When a federal judge ruled last week that Oklahoma’s gay marriage ban is unconstitutional because the ban is motivated by discrimination, religious conservatives seem to have made it their personal mission to prove the judge right. Here are five of the most outrageous reactions and why, if anything, they help the gay rights cause.
1. Sally Kern: Gays are a “Human Wrong”
Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern is no stranger to the anti-gay cause and has always been reliable for an anti-gay quote. This week she excelled with this little tirade:
“Homosexuality is not a civil right. It’s a human wrong. Homosexuals are saying this is who we are. This is how we’re born. You tell a lie long enough, people start to believe it.”
Kern is hoping that the appeals courts will overturn the judgment, but given its comprehensive demolition of every anti-gay argument put forward by the state, that doesn’t look particularly likely.
2. Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert Thinks Judges Need Plumbing Lessons
Speaking during a ”Conversations With Conservatives” event hosted by the Heritage Foundation this past week, Gohmert was asked what he thought about the Oklahoma judge’s gay marriage ruling, to which he reportedly replied:
“They need some basic plumbing lessons,” he said. “For one omnipotent, omniscious [sic], ubiquitous federal judge who is wise beyond his education to say — to make such a declaration about the law, I think, requires revisiting by each state and compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Had Rep. Gohmert actually bothered to read the ruling, he would be aware that Judge Terrence Kern actually relied quite heavily on the Supreme Court’s decision striking down DOMA Section 3, known as Windsor v. United States.
3. Oklahoma Attorney General: The 14th Amendment Doesn’t Apply to Gays
It is no surprise that the Oklahoma administration will appeal the federal district court ruling. What we might not have been expecting was for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to argue that gays have no 14th Amendment claim:
“Is there really a constitutional right? [Are] there cases that support that individuals’ sexual orientation should be the heart of equal protection under the 14th Amendment? And that’s just not the case. When you look at where the Equal Protection Law came from, the 14thAmendment, the right to be treated equally under the laws, it came after the Civil War.”
Pruitt is implying that the amendment was written to protect people from discrimination based on race or gender but not sexual orientation. He believes the Supreme Court has already settled the matter, saying that the court has said states must be allowed to decide this issue for themselves.
He neglects to mention that the Supreme Court of the United States in Windsor v. United States has recognized a claim for sexual orientation discrimination relating to Equal Protection under the 5th Amendment and while of course this doesn’t preclude them from finding against a 14th Amendment claim, to talk about it like it is a settled matter is ridiculous.
4. Michele Bachmann: “Gay Marriage is Lawlessness”
Retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann, appearing at the same Heritage event as Rep. Gohmert, decried the ruling as an example of President Obama’s perceived dictatorial qualities — because, why pass up an opportunity to attack the President even though he had absolutely nothing to do with this ruling? Raw Story quotes her as saying:
“The legacy of Barack Obama will be of the establishment of lawlessness in the United States,” she declared, adding that Obama and judges who struck down same-sex marriage bans were like Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, “who all of the sudden declared that his edicts were not appealable to a court.”
Bachmann, who must still be reeling from marriage equality being legalized in Minnesota, is still apparently a big player among religious conservatives — who knew?
5. Tony Perkins Cries Judicial Activism
While I would love to ignore Tony Perkins of the designated hate group the Family Research Council, he unfortunately is still asked for his opinion by a variety of mainstream media shows, including CNN. As such, what he had to say on this is relevant if only to further show how extreme he and his rhetoric is. Said Perkins following the release of the Oklahoma decision:
“This activist judge is overrunning both the constitution and the rule of law in a drive to fundamentally alter America’s moral, political and cultural landscape. He is substituting his own ideology for the three quarters of Oklahomans who voted to preserve marriage in their constitution as it has always been defined.
“As the American people are given time to experience the actual consequences of redefining marriage, we are seeing the public debate and opposition to the redefinition of natural marriage intensify. In recent months, we have witnessed serious consequences of redefining marriage. For example, a Colorado baker is risking jail if he refuses to obey a court order to bake a cake for same-sex ‘weddings’ in contradiction to his Christian faith. We have also seen same-sex marriage cited in a decision striking down Utah’s law against polygamy.
As we’ve previously explained, same-sex marriage was not cited in any meaningful way in the decision that struck down part of Utah’s regulations that made multiple partner cohabitation a crime — indeed, it was actually religious and personal freedom that was at the heart of that decision.
As part of the gay marriage court battle, plaintiffs often have to demonstrate the animus that has gone into banning their marriages. I’d like to say a big thanks to all those religious conservatives who rushed to demonstrate this kind of ill feeling so well for us because, though they haven’t meant to, their hate can only help the cause as this and various other court cases wind their way through the courts.
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