Several commentators have noted the GOP’s muted response to Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision overturning Proposition 8 and argued that Republicans must be more interested in attracting independent voters with messages about the economy and job creation than re-energizing the base with social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. But today, a small group of conservative lawmakers signaled that they’re not done fighting the so-called culture wars.
At a press conference this afternoons, Reps. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Steve King (R-IA), Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) and John Fleming (R-LA) introduced a sense of the House resolution accusing Walker of failing “to conduct himself in an impartial manner before striking down California’s popularly enacted Proposition 8.” “Chief United States District Judge Vaughn R. Walker’s decision to strike down California’s popularly enacted Proposition 8 is wrong and should be appealed,” the resolution states.
Some highlights from the news conference:
REP. STEVE KING (R-IA): “We are able to challenge the decisions of these judges and we must. If this nation does not rise up then we’ve capitulated to the judges and it’s they tyranny of the courts. Our founding fathers did not envision that there would be such awe of people with black robes that we would suspend our reason….I would be very happy to take whatever steps, however bold, to reverse it .”
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN): “If Walker says that Proposition 8 in California does not survive the rational basis test, then we need to ask ourselves this question, is he implying then that the majority of California voters who voted for this measure themselves aren’t rational when they took this vote on Proposition 8?“
Of course, the Supreme Court is a equal branch of government and is constitutionally required to review laws. And as Ted Olson — one of the lawyers who fought against Prop 8 — explained to Chris Wallace on Sunday, since the Court has previously ruled that marriage is a “fundamental right,” voters can’t deprive minority groups of their constitutionally guaranteed protections. [H/T: Good As You]
On Monday, Florida Baptist News published an interview with Florida Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum from August 3rd, in which the candidate said he would expand Florida’s discriminatory adoption laws to prohibit gay people from serving as foster parents. “I think that it would be advisable ,” McCollum said. “I really do not think that we should have homosexuals guiding our children,” he said. “You need a mother and a father. You need a man and a woman. That’s what God intended.”
McCollum reiterated his stance during a fundraiser with Jeb Bush on Monday, but emphasized the his views were “personal.” “I think the best thing for children is to have a man and a woman, a mother and a father, not gay parents. I don’t think that is the right kind of parenting. Those are my personal views, those are my religious views, those are my convictions.
Today, McCollum tried to distance himself further from the suggestion that the law should be changed to ban gay foster parents. Tampa Bay Online is reporting that “Asked today why he told the Florida Baptist Witness that ‘it would be advisable’ to change the foster parenting law, McCollum said“:
“I’m telling you that it’s not consistent,” he responded. “That’s what I’m telling you; that’s what I told to the group that you — in the interview that I gave. It’s not consistent; and we’ll have to wait and see what the state Supreme Court decides.”
“So they got it wrong?” another reporter asked, referring to the Florida Baptist Witness.
“I didn’t say they got it wrong. … I may well have said it,” McCollum said. “I have no recollection of my specific words. I’m not trying to parse with you; I just don’t. But I’m telling you what I believe today, and that is, that the laws are inconsistent, and that there needs to be a review.”
Florida’s law prohibiting gay people from adopting children is currently under review by a state appeals court. The McCollum campaign did not return my calls for comment.
Specifically, I have created a heterosexual dating history to recite to fellow cadets when they inquire. I have endured sexual harassment for fear of being accused as a lesbian by rejecting or reporting these events. I have been coerced into ignoring derogatory comments towards homosexuals for fear of being alienated for my viewpoint. In short, I have lied to my classmates and compromised my integrity and my identity by adhering to existing military policy.
While at the academy, I have made a deliberate effort to develop myself academically, physically, and militarily, but in terms of holistic personal growth I have reached a plateau. I am unwilling to suppress an entire portion of my identity any longer because it has taken a significant personal, mental, and social toll on me and detrimentally affected my professional development. I have experienced a relentless cognitive dissonance by attempting to adhere to §654 and retain my integrity, and I am retrospectively convinced that I am unable to live up to the Army Values as long as the policy remains in place.
CADET: Don’t be so mean to me! I’ll… I’ll… I’ll… I don’t know. Let your secret out to the company?
MILLER: That I’m a whore or that I’m a lesbian? Because female cadets only fall into one category or the other here. No exceptions, apparently. [...]
CADET: Well, since you said you were one of the two choices… and since almost every guy in the company has tried to hook up with you… and since rumors fly… and since I haven’t heard any wild hook up rumors about you… I think it can logically be deduced… Don’t worry; your secret is safe with me. [...]
MILLER: I’ll admit then, you have a well calibrated gaydar, my friend.
CADET: You still have a lot of people wondering. I don’t know if they’re wondering or just wishing it wasn’t so, but you’re still a hot topic for debate.
MILLER: Really? Who is wondering about me? Not that it matters, but I’m curious.
CADET: The normal people. I’m sure you can guess. Most of it is just a defense mechanism reaction to wanting a cadet girl, though. They know they’ll never have a chance with you, so they try to tell themselves that it’s because you must be a lesbian.
As she concluded, “The ‘normal people’ to whom my friend was referring was a classmate that lived down the hall from my barracks room. He would… attempt to impress me with his testosterone-driven activities. Predictably, I was less than receptive.” “But according to him, my sexuality must have been the only reason I didn’t fall head over heels. And the fact that his busted ego could have gotten me thrown out of the military (a term known as ‘lesbian baiting’) is a tad unfair. Thank you, DADT, for once again being a social policy failure.”
Five minutes later I rushed haphazardly into my professor’s office. I was sweating in my shiny, plastic Chorofram shoes, and after feeling my pulse my throat I became aware of how tight my collar was around my neck. “Ma’am, do you have a second,” as I closed her office door behind me, consciously worsening the stuffiness in the room and in my heavy wool uniform. Without waiting for a response, I seated myself. “Ma’am I’m transferring next semester. And I need a leader of recommendation in three days. For a scholarship for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students.”
“So does that mean you’re-?”
“And you’re leaving because of Don’t Ask, Don’t-”
She studied me for a second, asked a series of questions for clarification, and agreed to write me a letter of recommendation.
As soon as I was out of her sight, I did a little Jersey Shore fist pump in the air.
Miller plans to reapply to West Point “in the event of repeal of §654 and enactment of a non-discrimination policy” and will “participate in formation and implementation of the repeal of§654 via means of academia and political activism.” “I only hope that the forced discharge of a capable West Point cadet will raise awareness to the injustice imposed upon military personal throughout their time of service,” she wrote back in March.