In response to last week's court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in the states, anti-gay-marriage crusader Maggie Gallagher predictably called the proceedings a "sham trial" and the judge's decision a "moral outrage" and "intellectually absurd." Which is what Gallagher seems to say about every gay-rights trial that does not go her way. What's interesting about her comments on CBN is that she accuses the Massachusetts judge of defining "marriage" for the rest of the country:
Nobody is saying that the state of Massachusetts doesn't have the right to define marriage for state purposes ... [But] what Massachusetts is now saying that they have the right to overturn and decide what the federal government defines as marriage.
The more important point, however, is that this is not a case of a federal court in Massachusetts deciding what marriage means for the whole country; it's quite the opposite. The judge ruled that individual states -- not the federal government -- have the right to define marriage and that DOMA impermissibly infringes on states' ability to define marriage as they see fit:
That DOMA plainly intrudes on a core area of state sovereignty -- the ability to define the marital status of its citizens -- also convinces this court that the statute violates the Tenth Amendment.
The law was also overturned on equal-protection grounds, but the states' rights justification is why you have Tea Party members supporting it. This brings out what is an increasingly visible rift on the right between culture warriors like Gallagher and more libertarian-minded Tea Partiers. While Tea Partiers' views on government -- not to mention their lemonade-stand understanding of economics -- are no less of a problem, it's nice to get a break from histrionic rants about the moral downfall of civilization. The long-term question is whether you can keep together the shaky alliance between small-government, civil-liberties supporters, and moral crusaders like Gallagher who care little about constitutional protections or government spending so long as society moves in God's direction.
-- Gabriel Arana
-- Gabriel Arana