Sunday, February 12, 2006

Speaking of cartoon figures . . .

Michele Bachmann (one “l,” two “n”s) opines in an interview in a column in today’s Star Tribune Opinion Exchange section that she is a uniter for pushing an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution banning gay marriage and civil unions. See, she says, Orthodox Muslim and Jewish communities, the Hmong community, the Catholic church, Somalis (see Muslims above) .Latinos (see Catholic Church above) and mainline Protestants came to a rally to support the man – woman only idea.

Sure, there is the odd individual, Catholic nun or Lutheran pastor (are you listening Dean Johnson?) who is against the amendment idea, but hey, they are clearly out-of-the-mainstream wackos! Not at all like “the faithful who make up the congregations.” It is a regrettable fact that organized religion has often stood in the way of civil rights in the name of doctrinal orthodoxy. You can debate how “religious” that really is, but Spotty’s answer is not very.

Senator Bachmann makes a couple of really disingenuous points. She says that permitting gay civil unions would encourage discrimination lawsuits by polygamists and pedophiles. Shades of man-on-dog Rick Santorum! That argument is beneath contempt. It is pure demagoguery to equate same-sex attraction with pedophilia. It is no more accurate than saying – perhaps less so – that the Catholic priesthood should be abolished because it encourages pedophilia.

The senator also says civil unions are the same as marriage, that you might as well “put an equal sign between them,” and that the public has a right to vote on the definitions of them. She then trots out the old saw about “activist judges” acting as a “super-legislature.” According to Bachmann, she is just protecting the “freedom of the people.” Ooh, somebody had her irony warning buzzer turned off!

One of the reasons we have enshrined the precept of equal protection in the United States is that it is a core belief of ours that unpopular minorities are entitled to their little place in the sun, too. And no crusading preacher or politician should be able to make it otherwise, although Lord knows they have tried.

The tide is already turning in favor of gay rights. It may be a generational thing. It would be too bad if it took that long. But one thing is certain. Michele Bachmann’s place in history is secure. It is in the rogue’s gallery of misogynists, racists, and bigots of all kinds, and the demagogue politicians who incite them.


No comments: