The Corner

NYT Clarifies the Stakes in the Gay-Marriage Debate

The New York Times editorial on the New York legislature’s decision to redefine marriage on Friday night provides the same-sex marriage advocate’s preferred explanation of the outcome — four courageous Republican senators bucked their hide-bound party to strike a blow for civil rights.

The background stories on the vote now emerging give us reason to be skeptical of that narrative. One of the senators who switched to give Governor Cuomo his vote told the Village Voice: “It’s not our job to be moral, it’s our job to be functional as a legislature.” What “functional as a legislature” means is not entirely clear, but we get some hints in the stories that detail the money spent by gay marriage advocates (including some wealthy libertarians) and the power-play by the governor and gay-marriage advocates. One lobbyist said there was “a ‘limitless’ amount of lobbying dollars and campaign contributions from gay marriage advocates.” The New York Daily News provides the not-surprising news: “Gay marriage advocates said they expect money from same-sex groups to flow to the four not just as a thank you, but also as a message to Republicans nationally.” The cynical might even think that flow might have affected the decision to jump ship. One Republican who had run on his opposition to same-sex marriage had taken a clear “no” position on the bill just a few weeks before. Another thought the appropriate way to express his “evolution” on the issues was a vulgar and self-righteous rant. Perhaps a sincere, if misguided, conversion explains the switching, but Ockham’s razor suggests a combination of money and power can’t be discounted as the more likely explanation.

The NYT piece also tells us much about the religious-liberty exemption much touted as a justification for redefining marriage. Now that the bill is a done deal, the Times says there really was no need for an exemption since religious organizations are already protected by the First Amendment. They are probably wrong about that legally, since governments and activists have not hesitated to attack religious groups in court over same-sex unions, so even the very grudging exemption could be useful. The point is that the Times, and the activist groups for whom it speaks on the issue, believe they are not really giving anything of substance. Plus, the exemption does nothing to protect individuals (bed and breakfast owners, etc.) who are the most likely target of lawsuits. More enlightening is the Times’ characterization of the exemptions that did pass: “While some civil rights advocates are optimistic that these provisions are relatively minor, we are deeply troubled by their discriminatory intent. The whole purpose of this law should be to expand civil rights without shedding other protections in the process.” Translation: Religious freedom is just a fancy word for bigotry.

New York is helping us to see the true face of “marriage equality.”

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More