Bigots' delusional last stand: Same-sex marriage opponents are definitely not ready to admit defeat

Some people honestly still believe that a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage could ever happen

Published June 22, 2015 3:15PM (EDT)

                                                                                                  (AP Photo/Mathew Sumner)
(AP Photo/Mathew Sumner)

In one of the sadder cattle-calls of the 2016 presidential cycle, evangelical conservatives last week gathered in Washington D.C. for the Road to Majority conference put on by Ralph Reed's Faith & Freedom Coalition. And what they did, by and large, was pretend that they could do anything to stop Big Gay's impending conquest of the nation and subsequent murder of God.

Are they ready to just give up the same-sex marriage fight, if the Supreme Court finds a constitutional right to such unions? Oh God, no. Admitting defeat -- and the Supreme Court finding a constitutional right to precisely what you oppose is very much a defeat! -- would ruin the raison d'être for a whole host of evangelical organizations that siphon money off of the conservative movement, like Ralph Reed's Faith & Freedom Coalition.

Or like the National Organization for Marriage. Here's a group that exists to fend off the scourge of same-sex marriage and is now on the precipice of suffering total defeat. If I were an evangelical -- and not to shock you, reader, but I am not -- I would be giving NOM the old You had one job... lecture and demanding back whatever money I'd sent in the past.

But NOM is still kicking and still demanding fealty from Republican presidential candidates. On Thursday, timed with the start of the Road to Majority conference, it released its 2016 pledge for presidential candidates. It expects an answer in two weeks' time.

I,__________________________, pledge to the American people that if elected President, I will:

One, support a federal constitutional amendment that protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Two, oppose and work to overturn any Supreme Court decision that illegitimately finds a constitutional "right" to the redefinition of marriage. This includes nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, and appointing an attorney general similarly committed.

Three, conduct a review of regulatory, administrative and executive actions taken by the current Administration that have the effect of undermining marriage and work to restore our policies to be consistent with the proper understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Consistent with this, prevent the promotion of a redefined version of marriage in public schools and other government entities.

Four, support the First Amendment Defense Act and other legislation that recognizes the right of organizations and individuals to act in the public square consistent with their belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman without fear of retaliation from the government.

Five, direct the Department of Justice to investigate, document and publicize cases of Americans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed.

Six, tell gay people to... stop being so gay... and stuff.

It is genuinely sad that NOM, in 2015, continues to puff up this idea that there is a greater-than-zero chance of a constitutional amendment defining marriage "as the union of one man and one woman" ever being enacted. It wasn't enacted after the 2004 election after George W. Bush won reelection with a mandate for homophobia. It definitely won't be enacted in 2017. The most recent poll suggests that 63% of the country believes in a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Sixty-three percent. At the rate it's growing, that number will be much higher in 2017, and by the 2020 or 2024 election, it will be surprising if the Republican presidential nominee campaigns against same-sex marriage.

“Republicans need to not just give lip service to marriage," Brian Brown, the NOM president, says. "By signing the pledge they are committing to concrete steps to protect marriage.”

Nope! They're committing to lip service to evangelicals in much the same way that NOM is committing lip service to evangelicals. They're sustaining this idea that the same-sex marriage fight wouldn't be over if the Supreme Court conclusively rules that it's over. There are secondary considerations that are still to be determined: whether public magistrates have the right not to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples if it offends their precious feelings, and other petty bullshit. But if the Supreme Court finds a right to same-sex marriage, that's it! Things aren't going back. But sure, chuckleheads, that's a very potent pledge you've got there.

By Jim Newell

Jim Newell covers politics and media for Salon.

MORE FROM Jim Newell