Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Man bites dog

Now, I admit it -- I don't have a whole lotta respect for most conservatives. They talk a good game about "small government" and keepin' the government out of the lives of the American people and shit like that, but you give'em the reins of power and what you find is that they just love, love, LOVES them some big government. They go on a spending binge for every sort of faith-based initiative, weapons system, and prison building spree that they can put together, they send their goons out into the field to throw sick people who ain't hurtin' nobody into jail for smoking medical marijuana and pass laws telling people who they can marry or not marry (so much for that "keep the government out of the lives of the American people" bullshit), and otherwise carry on like a buncha big government thugs and goons. So much for the notion of "keep the government out of the lives of the American people." What they really mean is, have the government enforce their own hatreds and bigotries and expand how much government interferes with the lives of the American people -- but only *those* American people. You know, "those* people. Different color, maybe different religious beliefs, could be gay, feminist, whatever? You know, those *weird* people, not good upstanding white Christian Republicans!

So anyhow, when a conservative actually stands up and actually lives those values that other conservatives only blather about, when he defends the right of people to be free of government interference in their personal lives when it's people that most conservatives hate (i.e., people that most conservatives want government to persecute), well. This penguin has to sit up and look around in startled expectation of other improbable events. What next, cats being friends with mice? Rains of frogs and dogs? Dick Cheney converting to Islam, donating his entire worldly wealth to Palestinian causes, and condemning the War on Terror? That's my reaction when Ted Olson joins a federal lawsuit to overturn California's Proposition 8 as illegal under the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment.

WTF? A conservative -- not just any conservative, but George W. Bush's very own Solicitor General, a founding member of the right-wing Federalist Society -- arguing that government has no right to interfere with the marriage of loving gay couples? Arguing that big government is wrong, and that government should just butt out of people's marriages? Wow, talk about different! Doesn't he know that conservatives are supposed to be hypocrites?!

Anyhow, a number of gay rights groups whine that this is not the time for this lawsuit, that it could be Plessy v. Ferguson for gays rather than Brown v. Board of Education. But I'm not sure of that. The court that decided Brown v. Board of Education did so because government-enforced racial segregation had become morally offensive to a large set of Americans and was clearly unlawful. Government-enforced inequality for gays has similarly become morally offensive to a large set of Americans -- thus why gay marriage has been legalized in several states now -- and is also clearly unlawful under the U.S. Constitution. I think it has a chance. Not a tremendous chance, but really, if it fails, what's the harm? It's not as if gays could have less marriage rights in California than they already have, after all.

And besides, the gay rights groups like the Human Rights Campaign have a really suck-ass record of failure. They spend jillions of dollars of money to lose to a buncha goddamned MORMONS, for cryin' out loud, folks whose special underwear is so tight that even the fundies get nervous dealin' with them. So HRC says that this lawsuit is a bad idea? Well, who am I supposed to believe -- the lawyer who won Bush v. Gore, or the morons who have a perfect record of failure? Huh!

So anyhow, we'll find out soon enough whether this is gay people's Plessy v. Ferguson or their Brown v. Board of Education. But regardless of which one it is, the very sight of a conservative living up to the principles that he espouses makes this a historic day for me.

-- Badtux the Astounded Penguin


  1. One quibble: The strategy to overturn Plessy was not to argue that segregation was immoral, but to argue that "separate but equal" was not working in practice. There had been several cases before Brown which were filed to remedy specific situations until the Supreme Court got tired of the cases and issued a blanket rule because the segregationists refused to take the hint.

    The same principle, by the way, was behind the ruling in Miranda.

  2. BT, thanks for the update, but . . .

    I believe the secret to Ted's new cause is that his wife is gay.

    And not dead.

    Yes, they are all coming baaaacckk!!

    Love ya,



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