ways.

Lastly, hypothetical history. By not hearing appeals of the lower-court rulings, Cruz said the Supreme Court is “applying an extremely broad interpretation to the 14th Amendment,” which guarantees equal protection and due process:

“The Court is making the preposterous assumption that the People of the United States somehow silently redefined marriage in 1868 when they ratified the 14th Amendment.”

If that’s preposterous, then it’s equally preposterous that the noble folks who adopted the First Amendment back in 1791 assumed it would be used to allow corporations and wealthy individuals to give vast amounts of money to political campaigns. And yet here we are.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stuck down same-sex marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote that “when a state is in the business of marriage, it must affirm the love and commitment of same-sex couples in equal measure. Recognizing that right dignifies them; in so doing, we dignify our Constitution.”

In other words, it’s not about being on the right side of history. It’s about being right.

Cruz may someday be remembered as one of the last politicians to speak out vociferously in opposition to same-sex marriage.

He will also be remembered for being wholly and shamefully wrong.

Rex Huppke is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune and a noted hypocrisy enthusiast. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @RexHuppke.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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  • We have certainly not forgotten the many Democrats who formerly leaned against that wall, but we give them credit for having the balls to say “Sorry, I was wrong” and step away from it.

    The Republicans, by and large, are incapable of doing this on a multitude of issues. They continue to fight undeniable truths, not just about gay marriage, but also about economics, climate science, immigration reform, and evolution, for no demonstrable reason other than because they hate to admit to their own imperfections — to their own capacity, as human beings, to make mistakes.

    Ted Cruz will certainly be remembered as an icon of this failing by the G.O.P. But as his party in its entirety continues, over and over again, to dig in and defend indefensible stances on everything else in the world, what is to be expected is that any and all Republicans who did try to quietly back away from the wall will be remembered as having fought the truth to the death along with him.

    • Candice White

      God will judge all you people who say right is wrong and wrong is right these people have the same rights as every one else they just more rights which they don’t deserve. I am sick of all this crap.

      • charleo1

        If you’re sick of this crap, Candice, then, just give it up! If you believe God will judge, why is it that you feel it’s your place to pre-judge? By what authority? As Pope Francis recently ask, “Who are we to judge?” As Jesus admonished, “He that is without sin, may cast the first stone.” The message to us from on high, is simple. We are mortal, and fallible, and should leave the judgement of God’s Children to their Creator. Remember, we can’t keep our own feet on the straight, and narrow, if we’re always looking for the sin in others.

      • awakenaustin

        Do you suppose you know what God’s judgement will be?
        Maybe God has changed God’s mind?
        Maybe some of the editors and interpreters of the “word” of God haven’t gotten the memo yet?
        Doesn’t one commit the sin of pride when one supposes she knows what God is thinking?

      • FT66

        I also believe god will judge those who gave themselves power to judge others. In this case, you are also included.

      • jakenhyde

        Well, I don’t know if you re-read what you write. But it certainly makes absolutely no sense.
        By the way, to which god were you referring? Christian god, Jewish god, Vishnu, Gautama Buddha…..? You really should be more clear. And, if you’d try a little punctuation when you write, maybe your post would make more sense.

      • cleos_mom

        How do you think your god will judge the US for its insane wars? Or the growing income inequality and organized religion’s lack of leadership in that area? Does your god ever think of anything other than sex?

      • stcroixcarp

        Then just let God do God’s job. In the end we are all beggars, in need of grace.

      • BillP

        No they don’t want more rights just the ones that everyone else in this country have. You can marry a man in any state in this country and have it recognized in every state. Can you say the same for gay men or women? No you can’t.

  • FT66

    Ted Cruz is crazy at the same time make himself look stupid while he is not. He always touts: “First Amendmet; Second Amendment etc. etc.” Why can’t he ask himself why were such amendments if at all what was written first was right and they decided to amend it. To stick on history that marriage is about between a man and a woman is quite wrong. It was right then BUT not now. Why can’t he (Ted Cruz) insist what history tells us that no one is allowed to break the marriage? How many marriages have been broken since Ted Cruz came to understand what marriage means? Why didn’t he interfere in that? Why would he stick on against same sex marriage and NOT on breaking of marriages? Is this not going far beyond the borders and intereferring on how people decide to live? He has to back off. It is none of his business.

    • charleo1

      The short answer is, Republicans have found advocating against equal Rights for Gays, and putting referendums on ballots to have that discrimination memorialized into State Constitutions, has been a real motivator to get the kinds of people that elect them to turn out. It’s classic divide and conquer, politics. In the same way their Southern Strategy, filled their ranks with Dixiecrats, after Johnson signed the Civil Rights Bill. Purposefully advocating the intentional disenfranchisement of the Civil Rights of a minority, and thus gaining the favor of a sub-set of voters that would like to legally discriminate against them. Kind of pathetic when it’s all spelled out like that, isn’t it?

      • FT66

        Right. Divide and conquer has no room in our current politics. Thats why we want to show them come November no one especially Dems can stomach this anymore. Every day am having a good laugh watching all polls which are coming out. Anyway, am not allowed to write more on this. Thank you for your perspective. I appreciate it.

  • EaglesGlen

    Until gov changes the United Nations 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights of every human being on planet earth including America to include same-sex I say same-sex issue has no legal standing in America OR the world.

    • FT66

      Hello! No one is going to declare to others whom they should love or hate. This is personal feelings. Telling others to go against their feelings in order to make you feel happy, is what we call DICTATORSHIP, which is not allowed at all especially in this country.

      • EaglesGlen

        I do not care, society does not care, except you can not force any person what to believe. This is the same sex predator issue to attempt to force the world to conform to your beliefs to have same-sex with farm animals ( like you the predator).

        • charleo1

          First of all, Gay people don’t care what you believe.
          Little green men, Unicorns, T-Baggers that can read,
          You don’t even have to believe in the Constitution.
          Besides, allowing other people to enjoy the same Rights, as you, doesn’t require you conform to anything. Just leave them alone. You don’t see them mucking with your Rights do you? This is not brain surgery, and has nothing to do with sex with farm animals, or sexual predators. And legalizes neither. But like I said, little green men, Sarah Pailin is only acting like an airhead. Whatever you want to believe.

    • elw

      You have got it backwards it would have to state the same-sex was excluded to the rights in order for it not to apply.

      • EaglesGlen

        U.N. Did not include farm animals or any fiction that might happen. U.N. did specify Article 16 marriage is between men and women! If they intended domesticated farm animals human or not they would have specified it. Not spycified is specific inclusion of all other.

      • EaglesGlen

        U.N. Did not include farm animals or any fiction that might happen. U.N. did specify Article 16 marriage is between men and women! If they intended domesticated farm animals human or not they would have specified it. Not spycified is specific inclusion of all other.

      • EaglesGlen

        Same-sex with farm animals (same-sex is the domestication if humans as no better than income producing property than all the other animals you find on the farm) and any other disease that might propagate, is extremely excluded as not included. If not specifically included, specifically excluded.

        • ralphkr

          Hey, Eagle, same sex behavior is rather common in wild animals as well as domesticated animals.

    • charleo1

      Well, that’s original. I’m sure, once the UN gives it the thumbs up, all
      the Right Wingers, and Christian Fundamentalists, will naturally get on board with same sex marriage thing. Seriously. are you nuts?

  • EaglesGlen

    Suppose the same-sex issue originates from the spread of same-sex whores of the slums.

    • charleo1


      • EaglesGlen

        Do statistical analysis of ALL propagations and find the slum is the source.

        • charleo1

          Says who, or what statistical analysis? Statistically, Gay people are overwhelmingly the progeny of heterosexual couples. And a minority that consistently has made up about 10% of the population. And cross all economic, social, racial, and religious lines. So, I would check your sources, if I was you. My other question is, why wouldn’t your common sense tell you better than that?

          • joe schmo

            Why not look it up and research it yourself. Oh, we forgot, that is something you simply fail to do.

          • charleo1

            I could spend 24/7 researching every bat shit crazy, “fact,” you Wingers used to justify your opinions, and guess what? The truth is, on 99% of the issues, you don’t believe what you believe using fact, and logic. You believe what their propaganda tells you
            to believe. Or in this case, what some preacher says about Gays. Or, Rex Reed’s Family Research Council. A despicable lie spewing hate organization.
            The fact is, it used to be a great wedge issue for the
            GOP. Now, not nearly so much. So, they’ve led their
            lemmings into a cultural fight they can no longer win
            in Court, or in the Court of public opinion. And that’s
            where they’ll leave you. Which ought to be clue about the kind of organization you’ve chosen. But,
            it probably won’t. Guys like you, and this one here,
            are in too deep. Says he’s waiting for the UN to settle the Gay Rights issue. How bout you? You want to research that one?

    • ralphkr

      So true, Eagle. I remember during the Vietnam era when my mother insisted that I take to dinner at a restaurant on the main drag in town next to a major marine base. As we sat by the window waiting our meal my mother remarked, “Oh, look at that handsome marine and his wife. My, she is just as tall as he.” I looked and then told her, “Mom, that is not his wife nor his girlfriend and not a woman but a male prostitute.” Mom, “But, she is so pretty.” Me, “That is how you can tell if it is a female or male prostitute walking down Main. If pretty then it is a man but if plain then the prostitute is female.” By the way, no real slums in that town but mostly middle class ($300K to $500K homes) with some rather wealthy in their $million plus homes. The closest thing to a slum in the general area was military housing.

  • elw

    Not to worry, even most Republicans do not listen to a Ted Cruz. The guy is creepy, been too wrong too often, and will never be President.

  • howa4x

    Republicans should fear the future the most. I have 3 young adults, 2 very liberal and one conservative leaning and all three can’t seem to fathom what all the fuss is about concerning same sex marriage. Their generation grew up with gays as friends and on a lot of TV shows and don’t understand the bigotry of older Americans. Even today the most widely watched TV show Modern family has a married gay couple with an adopted kid. Now this generation votes and the more harsh rhetoric that the republican spew will only serve to drive this generation away from the brand.

  • Mark VanKirk

    Marrage equality is not what history will view unfavorably. It is Climate Deniers.

    • joe schmo

      LOL….I think not. Liberal ideology has been wrong regarding the Climate before….I am not against Gays or their right to Marry. That is up to them, but to drag some religious folks into this and to expect them to agree with this decision is sacrilege. Decadence at it’s finest. Just remember God is watching…… He always seems to right the wrongs of humanity eventually. But that is not for me to say.

      • WhutHeSaid

        No, that’s for your master (Satan) to say when he calls you home and tenderly prods you with his pitchfork. Climate change isn’t an ideology, you twit – it’s reality. I know that willful ignorance is the proud hallmark of Tea Bigots, but even the most defiant redneck goober must experience embarrassment sometimes, yes?