Nothing like creating Law on the basis of the Leviticus purity codes. Wait a minute...didn't those just apply to the priesthood?
A commenter to this blog wondered why Prop 8 supporters didn't bring up the issue of Judge Walker's orientation and have him recused from hearing the case. I personally did not know that Judge Walker was supposed to be gay, until after his decision was handed down. My personal question, as I followed the case, was why Prop 8 supporters put up such a lame defense. It seemed to me most of their energy went into keeping cameras out of the courtroom, and at that they were successful--surprisingly so.
I responded to the commenter and then went to my email where I had a message from the Courage Campaign with the following:
"The American Family Association, part of the coalition of right-wing religious groups that spearheaded Proposition 8 in 2008, is asking its 2.3 million supporters to pressure Congress to impeach Judge Vaughn Walker.
Shockingly, AFA is using Judge Walker's sexual orientation to attack him as a "black-robed tyrant whose own lifestyle choices make it impossible to believe he could be impartial." Like the National Organization for Marriage, the AFA is rallying religious extremists to build a national backlash against Judge Walker's historic ruling striking down Prop 8."
This to me is a very dangerous strategy, one which can be used against right wing Catholic Supreme Court judges like Antonin Scalia. This is especially dangerous in view of the fact Judge Walker made personal morality vs objective fact as the reason he completely rejected the arguments of the Prop 8 defenders. What makes this even more dangerous is that Judge Walker was a Reagan appointee and sailed through his confirmation hearings held by Reagan conservatives. If Walker's impartiality can now be called into question, where does this all stop?
Would NOM make the same argument that celibate male Catholic bishops have an agenda about women's reproductive organs and should recuse themselves from input into the moral theology surrounding women's issues? Would they call Pope Benedict a" 'white' robed tyrant whose own life style choices make it impossible to believe he could be impartial". That argument could logically be extended to all the issues surrounding marriage and sex and be extended to the entire Catholic clergy. But I suspect NOM's logic is strictly a one way street and only applies to authority figures who don't agree with their moral compass.
There are those who believe that the mobilization of the The American Family Association, NOM, the K of C, and other culture warrior groups has far less to do with Judge Walker and far more to do with sending a message to the Republican party. It's about reasserting themselves as the driving force in Republican politics by reminding the party about the volume of their dollars and voting numbers. The Tea Party maybe getting the media attention, but they don't have the same volume on their email lists. I can buy this.
I can also see an even more cynical strategy: Why insist on no cameras and then put up such a lame defense unless you didn't want the cameras recording the lame defense. Why maintain dead silence on Judge Walker's sexuality until you've lost the case? In my cynical scenario, losing was far better for these 'family values' groups long term survivability and cash flow than winning could ever be. As a bonus they could continue to play the ever popular activist judge card. There were plenty of solid political reasons the sexuality of Judge Walker should not come into play until the decision was rendered and Prop 8 overturned.
I really hope conservatives take a long hard look at these 'family values' groups. They are being had. For all their money and blood and sweat and activism, the people who support these cultural values PACS have received nothing of value in return. The only way they can receive value for their energy is for a complete repudiation of core planks of Constitutional law.
This reminds me of the argument between Thomas More and his son-in-law William Roper as written by Robert Bolt in a "Man For All Seasons". Roper is incensed with More for not arresting a student who Roper suspects of sabotaging More at court. Roper is a more than a bit of a crusader. More tells Roper he has no reason to arrest the student and that if the student was the 'devil' himself, he would let him go until he broke the law.
Roper retorts: "So now you'd give the devil the benefit of law?"
And More answers: "Yes and what would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the devil?"
Roper: "I'd cut down every law in England to do that!"
More gets just as emphatic: "Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you--where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast--man's laws, not God's --and if you cut them down--and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds the would blow then?"
"Yes, I'd give the devil the benefit of law, for my own safety's sake."
This is one time conservative Catholics should listen to the words of St Thomas More. They need to reject the games being played in their name by those who purport to lead them--before they turn around, the Constitution having been flattened, and they find themselves unable to stand in winds they created.