Rick Perry, conservative savior, says homosexual “marriage” law in New York is “fine with him”

Clark Coleman writes:

From Gary Bauer’s daily email, here is Rick Perry’s response to a question about gay marriage:

Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me. That is their call. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business.

That is the man hailed as a conservative savior by so many who want to draft him as a candidate. Is there any candidate who is not a disappointment in some major respect?

LA replies:

More than disappointing—it’s unbelievable.

This is the guy who has been positioning himself as the winning “conservative” candidate? He doesn’t realize that a person who supports homosexual “marriage,” who sees it as a legitimate thing for states to do, who treats the most radical social innovation in history as merely a procedural matter of states’ rights, is not a conservative by any definition of the word? Does he imagine that supporting homosexual marriage will help him win the nomination? Does he not realize that untold numbers of Republican voters on hearing that he has no problem with homosexual marriage will instantly cross him their list?

He’s not only a liberal, he’s a fool.

Oh, by the way, no wonder he supported Giuliani for the 2008 nomination. He shares his social-liberal outlook.

- end of initial entry -

Alissa writes:

“That is their call. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business.”

Rick Perry possesses libertarian and Tea Party ideals as evidenced by this comment.

Scott C. writes:

What right does Rick Perry have, as the governor of Texas, to tell the people of New York how to vote? [LA replies: That’s a ridiculous statement. The whole country has expressed opinions on state laws, e.g., on California’s Prop. 187, on California’s Prop. 209, on California’s referendum to change the state Constitution defining marriage as one man and one woman, on the Massachusetts judicial decision recognizing homosexual “marriage,” on the New York law recognizing homosexual “marriage.” Are you not aware that the debates on these state measures have not been limited to the respective states, but have been nation-wide? Have you got some constitutional amendment in your pocket we haven’t heard about, that prohibits Americans from talking about the issues they want to talk about—issues that, by the way, affect the entire character and future of the country? And are you not aware that Perry is not speaking just as a state governor, but as a prospective candidate for President of the United States, and that therefore his statements go to the good of the whole country, and not just Texas? ]

Under the 10th amendment, none. If the people of New York want to turn their state into Sodom and Gomorrah, that’s not a concern of the people of Texas. Neither is San Francisco, or any other city or state for that matter. [Please. The 10th Amendment has absolutely nothing to do with this issue. The 10th amendment says that powers not delegated to the Congress, are left to the states and to the people. How does that mean that a citizen of one state cannot criticize a law passed in another state that advances a nation-wide movement to institutionalize homosexual marriage? Would you say that if New York passed a law institutionalizing shariah, that would be of no interest to the people of New Jersey or of California?]

In Texas, we concern ourselves with our own state. [LA replies: You mean, you don’t concern yourself with the well-being of the United States as a whole, of which Texas (I remind you) is a part? Then you are rejecting President Washington’s Farewell address.] We only allow our legislators to meet for 120 days once every two years. Get into office, get the job done, then go home. That’s how we do things down here. What the people of New York or California or wherever decide to enact does impact [sic] us. We don’t allow gay marriage. [This is spectacular ignorance. You’re acting as though the states of the U.S. have nothing to do with each other. Have you not heard that under the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution each state is required to respect the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state”? Meaning that if a homosexual couple that had been “married” in one state moves to Texas, Texas could very well be forced to recognize that “marriage”? And that the main reason this is not operative at the moment is that the Defense of Marriage Act relieves states of the duty to recognize same-sex marriages performed in another state? And that the Democrats are seeking to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, thus nationalizing homosexual marriage, because all the states would have to recognize the homosexual marriages performed in the six states that now perform homosexual marriages? You act as though Texas were a sovereign nation, inhabiting a completely independent world of its own, having nothing to do with the rest of the country. I’m sorry to inform you that it is not. It is a state of the United States of America.]

What Rick Perry is saying is that the state of New York is perfectly within its rights to enact whatever laws it sees fit, just as Texas and every other state is. The problem here is with the state of New York, not with Rick Perry or Texas. [LA replies: This is not about legal rights. It is about what is right. The fact that a person or polity has a legal right to do something, doesn’t mean that it is right to do it. Maybe you haven’t noticed that VFR is not a libertarian, but a traditionalist website. Meaning that we are not concerned only with legal rights and procedures (though we certainly are concerned with them), but with the moral and cultural substance of society. People who are only concerned with rights and procedure are incapable of defending a particular social order, and thus are not conservatives in any meaningful sense of the word.]

Lydia McGrew writes:

Having noticed the storm created by his remarks on homosexual “marriage,” Gov. Perry is now flip-flopping, saying that he fully supports a federal marriage protection amendment. This is particularly strange given his bizarre injunction to (presumably) conservatives to “stay out of their business” if you “believe in the 10th amendment”—referring to the State of New York.

The ignorance of the original remark is astonishing. No one on the right is proposing anything that would in the slightest degree violate the 10th amendment. No one can name a single policy advocated by the right that would in any way clash with the 10th amendment. DOMA doesn’t. A marriage amendment doesn’t. So what in the world was he talking about? Does he think conservatives want some federal judge to declare New York State’s redefinition of marriage unconstitutional? (No one has proposed that, as far as I know.) He didn’t know what he was talking about. He was just running his mouth. Now he tries to say that he was merely recognizing the “state of law,” as though his original robust injunction to “stay out of their business” was just a way of saying, “Unfortunately, until we get a federal marriage amendment passed, it is legal for New York State to do what it has done.” What a lot of hooey.

I hadn’t investigated Perry before (I’m following your advice not to get involved in the 2012 election yet), but whatever estimation I had previously had for him based on news stories seen here and there is significantly lowered.

LA replies:

The Pledge which I have taken and urged others to take doesn’t say that one will not follow the 2012 presidential campaign at all, just that one will not pay attention to presidential polls, at least until after January 1, 2012, the actual presidential election year.

However, since coverage of the campaign is suffused with polls, I guess that in order to be completely true to The Pledge, one would have to ignore much of the campaign coverage, or read it very selectively. So the Pledge is harder than I thought. But it can still be followed, with a little more work. Lydia has her own version of The Pledge, which is not to follow the campaigning at all until next year. Perhaps that is the better way. Let us remember that the Iowa caucuses do not occur until February 6, 2012, a full five weeks after the beginning of the year. Isn’t five weeks enough time for a normally intelligent citizen to focus on the candidates? And of course the other primaries and caucuses will will come later and later after February 6, giving voters lots of time to ponder candidates and read polls.

LA writes:

Scott C. sent a response to my replies. I replied to him by quoting two sentences from his e-mail.

I wrote:

You wrote:

“Obviously you have a problem with homosexuality and abortion and a lot of other things.”

You’re implying that you don’t have a problem with those things. In which case, why are commenting at a traditionalist conservative website?

You wrote:

“We do not allow same sex marriages. New York does. What does that have to do with the people of Texas? Nothing.”

You’re ignoring the fundamental facts I informed you of, regarding the Full Faith and Credit clause and the Defense of Marriage Act, and how this affects Texas. If you want me to post your comment, be responsive to my points.

Scott then wrote again:

I do have a problem with those things, but I don’t live in another state. Who am I to say what the people in another state vote to pass laws for?

I don’t live there. I can’t vote there. I can only live in this state and vote for my representatives.

Full Faith and Credit, Defense of Marriage? We don’t have those problems in Texas. Maybe you do in New York. That’s your problem. Elect better representatives.

To which I replied:

The Full Faith and Credit Clause and the Defense of Marriage don’t apply to Texas? You’ve just underscored my point that you somehow think that Texas is not part of the United States. Not only have shown an inability to respond to or understand my points. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

Ed H. writes:

I will never understand how “Libertarianism” ever became a respectable political philosophy. It cannot answer any of the questions facing the country. It is a gimmick for those incapable of really thinking. Perry’s response is typical of the problems Libertarianism causes. Unable to take a moral or philosophical stand about homosexuality, Perry reduces it to a matter of “free choice” which then impinges on the rest of society in countless ways, all of which require more laws, more exceptions, more regulations. The “freedom” of Libertarianism is nothing more than chaos. which the rest of us must live with and pay for.

How much better if Perry was capable of saying:

“The social and moral norms of Western Civilization will not be changed to appease the emotional dysfunction of a minority. Deal with it, it’s your problem and we will not allow you to impose it upon us.”

JC from Houston writes:

Numbers USA just gave Perry a D minus on immigration. A bill to outlaw sanctuary contributors in Texas died in a special session when two of Perry’s fat cat business contributors opposed it. Perry didn’t lift a finger to push the legislation through.

Lydia McGrew writes:

I thought you might enjoy my new post on Gov. Perry’s remarks about the 10th amendment and homosexual “marriage.”

LA replies:

Lydia’s post is magnificent. Using logic and knowledge of the Constitution, she tears Perry apart and shows him for the empty grandstanding fool he is. Must reading.

Daniel H. in Seattle writes:

While I generally agree with you, it seems you were a bit uncharitable when interpreting Scott C.’s take on Rick Perry’s seeming non-stance on gay “marriage” in New York. [LA replies: It wasn’t a “non-stance.” It was a stance that said: “No one outside of New York should criticize this law.” Perry said he was “fine” with New York’s law—meaning that it’s ok for non-New Yorkers like Perry to support New York’s law, but it’s not OK for other non-New Yorkers to oppose it! What an ass! Some years ago when George Will said he supported states “experimenting” with homosexual marriage,” I said that Will was not even nominally a conservative any more. When David Brooks some years ago came out in favor of homosexual marriage, I said, he’s no longer a conservative, period. Ultimately the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, though initially he had resisted my arguments to him on the subject, took the same position as mine and said that Brooks was no longer a conservative—an impressive step for a man who always sought to avoid arguments with his fellow establishment conservatives. When Vice President Cheney said in a vice presidential debate that he supported homosexual marriage (and he wouldn’t have said that unless George W. Bush gave him the go-ahead to take the unprecedented step of differing publicly with the president’s supposed opposition on a major issue, showing what a complete phony Bush was), I wrote Cheney off. The issue is ineluctable. A “conservative” who supports or is “fine with” homosexual marriage is as absurd an entity as a “conservative” who supports or is “fine” with socialism. It is a basic contradiction in terms. So I’m not gentle and nice with such “conservatives.”]

You’re absolutely right that what happens in New York is the concern of Texans because it will end with the federal government forcing the ways of New York on the people of Texas. And it’s all the more relevant what Perry says, since he is clearly paving the way for a run at the presidency of the whole nation.

But your basing your argument on the concept of what is right versus what is legal blurs the issue somewhat. This is the same argument that a neocon uses to justify “democratizing” Iraq and Afghanistan. “Our values must be enforced on the entire world.” [LA replies: That is really going too far afield. It is not helpful to an argument to bring in an analogy from a completely unrelated issue, which has its own particulars that take it far away from the issue at hand. The issue at hand is: homosexual marriage is totally incompatible with our social order, in the same way that slavery is incompatible with our social order (which is why we have a constitutional amendment outlawing slavery in the United States), and why Islam is incompatible with our social order (which is why I have advocated a constitutional amendment outlawing the practice of Islam in the United States). We didn’t need a constitutional amendment about the nature of marriage before, because no one had ever challenged it, but now that it is being challenged, the ONLY way to protect marriage, as I have been arguing at this site for the last nine years, is through a federal constitutional amendment stating that marriage in the United States is between a man and a woman. The purpose of the Constitution is to express and protect the fundamental order of the United States for all the states. The definition of marriage is the kind of thing that preeminently affects the nation as a whole. To analogize from that to the Bush/Obama/ neoconservative project of imposing American ways on the whole world is a distraction from the issue at hand.]

Now, Texas is not Afghanistan, and I don’t mean to make a facile argument. I would agree with you if you were to assert that the fates of the people of New York and of Texas are sufficiently entwined at this point that they are essentially one, but this was the work of precisely the same movement that wants to federalize all morality and ensure that all “morality” is liberal morality. I also sympathize with people (and no, it’s not just libertarians) who believe strongly in states’ rights. Perhaps it’s far too late in the game to assert that states have actual power (like the power that Arizona wants to assert in protecting its own borders), but it’s not a merely crazy or selfish position (not that you said otherwise). [LA replies: I am in favor of states’ rights. For example, I want to overthrow all federal judicial decisions based on the false Incorporation Doctrine and the perverted concept of substantive due process which have given the federal courts illegitimate and revolutionary power over the states and localities. So the issue is not states’ rights versus no states’ rights. The issue is a constitutional order which delegates certain powers to the federal government, and doesn’t delegate others. The fundamental constitutional argument is and always has been about which powers shall be delegated, and which shall be retained at the state level. So-called conservatives who in the name of states’ rights oppose the federal marriage amendment have made a tragically wrong-headed decision. They fail to understand the fundamental values and institutions that need to be protected for the entire country, if we are to continue to be a country. Let’s also remember that the paleoconservatives, who oppose the marriage amendment, by and large do not like the United States. They have no positive vision or agenda. They are driven by dislike and bitterness toward the United States. In my view, when many of these paleoconservatives oppose the federal marriage amendment, their real reason is not that they want to uphold states’ rights; their real reason is that, in their heart of hearts, they want to see America go down.]

In fact, how refreshing it would be if we had a president—and a government—who earnestly believed what Scott C. believes. Maybe then you wouldn’t have seen the cowardly Republican senators of New York State submitting to what they cynically (and one must admit, not insanely) perceive as the inevitability of nationwide gay “marriage,” pushed through by a government that shows no regard for what local, organic communities really desire. On the other hand, it also seems entirely plausible that Perry was just saying this because it sounds good, and he wanted to dodge a thorny question with what amounts to a non-answer. If this is what you object to, I am with you 100 percent. But again, I assert, truly sticking to the principles that Scott asserts would not be a bad thing, but a profoundly healthy thing. The problem is, it may be too late for that.

LA writes:

Here is a collection of my main articles on the subject of homosexual marriage.

Tim W. writes:

Thank you for your continuing fight on this issue. I’ve been arguing for years with the libertarian Tenth Amendment advocates. They just don’t get it. It’s clear as the nose on their face what the liberal battle plan is on same-sex “marriage.” It’s to get these “marriages” legalized in a few states, preferably including one big one like New York. Then use the courts to force the remaining forty-plus states to comply. They split the conservative opposition by telling the libertarian types that this is a states’ rights issue, even as they plan to engineer a judicial fiat to override the rights of every state in the union, not to mention the rights of the voters.

The libertarians fall for this every time. Their knee-jerk opposition to “government” fails to take into account that sometimes a bit of constitutional government is necessary to stop a lot of unconstitutional bigger government. They act as if the past sixty years of judicial activism and “landmark rulings” don’t exist. Have they not heard that Brown elevated the Fourteenth Amendment above the Tenth Amendment? Or of Loving, which declared state laws banning interracial marriage unconstitutional? Or Lawrence, which held homosexual acts to be a constitutional right? Or Romer, which declared homosexuals to be a protected class? In all of those decisions, the Supreme Court tossed the Tenth Amendment in the trash and voided states’ rights with extreme prejudice.

Given the rulings I’ve cited, what are the chances of state laws limiting marriage to one man and one woman remaining on the books for another decade? Not much chance without a Federal Marriage Amendment. Imagine what the Supreme Court might do in any of the following scenarios:

A “married” homosexual in New York wants to pursue an advanced degree at the University of Texas. But, alas, to move to Texas with his “husband” would mean his “marriage” wouldn’t be valid anymore. He files a lawsuit, citing the Fourteenth Amendment, Loving, Lawrence, and Romer.

Two servicemen “marry” in Connecticut. They’re later transferred to a base in Georgia, voiding their “marriage.” See what a can of worms Congress opened (on purpose) when they repealed DADT?

A “married” lesbian who works for a company in Boston has a chance for a promotion by being made a general manager at the company’s Ohio office. But to take the job would mean her “wife” would no longer be her “wife” in their new state.

As these cases pile up, does anyone seriously believe that the courts will steadfastly protect the laws of forty-plus states which limit marriage to a man and a woman? Given the precedents cited above, given the large number of liberal activist judges, given the propensity of supposedly conservative judges to “grow” in office, given the fact that all the behind the scenes pressure on the courts is in favor of a national Brown or Roe ruling enshrining same-sex “marriage,” how can anyone believe that states’ rights will prevail on this?

We’ll either have a legitimately ratified amendment limiting marriage to one man and one woman, which will protect forty-four states and roll things back to where they were for most of American history in the other six; or we’ll have an unconstitutional judicial fiat overriding the laws of all the states and imposing a radical redefinition of marriage on everyone, followed by the usual series of “mop up” rulings mandating adoption rights for “gay couples,” housing rights, government benefits, and so on.

Sadly, I’ve actually debated libertarians who said the latter was preferable to “cluttering up” the Constitution with a Federal Marriage Amendment.

Jonathan W. writes:

I’d like to add to Tim W.’s point. I’ve had this exact same debate with conservatives on the gun rights concealed-carry issue. Every year a bill is proposed in Congress to establish national reciprocity; that is, requiring every state to honor every other state’s valid concealed carry permits. The last time this came close to passing was in 2009. And every year, conservatives speak out against the bill, saying that they don’t want to establish the precedent that the federal government can get involved in the gun issue, for fear that liberals will then use that precedent to ban guns entirely throughout the United States. I always respond that the liberals ALREADY try to push gun control measures through on a national basis. Nothing we can do to promote our position will make any difference as to whether the left attempts to promote its unconstitutional agenda. It’s a classic example of conservatives allowing abstract principles to obscure the realities of the world.

It’s the same thing here. If any individual state’s leftist experimentation ended at that state’s borders, it wouldn’t be as much of a problem. But we all know that it doesn’t work that way, and hasn’t for many years.

Paul Nachman writes:

Subject: Three comments on the Perry/New York entry.

You wrote to Scott C:

“You act as though Texas were a sovereign nation, inhabiting a completely independent world of its own, having nothing to do with the rest of the country. I’m sorry to inform you that it is not. It is a state of the United States of America.”

I have no problem with the substance of the blog entry—it’s clarifying—but those two sentences I’ve turned red in that paragraph really grate. And because they’re superfluous, I urge you to omit such things.

They’re similar in character to the very grating—and quite frequent (though not by you)—“last time I looked.” Also “with all due respect” (which, in use, really means little to zero respect is due).


What about this sentence from Tim W:

Or of Loving, which declared state laws banning interracial marriage unconstitutional?

Is interracial marriage something that should be left up to the states? I think it shades more towards the national interest in fundamental freedoms, like forbidding slavery.


I’m glad to see that you continue to strictly avoid using the word “gay” for “homosexual” and that you continue to put “marriage” in quotes when in that context. Not even inches should be conceded on those.

LA replies:

Must I be perfect? Must I never grate?

Yes, I know that the Sermon on the Mount tells us to be perfect, but is that a standard that applies to blogging?

LA continues:

I’ve thought about it and I don’t know how I could change it. It’s there for a reason. Texans do tend to have this notion that they are completely different from the rest of the country. They remember their status as an independent nation before they joined the U.S., and they seem to feel that that is still the case. Scott was so overdoing the notion that Texas has nothing to do with the rest of the country that I needed to puncture it the way I did.

Also, though perhaps you already know this, I don’t use “With all due respect.” I have specifically said that I edit out that expression, because it conveys the opposite of the respect it supposedly conveys.

I don’t find “The last time I looked” to be grating.

You’re making an arguable-sounding point on Loving, i.e., that the Virginia law prohibiting inter-racial marriage should have been overthrown, even under the original, non-distorted 14th Amendment, the purpose was to protect the freemen’s fundamental human rights. I’d have to read the decision again, to see if it appeals to the original intent and understanding of the 14th, or if it is based on the Incorporation Doctrine and substantive due process. I’ll bet that it’s the latter.

Finally, I’m sorry to inform you that you yourself have gone astray. You have used a split infinitive:

I’m glad to see that you continue to strictly avoid using the word “gay” for “homosexual” …

I would have said this:

I’m glad to see that you continue strictly to avoid using the word “gay” for “homosexual” …

LA adds:

A further exchange between Paul Nachman and me on the split infinitive issue that I raised has been posted in another entry.

Tim W. writes:

Paul Nachman wrote:

Is interracial marriage something that should be left up to the states? I think it shades more towards the national interest in fundamental freedoms, like forbidding slavery.

I wasn’t intending by my original comments to offer an opinion on interracial marriage itself, or necessarily on the rightness or wrongness of Loving. My point was that the libertarian argument on same-sex “marriage” as a state’s rights issue is already null and void. Their assertion is that marriage is properly a state issue and is none of the federal government’s business. Nor is it the business of anyone in Texas if the New York legislature votes to recognize same-sex “marriage.” They further assert that a federal constitutional amendment to limit marriage nationwide to one man and one woman would be an unprecedented intrusion by the federal government into an area always left to the states.

Obviously, the Loving decision, which held that the Fourteenth Amendment voids state laws prohibiting interracial marriage, was an intrusion of the federal government into the marriage issue. That’s true whether one agrees with the ruling either legally or morally. So the federal fox is already in the state henhouse. Combine that fact with the reasoning used in the Lawrence and Romer rulings, which respectively declared homosexual acts to be a constitutional right and elevated homosexuals to a protected class, and what do you get? You get an excellent chance that Justice Kennedy will join the four leftists and issue a sweeping “landmark” Supreme Court ruling voiding all those state amendments the voters have passed in the last few years limiting marriage in their state to one man and one woman.

Throw in the fact that the U.S. military will now be home to open homosexuals, some of whom will surely be “married,” and then add in that the Obama administration wants to give assorted federal benefits to same-sex “couples,” and that the Democrats as a whole want to get rid of DOMA.

Anyway, you can see the homosexual agenda freight train bearing down on the cultural conservatives, who may have won every referendum on this issue, but like a damsel in distress are tied to the railroad tracks. The libertarians simply don’t see this obvious fact. Or at least they pretend they don’t.

LA writes:

A reader sends Perry’s “I Don’t Support Gay Marriage” statement quoted at The Corner:

Perry: I Don’t Support Gay Marriage
July 28, 2011 1:32 P.M.
By Katrina Trinko

Rick Perry clarified his remarks calling New York’s legalization of gay marriage “fine” in an interview today.

“I probably needed to add a few words after that ‘it’s fine with me,’” Perry told Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, “and that it’s fine with me that a state is using their sovereign rights to decide an issue. Obviously gay marriage is not fine with me. My stance hasn’t changed.”

“My comment reflects my recognition that marriage and most issues of the family have historically been decided by the people at the state and local level,” Perry added.

Pointing to his promotion of Texas’s Defense of Marriage Act, Perry said he had governed as a traditional marriage advocate.

He also noted that he has “long supported” the Federal Marriage Amendment.

“That amendment … defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and it protects the states from being told otherwise. And it respects the right of the people in the state by requiring that three-quarters of the states vote to ratify. It’s really strong medicine,” Perry said.

As Lydia McGrew pointed our earlier, this is totally incoherent and reveals Perry either as woefully dishonest or as uncomprehending of the meaning of his own words.

First, I simply don’t believe that when he originally said, “It’s fine with me,” he only meant the statement in the abstract and general sense—that “that it’s fine with me that a state is using their sovereign rights to decide an issue … ”

Second, even if that was his meaning, it’s still contradicts his statement that he supports the federal marriage amendment. The amendment would take away states’ power to choose to institutionalize homosexual “marriage.” So how can he say that applauds a state using its sovereign power to decide an issue, when he claims to want to take away that state’s power to decide the issue at hand?

Finally, let’s assume that it’s true that Perry has supported the federal marriage amendment, which, let us repeat, would take away from states the power to have homosexual “marriage.” If he were sincere in that position, would the thought even have occurred to him of saying that “it’s fine” with him that New York has passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage? The very fact that he made that remark shows that his pro-amendment position is not sincere and serious. As with his immediate predecessor as governor of Texas (and, Perry hopes, his predecessor as president), George W. Bush, Perry has a formal position in favor of the amendment, but his actual behavior shows that he doesn’t mean it. Bush showed that he didn’t mean it by (a) the coldly pro forma tone and laconic manner he adopted whenever he stated his support for the amendment, and, (b), even more tellingly, by allowing his vice president publicly (and repeatedly) to take the opposite stand on the same issue—amazing, unprecedented behavior by a vice president, which was barely remarked on by the “conservatives,” so under the thumb of Bush were they.

July 29

Daniel H. from Seattle writes:

Thanks for your considered response to my recent comment on Rick Perry and gay “marriage.” Reading your response, I think perhaps I’m out of my element and need to think and read about this issue some more. (Mind you, I don’t mean read and think more about gay “marriage,” but rather read and think more about the legal issues confronting those of us who oppose this change to our society.) Thanks for the links to your previous treatments of this issue. I try to read back through VFR—indeed I enjoy doing so—but it’s a vast archive and of course there is plenty that I have missed.

I’ll read more and send you a more considered response later, if my scattered thoughts end up meriting the words, but for now, I have this rebuttal:

I think the North was wrong to invade the South in the Civil War. So you can see why I think Texas has no right to enforce anything on New York. [LA replies: No one was saying that Texas has the right or duty to enforce anything against New York. The issue is whether Perry as an American and as a quasi presidential candidate and self-described conservative who claims to oppose homosexual “marriage” can and should express his opinion about the law in New York.] I am against slavery and I am against gay “marriage.” But I am also against Pakistani honor killings and against China’s one-child policy. It’s a matter of where one draws the line in terms of sovereignty. I don’t think my analogy to the war in Iraq is “too far afield” at all. Either Texas has the right to dictate the local laws of New York, or it doesn’t. [LA replies: Again, the issue is not about dictating the laws of New York from another state. That is a complete misrepresentation of the issue that is being discussed here.] The way things work out in the ugly, real world must influence how we implement our ideals, but it does not in and of itself invalidate the principle. We are not utilitarians, are we? One can rationally disagree, as you eloquently do, but my analogy is not off-the-cuff or facile. We simply, apparently, have different ideas about where the line of sovereignty is to be drawn.

If it’s too late for Texas to win the fight fairly, then perhaps it’s time to fight dirty. The issue is that important, and I do not dispute any disputations to the contrary. If you want to call it a deal-breaker, a society-wrecker, I’m inclined to agree. I come from Seattle, in the Soviet of Washington, where the Prius and the lesbian are king (pun intended), so perhaps I’m a bit too easily taken by the breezy, cowboy bluster of folks like Rick Perry and Scott C. But please, it’s not mere misunderstanding that makes people view this as a states’ rights issue. It’s a philosophical position, staked out with consideration and with full knowledge of the imperfections and dangers of such a position. You think we can best maintain what’s good in our culture through a constitutional amendment; I think we can best maintain what’s good in our culture by decentralizing at every possible opportunity, even at the cost of short-term losses like in your home state of New York. Both of us would welcome the end result of preserving real marriage even if it meant using the tactics of the person we think is mistaken. We’re very close allies on this issue, but we don’t see exactly eye to eye. If the gay rights people are bright pink, you and I are two neighboring shades of deep, forest green.

LA replies:

You wrote:

“I think we can best maintain what’s good in our culture by decentralizing at every possible opportunity, even at the cost of short-term losses like in your home state of New York.”

I must speak very frankly. Given the political realities of contemporary America, and of the homosexual marriage issue in particular, I think that that this position is wildly irresponsible, indeed, almost insane. The entire country over the last eighty years has become federalized in all kinds of deeply unconstitutional and socially negative ways, and conservatives like you have zero program to turn any of that back. But when it comes to a vitally important issue that SHOULD be federalized,—and we propose federalizing it through constitutional means, through a constitutional amendment, not through any violation of federalism—you and your fellow libertarian conservatives suddenly turn all purist and insist that this is a matter that does not belong in the Constitution.

The upshot is that you accept the wrongful and unconstitutional and socially damaging federalization of much of the country, while you oppose the constitutionally correct federalization of an issue on which our very character as a society depends. To me, this is insane, an expression of ideological purism run amok, and it will have the most terrible consequences.

Also, ironically, on one hand you claim that this issue is so important to you that we ought to fight dirty to win, while on the other hand you’re such a purist that you oppose an entirely legal, non-dirty, constitutional amendment which is the only way to stop the advance of homosexual marriage. Again, this makes no sense at all, and should draw you up short.

So please answer this question: Do you believe that marriage as one man and one woman is fundamental to our social, cultural, and moral order, or not? Do you believe that it is fundamental to the type of civilization and people we are, or not?

If your answer is yes, then you must support the federal marriage amendment, because the meaning and function of the U.S. Constitution is to embody those laws and values that are fundamental to the United States as a whole, and because the amendment is the ONLY way to stop homosexual marriage.

If your answer is no, then, notwithstanding your claim to the contrary, you are not my ally in this.

Ed H. writes:

A single dialogue at VFR does more to clarify the issues at stake than all the editorials and columnists over at MSM. VFR has gathered a quite an impressive group of contributors who keep things charging forward.

LA’s tendency to “grate” is vital to the enterprise and is probably irrepressible, so let’s all learn to celebrate it.

LA replies:

Well, I don’t know if it should be celebrated, but perhaps it could be tolerated.

Clark Coleman writes:

Daniel H. from Seattle wrote:

I am against slavery and I am against gay “marriage.” But I am also against Pakistani honor killings and against China’s one-child policy. It’s a matter of where one draws the line in terms of sovereignty.

What if Rick Perry had been asked about China’s one-child policy and had replied, “That’s fine with me. If you agree with national sovereignty, you will stop criticizing China about that.” What if he had been asked about honor killings in Pakistan and had replied, “That’s fine with me.” Etc.

What would have been the reaction from those who defend him now? Does it violate national sovereignty to comment on such things?

LA replies:

Mr. Coleman has pinpointed the madness and falsity of the states’ rights ideology—when it becomes nothing but a knee-jerk ideology, and not a rational part of the whole.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 28, 2011 09:40 AM | Send

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