Sen. Jason Rapert will get his Legislative Council vote today on a resolution endorsing discrimination against gay people in marriage and the resolution will pass overwhelmingly. We could wish legislators would consider more thoughtfully the real poison in the resolution — an expression of support for popular control of the courts through easy removal of judges who might irk voters. We know better than to do so.
PS — Some supporters of equal rights plan to be in attendance today to let legislators know feelings on this issue in the state aren’t unanimous.
For the record, though, as legislators indelibly put their names on the pages of history as bitter-enders of the Wallace/Faubus school:
* A pitiful few hundred turned out for a widely publicized march in Washington yesterday intended to inflame the public and influence the U.S. Supreme Court as it moves toward landmark marriage equality rulings. It was so pitiful it rated scant coverage. I don’t doubt many people continue to hold strong feelings averse to marriage equality. But the tide has turned. Increasingly, even opponents realize they aren’t threatened by equal treatment of other people. They are prepared to live and let live. Not Mike Huckabee, whose shameless performance yesterday set a new low. Appropriating Martin Luther King and the Holocaust in the cause of bigotry? But the fundamental governance issue behind the posturing of Huckabee and Rapert goes far beyond simple animus toward gay people.
“Judicial supremacy is a curse upon this great Republic,” Huckabee told the crowd at the rally. ….
He went on to argue that the president and Congress were not required to redefine what he deemed natural laws — including marriage — no matter what rulings “nine people in robes” might hand down from the bench.
“The government doesn’t give us our rights,” he said. “The government only has the responsibility to protect the rights God gave us.”
Shorter Huckabee and Rapert: Our religion (our religion, not yours) should define and interpret the civil and criminal law, not some court. Constitutional interpretation? It is but a technicality, subject to popular whim (meaning Rapert’s or Huckabee’s whim.) Brown v. Board of Education? The court had no right in the Huck/Rape view of government. Religion, remember, dictated unequal treatment of black people.
What legislators should consider is the double-edge of this sword. Popular whim could also rise up against judges who protect corporations against people mistreated by nursing homes. Popular whim could rise up against judges who don’t protect our God-given environment. And on and on. We have three branches for a reason — not Rapert and them.
As several have noted, Huckabee expropriated King remarks that were based on freedom granted by the U.S. Supreme Court when Southern states wouldn’t provide it. He did this to make a case AGAINST equality under the law. It was a monumental contortion even by the Huckster’s standards.
Can we agree that such a bizarre outburst likely is the death knell of Huckabee’s political career? And that such a display might even give his media benefactors pause? He and Rapert and the rest are losing. Arkansas legislators would do well to take notice. The march yesterday was described here as a display of “self-pity.” Here the turnout of a couple of thousand diehards was described as pathetic. Even the opponents are moving on.
* GOOD NEWS: Not all our leaders are cut from Rapert and Huckabee cloth. President Obama today will order extension of an array of federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples, including in states that haven’t recognized marriage.
REPEAT: Even in Arkansas legally married couples can enjoy the benefits of federal law as it pertains to married couples.
And now back to our regularly scheduled program: Craven Arkansas legislators pissing into the wind of history.