The Republican Party will let their enemies decide the terms and conditions of each battle.
Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, before the House passed the Right To Contraception Act in the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, July 21, 2021. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
The Court today declines to disturb substantive due process jurisprudence generally or the doctrine’s application in other, specific contexts. Cases like Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479 (1965) (right of married persons to obtain contraceptives)*; Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U. S. 558 (2003) (right to engage in private, consensual sexual acts); and Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U. S. 644 (2015) (right to same-sex marriage), are not at issue. The Court’s abortion cases are unique…and no party has asked us to decide “whether our entire Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence must be preserved or revised.”…
For that reason, in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell. Because any substantive due process decision is “demonstrably erroneous,”…we have a duty to “correct the error” established in those precedents.
These few sentences, taken from Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, have kicked the left into a panicked frenzy. A few months back, the rights to murder defenseless children were considered invincible. It was wiped away by a single decision. Many now fear that others imaginary rights may be lost: the right of chemical self-castration, sodomy and the ability to pretend two people can marry. In an attempt to distract attention from the implosion of their agenda, two congressional Democrats brought these rights to a vote this week.
In the first of those votes, 47 House Republicans joined every Democrat to pass the ironically named Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act and enshrine in federal law the gay-marriage protections exnihilated in Obergefell. Most of the 47 turncoats are unsurprising–notorious squishes like Elise Stefanik, Liz Cheney, and Adam Kinzinger. Lee Zeldin (currently running for New York governor) was a disappointing participant as well as Tom Emmer, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee of Minnesota.
Rep. Kat Cammack from Florida illustrates the absurdity in the pro-gay marriage Republicans’ arguments. According to a screenshot posted by Jon Schweppe of the American Principles Project, Cammack snapped in a direct message to a college student who had posted critically of the group, arguing that “true conservatives don’t pick and choose which amendments they want to uphold. You can either be all or none. [The] 14th amendment is clear.” She described opponents of the bill as “horribly racist.” (A mention of interracial marriage was shoehorned into the measure to allow for just this response to critics.) Rep. Cammack concluded the strange message by reminding that conservatives desire as much government as possible. This is precisely what Cammack did when she supported [the bill ].”
Kat Cammack is not the only one who has to take responsibility for this bill. From here, the Respect for Marriage Act moves to the Senate, where ten Republicans will have to join all 50 Democrats to beat a legislative filibuster. CNN is on the story, and has already asked every one of the 50 how he or she plans to vote. Eight people have stated that they won’t vote in a farce about marriage at the time this article was written. Five of them–Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, Rob Portman and Thom Thillis–have admitted they will. Fifteen are apparently undecided, and 22 have not answered the question.
Perhaps the most worrying thing about this whole matter is the lack of communication between the Republican parties. Roger Wicker of Mississippi said he’d only “probably be a no” because he “do[es] not believe the Supreme Court is going to touch this issue.” Bill Cassidy of Louisiana was even more pathetic, dismissing the Respect for Marriage Act as “a silly messaging bill” when same-sex marriage is already “obviously settled law right now.” This is apparently the right flank of the party on the issue, at least among those who actually hold power: those who admit that evil can be made good, so long as it is done at the state level rather than the federal.
Perhaps even more disturbing is the fact that these jelly-spined and soft-bellied limp-wristed GOP elite sycophants do all this on their own. They want to cower and grovel before their betters on the left. They will happily let their adversaries set the terms and the rules of any argument, regardless of how biased they might be towards conservative interests. They might actually prefer this approach. It allows them to get away from actual politics. Many of them would rather end their career without having ever fought any meaningful moral battle. The Republican Party is a docile and nominal opposition that can be found only in dictatorial states, without the need for any coercion.
The second vote was a bit better, with only eight Republicans joining the Democrats to support legislation to establish a national right to contraception. Rep. Cammack was on the other side this time, calling the bill “the Right to Deception Act” and its supporters “a real piece of work.” Matt Gaetz, a Florida firebrand, voted for the measure as well. However, his reasons were not clear. Insisting that he supports contraception, the congressman explained on Twitter that, “Contraception likely needs protection FROM congress more than it needs protection BY congress. The federal government is the entity that you do not want to be involved in your contraception decisions. “
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South Carolina’s Nancy Mace led the charge from the opposing side. The twice-divorced mother of two showed up to work on the day of the vote in a jacket sloppily taped with the message: “My State is Banning EXCEPTIONS / Protect CONTRACEPTION.” Like the left’s foot soldiers, Ms. Mace often says more than she intends to. Her fashion statement implicitly assumes that contraception and abortion go hand-in-hand. And they do, both in the legal sense that Roe could never have happened without Griswold, and in the moral sense that cutting off life by chemical means fosters the cultural context in which cutting it off by violent means becomes conceivable, then common, then enforced.
I suspect that this was obvious to some Republicans who voted against Right to Contraception Act. They are so close to one another in public consciousness, even House members can see, but not actually trace the lines, how the two cannot be separated. Contraception, however, does carry a significant moral weight. The bill even conjures the two with its provision for abortion-inducing drugs. )
But gay marriage is more obscurely a part of the equation. This is a revolutionary ideology which has decimated the American family as well as the morality of the country over three generations. We can only hope that the election will bring leaders with better answers to this existential threat that their sincere assurances that they aren’t trying to hurt.