You can practically see the bafflement on the page:
While many conservative organizations immediately decried a federal judge’s decision last week to invalidate the federal ban on recognizing gay marriages, tea party groups have been conspicuously silent on the issue.
The silence is by design, activists with the loosely affiliated movement said, because it is held together by an exclusive focus on fiscal matters and its avoidance of divisive social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Privately, though, many said they back the decision because it emphasizes the legal philosophy of states’ rights.
Before we go any further: if you look at what happened last week, what happened was that the judge declared Section 3 unconstitutional, and did not address Section 2. Essentially, that means that if the ruling is not appealed then the federal government is no longer obligated to treat only opposite-sex marriages as legitimate. It does not mean that states are now obligated to recognize other states’ same-sex marriage licenses – and, at any rate, the ruling is expected to be appealed anyway.
But let us move on. The Washington Post seems to be shocked that the Tea Party movement – which has been openly proclaiming both its fiscal conservatism, and its willingness to take libertarianism seriously – will have no formal opinion on same-sex marriage. This is startling for two reasons, which are superficially the same reason; it indicates that the Washington Post persists in writing about a movement that they apparently know nothing about.
- First off: gay marriage is primary a concern of social conservatives, with a good deal of fellow-traveling among conservatives who despise the idea of having unelected judges be the ultimate arbiters of legislation. Are there social conservatives in the Tea Party movement? Of course. Are they welcome? Certainly. Do they run it? Some are in leadership positions, sure. Do they control it? No, Leftist delusions to the contrary. Should anybody be surprised by that last answer? Only if they don’t have a triple-digit IQ.
- Second: if you were unaware going in that any court decision that uses the term ’10th Amendment’ would get the immediate and polite attention of the average Tea Partier, then you have no knowledge of the Tea Party movement. At all. Libertarian groups were pumped about this angle last year; some liberal ones are starting to notice that an acceptable 10th Amendment defense has… ramifications.
For the record, I support same-sex marriage via appropriate legislation, I consider DoMA unconstitutional because of the Full Faith and Credit clause, I am not a lawyer, I’d rather have DoMA* than a Federal Marriage Amendment, and I am incredibly annoyed at the incredibly counter-productive judicial activist strategy that pro-SSM advocates advocated for a decade. And, oh yes: calling it marriage ‘equality’ just pisses people off. People who vote. And all of that… is pretty irrelevant to the central message of the Tea Party, which is that the government’s gone insane with its reckless fiscal policy. And if anybody had asked me that, I could have told them that at any time in the last year.
So why is the Washington Post surprised?
*Yes, even though it’s unconstitutional. I am a horrible human being, and I should be beaten with a stick. Happy?