From the Hart: Alabama judge’s losing fight against same-sex marriage

tsj column writers - from the hartBy Ron Hart

 

Same-sex marriage now is legal in 37 states (and about 10 other states have become bi-curious), but apparently not in Alabama. After two federal court decisions gave gays the OK to walk down the aisle, elected Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore did his best imitation of George Wallace’s “Jim Crow standing in the schoolhouse door.” He instructed Alabama judges to stop issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Chief Justice Moore looks like the mayor in the movie “Footloose.” He has one of those awful, “old Southern man, helmet hair” haircuts that makes a clear statement: “No gay guy has ever touched my hair.” It is an image Alabama and the South do not need.

Yet, this is just Alabama flexing its state’s rights muscles, trying to delay the inevitable. Gay marriage in Alabama eventually will be like gay marriage in almost any other state, except that somehow a hounds tooth print hat will be incorporated into the ceremony.

It is the position of Chief Justice Moore that homosexuals can marry — as long as they don’t try to marry each other. Liza Minnelli can’t marry them all. He seems like the type of guy who would continue to try to set up Jim Nabors on dates well after his show, “Gomer Pyle,” ended.

This is a fight that Barack Obama who, when he was only a candidate, agreed with Chief Justice Roy Moore, will pursue. Attorney General Eric Holder’s office has the South on speed dial.

I’m a live and let live Libertarian. Do what you want as long as you don’t try to do it to me. If what you do does not hurt anyone, government has no business in policing it. Conservatives can’t be for minimal government, liberty and freedom except in these areas where we interpret the Bible to mean that you can’t.

Marriage is a religious ceremony; its origins are biblical. I respect folks’ Christian views, but if government can ban gay marriage, why couldn’t it ban your religion? Freedom cuts both ways. Less government is more.

I tried to understand the thinking of those who oppose gay marriage. I talked to my Uncle Mac, who lives in Alabama. He’s not religious man so he didn’t get all Leviticus on me about it. He summed it up, “Ronnie, you let them gay birds get to marrying and it will only end up weakening the institution of marriage for us other Alabamians. That’s a problem for me since my wife and I can hardly stand the sight of each other as it is.” He went on to say he’d like to see state legislatures ban gay marriage in hopes it would lead them to what really needs to be done: banning all marriages.

This same  Uncle Mac once challenged a lesbian construction co-worker to a wrestling match. Mac still brags that it was a tie. When he sees those diaper changing stations in men’s restrooms, he thinks someone made a mistake.

Neither political side seems able to recognize the vast difference between governing and meddling. The GOP seems to think that, but for its vigilance, everyone in America might run off and get all gay married. Democrats do not care what the laws are as long as they are complex, costly, mandatory and they can inflict them on the rest of us.

With all of our festering problems, I do not know why the GOP wants to waste its political currency on making life difficult for consenting adults. Maybe politicians just don’t understand since such a small percentage of their sex is actually consensual.

I am a big proponent of states’ rights so I’m torn on this issue, although it will be fun to watch it play out. Alabama’s next step would be to amend its state constitution to declare heterosexuality as the state’s official sexuality (and maybe while they’re at it to ban broadcasts of the Tony Awards in the state). It also would give lawyers and writers like me easy work for years.

Arizona had its Alabama moment when the state tried to defy federal law by essentially saying restaurants had the right to deny service to gay men. It was their “nice shoes, nice shirt…no service” policy. It ends up hurting a state.

Southern states are coming to terms with the reality that they must allow same-sex marriage. North Carolina, Florida, South Carolina and apparently Texas have issued same-sex marriage licenses of late. Gay marriage also has long been legal in Oklahoma. But, to be fair, once the state had a Broadway musical named after it, the writing was on the wall for Oklahoma.

(Ron Hart is a syndicated op-ed humorist, author and TV/radio commentator. Email Ron@RonaldHart.com or at visit RonaldHart.com)

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