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The Bizarre Case Of Marriage Equality Foes Still Fighting A Lost Cause One Year Later

by matt baume June 26, 2016


We’ve had marriage equality across the United States for a year now this Sunday, and it really ought to be a done deal. Right? There is no going back, unless the Supreme Court suddenly gets taken over by ISIS.

And yet there are still antigay activists who think they can roll back the tide of progress and undo marriage. Right!

Who are these people and why do they persist in the face of reality? Well, like the best canister of mixed nuts, they’re a fairly varied lot with multiple motives. Some come from religious organizations that need to justify their ongoing existence to donors. (Hi, NOM!) Others are misguided activists who clearly haven’t put much thought into their stance. And some are politicians who still think that homophobia is a great way to endear themselves to voters. Then there’s the Pope. Oh, the Pope.

So as you celebrate the one-year anniversary of marriage equality and Pride this week, here are a few who fit the definition of insanity:

1. Judge Roy Moore


ambrosia starling roy moore

Oh Lord, this guy. He’s already been kicked out of office once for violating the establishment clause of the US Constitution. Back then, he was the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, and he insisted on government favoritism for the Ten Commandments. Because, you know, the Ten Commandments take precedent over the Constitution. You can’t do that, of course, and he was out of the job. But Alabama has a crazy system where you vote for justices, and soon he was back in office, telling clerks to discriminate against queer couples. He’s been suspended yet again, and may be out of a job once more very soon. That’s because in Alabama, there are no real judges — just politicians in robes who’ll say anything to get elected.

2. Justice Tom Parker


Who? You might not have heard of this basket case, but he’s one of Roy Moore’s colleagues. He didn’t go as far as Moore, and call for outright lawlessness. But he did say that if clerks refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, it “could start a revival of what we need in this country to return to our founding principles.” He didn’t say which founding principles those were, but it’s probably worth pointing out that slavery was among the principles on which this country was founded. So maybe let’s not go back to everything that the founders did.

3. Mormons


You thought they were adopting a low profile since Prop 8? Well, think again. Despite having been defeated in America, the Church of Latter-Day Saints is still taking an active role in Mexico. They’re mobilizing their members — all 1.4 million of them — to oppose the legalization of marriage equality in Mexico just like they did in California. And so far, they’ve been pretty successful. In recent elections, politicians who favored marriage equality fared poorly. Let’s put Mormonism on the ballot, and see how it fares at the polls.

4. Nebraska

Nebraska-Photo by Andrew Eccles

It took an entire year for Nebraska to let same-sex parents appear on their own kids’ birth certificates. Crazy as it may sound, Kristin and Katie Collins-Henderson were told that only one of them could be listed; the other would have to be “friend.” This is crazy — whose “friend” is she? The wife’s? The baby’s? It’s nuts. The state kept stalling on updating its records, and it took an intervention from the ACLU to get officials to begrudgingly accept that both women were their kid’s moms.

5. Andy Pugno

andy pugno

Remember this muffin-faced twerp? Not only was he one of the jerks responsible for defending Prop 8, his anti-gay career goes all the way back to the late 90s, when he colluded with evil California Senator Pete Knight to ban marriage before it could be legalized. Pete Knight was one of the worst of the worst, rejecting his own family members when he found out they were gay, and Andy is still running for various offices on the pledge that “I’ll fight for religious freedoms so that business owners can determine what type of services they wish to offer, and to whom.” That’s not even trying to hide bigotry — it’s as if he’s copied verbatim from segregationist literature.

6. Malcom Turnbull


The cowardly Prime Minister of Australia says that he supports marriage equality — but he’s too scared to advance legislation to make it happen. Instead, he supports a nationwide vote on the matter. Never mind that the vote would be nonbinding, so it’s basically just a meaningless survey. And never mind that public support for marriage in Australia has reached the 70s. Nope, Malcom is hiding behind process rather than standing on the right side of history. With elections coming up in just a few days, he’ll hopefully be a distant memory soon enough.

7. The National Organization for Marriage


How does this punchline even exist anymore? Somehow, they’ve got enough money left to hold one last march on Washington, but don’t expect much — it’ll be just a few blocks long, and attendance will surely be its lowest in the few years NOM’s been holding these dumb rallies. By this time in 2017, we’ll be shocked if the group still exists. They’ve already started pivoting to complain about inclusive bathrooms and anti-bullying policies, but those things have nothing to do with marriage so their name kind of locks them into an automatic irrelevance. So long, Brian Brown! In a few years, your numerous kids will be old enough to come out of the closet, and hopefully they’ll be welcomed with open arms rather than spend another minute in the toxic environment you’ve created.

8. Canadian Conservatives


Canada’s had marriage equality for over a decade and it was only just a few weeks ago that the conservatives removed their opposition from the official party platform. Thanks guys, but too little, too late. It’s a harsh lesson for America, where conservatives will probably drag their heels on progress even longer. What did they those Canadian conservatives think they were going to be able to accomplish for all those years? All they managed to do was make LGBTs miserable.

9. The Pope

Pope Francis waves as he leads his weekly audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican August 27, 2014. REUTERS/Max Rossi (VATICAN - Tags: RELIGION) - RTR43XCT

Remember when we thought the Pope was cool, because he talked to poor people, kissed the feet of prisoners, and was not as scary-looking as the last guy? Turns out, he’s a conniving High Sparrow just like all his predecessors. In a recent statement, the Pope essentially said that divorce isn’t so bad, but gay marriage is definitely not allowed. “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and the family,” he intoned. Can you believe people try to claim that religion makes a person more moral?

10. Antonin Scalia


At least we don’t have to worry anymore about this particular roadblock to progress — it’s dead and buried. Remember the time he compared gay marriage to “flagpole sitting”? Or when he said, in a statement of pure propaganda, that “many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their homes,” and that all of that bigotry is perfectly reasonable? There was no way this guy’s mind was ever going to change, which is what makes it so insane that his job was to listen to evidence and formulate a judgement on the basis of legal reasoning. Sadly, a bevy of conservative legal scholars continue to subscribe to Scalia’s particular brand of  ideological boloney.


matt baume
matt baume


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