Texas Governor Rick Perry has joined the other two top-tier Republican presidential candidates, Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, in signing the National Organization for Marriage's Pledge to "appoint a presidential commission to investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters," support an anti-marriage-equality amendment to the Constitution, and overturn same-sex marriage in the District so it can be put to a citywide referendum in defiance of local human-rights laws.
The "investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters" plank comes from the difficulty NOM has had keeping its donors secret. See, NOM believes, like Sarah Palin, that the First Amendment gives them the freedom to say what they want without criticism. The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 against NOM's efforts to keep their donors anonymous, with Justice Antonin Scalia writing that "there are laws against threats and intimidation; and harsh criticism, short of unlawful action, is a price our people have traditionally been willing to pay for self-governance. Requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed." Obviously, any actual acts of violence or harassment should be prosecuted. But under the guise of protecting themselves from "intimidation," NOM has committed the front-runners for the GOP nomination to using the power of the federal government to intimidate their ideological opponents.
NOM notably failed to prevent marriage equality in D.C. from passing and failed to extract political consequences by knocking off any local politicians who supported it, despite spending more than a hundred thousand dollars trying to do so. Now they're hoping with a Republican president, they can force D.C. to put the fundamental rights of gays and lesbians to a show of hands. And if they lose the referendum, hey, there's always a constitutional amendment they're pushing. So let's be clear here -- NOM isn't worried about democracy. They are concerned with stopping marriage equality by any means necessary.
All Republicans pose as opponents of the heavy hand of the federal government as long as it's helping people get medical care or navigate unemployment. Stopping consenting adults from marrying each other because they share the same gender, however, and suddenly federal power becomes far more attractive. Perry announced his candidacy with the promise that “I’ll work every day to try to make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as I can!” Self-determination! Freedom! Unless you're gay, you support marriage equality, or you actually live in D.C.
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