Joseph Backholm
Futility: Joseph Backholm schlepping petitions
in a losing effort to ban gay marriage

Joseph Backholm is head of the Family Policy Institute of Washington. Today, he has a post on one of Focus on the Family’s blogs titled “Washington State: Marriage Chaos.” The immediate problem is that not one word of his lengthy diatribe has anything to do with Washington. Apparently there are no consequences to marriage equality in his state (as we have asserted for years) or he surely would cite them. We start our adventure with United States v. Windsor:

While the court said it was not interfering with the thirty-two state
constitutional amendments defining marriage as a relationship between a
man and a woman, it was clear that within the bizarre decision was all
the ammunition an activist judge would need in order to unilaterally
overturn them.

The Court said nothing of the sort. Indeed Justice Kennedy was careful to point out that states “must respect the constitution rights of citizens.” He then pointed to Loving v. Virginia. Whether or not Justice Kennedy believes that marriage equality is comparable to Loving remains an open question. Later on (after bemoaning Oregon):

You may remember that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who refused to
defend DOMA despite having the legal obligation to do so, told the
state’s Attorneys General that they don’t have to defend laws if they
don’t like them.

Backholm is an attorney. He should know better. AG’s have complete discretion over which cases they will, or will not, intervene in. Indeed, if they believe that a law is unconstitutional a case could be made that they have an obligation not to defend it. It has nothing to do with what they like or dislike. More sobs follow:

As a result, the law in Oregon now requires a bakery to bake a cake
for a same-sex wedding despite their conscientious objections but
apparently doesn’t require the Attorney General to defend a
Constitutional Amendment passed by the people in court because of her
conscientious objections.

Irrespective of marriage (both before and after same-sex marriage was recognized) the elected representatives of the people determined that sexual orientation was a protected class under the state’s anti-discrimination laws. It’s really too fucking bad if a baker is deluded into thinking that baking a cake is some sort of religious sacrament or that he is condoning something that he “doesn’t like.” This is the very reason that anti-discrimination laws exist in the first place.  It’s on to California:

California law requires a three judge appellate panel to overturn a
provision of the state Constitution before it can be set aside. This has
never happened. The language defining marriage as a relationship
between a man and a woman is still in the California Constitution today. Yet, the state of California is issuing same-sex “marriage” licenses because the Governor and the Attorney General want to.

This matter was submitted to trial in federal district court. Marriage discrimination advocates lost. That judgment still stands regardless of what is in the state constitution. It’s the same situation as in Oregon and Pennsylvania. The matter was tried and the courts have spoken. While it is true that NOM’s allies did not have standing to appeal the matter it had a thorough hearing.

You may think all this is wonderful because you like same-sex
marriage, but just wait until a conservative judge, conservative
plaintiff, and conservative Attorney General conspire to repeal a law
you like by filing a lawsuit that no one defends.

This isn’t about likes or dislikes. It is about the United States Constitution. Moreover, unlike in the marriage cases where opponents cannot make a case for how they are affected, Article III standing to intervene would be had by anyone actually affected by such an action. Finally:

But this is far, far from over.

Our friend Ryan T. Anderson, from the Heritage Foundation, wrote a
good piece today entitled “Where Do We Go From Here?” that offers good
insights into next steps for those of us who will never give up on the
value of natural marriage.

Whatever you do, don’t be afraid. We have all been placed in this
time, at this place, for such a time as this. Let’s figure out what that
is.

Poor Joe. Ryan T. Anderson is dishonestly tilting at windmills as a defender of the faith. 19 states plus DC, nearly half the population, have marriage equality. In which direction is change most likely?

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.