Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Oppressing With A Yawn

I've been quiet about Judge Walker's recent ruling that California's despicable Proposition 8 (banning gay marriage) was unconstitutional because I wanted to see how things developed (also, I've been insanely busy writing up an algorithm that only got finished at six this afternoon/evening).

In brief, whilst I can certainly see why some progressives would be nervous about giving the Supreme Court the opportunity to get their hands on Prop 8 and use it to screw gay people the way they've screwed, well, pretty much everyone who can't afford an entire synchronised swimming team made up of giant pandas - and we already know from Citizens United that they're entirely prepared to take the narrow rulings they are asked to adjudicate and use it to make massive changes to the law (because no amount of training, intelligence or experience will stop a man being a worthless hack if they know they'll get something out of it) - I'm choosing to be glass half full about this one. This may be the soft bigotry of low expectations, but it's pleasing to me that at least one American legal expert believes legislative gay-bashing (to quote President Bartlett) violates those silly ideas about equal protection the Constitution enshrine.

There are plenty of things that I could say on the subject. In large part, though, I'd just like to cede the floor to Glenn Greenwald, who absolutely nails how feeble the arguments against gay marriage really are. All I'd add is that this is part of a larger paradox within Conservative thinking, as I've pointed out before (I forget the specific post): the bizarre argument that their preferences are so clearly superior that they need the law to ensure people cannot choose anything else. At heart, it's the same oxymoron that claims America is so unquestionably awesome that even the most milquetoast of criticism will hand victory to the enemy and render the speaker no better than a terrorist themselves.

In other words, it's total bullshit, and with specific reference to the Douthat column Greenwald entirely tears to shreds, Kevin Drum is entirely correct: you can frequently tell how avidly someone holds an opinion by how easily they can formulate the arguments they claim to find persuasive. Here, Douthat manages nothing more than stringing together a few portentous-sounding but ultimately meaningless phrases. It's pretty clear he's just going through the motions.

Of course, in this case the motions are telling a significant proportion of the population that their relationships are somehow less than ours. Way to go, American Right!

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