The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Majoritarianism vs. Equality

Boi From Troy links to Gay Patriot (so I don’t have to) and makes an interesting point about GP’s rant on what he thinks is wrong with "equality."

By choosing to label certain words, like “equality” as goals of the liberal left–Gay Patriot basically makes the case for calling any Gay Republican an oxymoron. They share the same world-view as the closed-minded left who stereotypes any Log Cabin member as self-loathing.

But I disagree with the assumption that we either have to be liberal democrats for “equality” or we are against it.

Equality can be achieved in two ways–by expanding the role of government in our lives to where all are “equal” or constraining it. Libertarians (little-L ones at least) are the ultimate champions of Equality.

This is what happens when you don’t read conservative blogs very often. (Read maybe two gay Republican blogs with any regularity. Boi is one.) I completely missed the idea that seeking equal rights and protections for me and my family is the exact wrong thing to do, not just for my family, but for the country.

Boi injects some sanity in the discussion, but he loses me when he starts boosting Arnlod Schwarzeneggar and links to an argument about how Arnold’s veto of gay marriage legislation passed by the California legislature maybe wasn’t such a bad thing.

Whether Arnold had signed the marriage bill last year, or (god forbid) a Governor Phil Angelides signs similar legislation next year, one thing will be certain—the measure will be sent to the voters in a referendum.

While the gay political establishment has done a good job electing 41 Democrats to the State Assembly who support the cause, little has been done to change the hearts and minds of most Californians…let alone Republicans. You could put your money on such a law being overturned at the ballot box—just like voters rejected Universal Healthcare in 2004.

Just fighting the battle at the polls—let alone suffering a defeat—would be ten big steps backwards for civil rights in California.

On the other hand, Governor Schwarzenegger, in vetoing the marriage bill last fall, said that the issue should be decided by the courts or the voters.

Within the year, the State Supreme Court will assuredly get a case challenging the discrimination in the State’s Family Code based on the equal protection provisions in the California Constitution. To overturn such a decision, voters would have to strike the equal protection clause from the State Constitution—which I believe would be a much tougher sell.

Maybe I’m misunderestimating Arnold’s grey matter, but I doubt he’s that savvy a political tactician. (Though he did manage to get elected without telling Californians just how he was going to solve the state’s problems.) Or maybe I’m misunderestimating gay Republican’s ability to convince themselves that the governor was actually doing them a favor by vetoing the legislation.

The above argument seems to skip over a couple of salient points:

  • A state legislature passing same-sex marriage recognition is big news. It’s an answer to the Republicans’ declaration that the matter should be decided by the legislative process. In this case, as I’ve said before, it’s their biggest nightmare.
  • The gay left didn’t get those members of the legislature elected. California voters did, the same ones who voted for the anti-gay marriage ballot initiative six years ago.
  • Arnold’s veto was nothing more than a callow cop-out to the far right.

But there’s something else that bothers me here, and KipEsquire nails it in his juxtaposition of a quote from the Declaration of Independence against a more recent quote from Mitt Romeny.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
–Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

Who’s going to tell us what a civil right is and what’s not? Well, the people will.
–Massachusetts Governor, Harvard Law School graduate (and Christian), Mitt Romney, June 28, 2006

What’s unsaid and unquestioned in all of the arguments above is the increasing conservative push for majoritarianism. Or, to put it plainly, absolute majority rule. Might, in other words, makes right. The majority is automatically right , no matter what it wants or doesn’t, because it’s the majority. Only the current crop of Republicans and religious conservatives go a step further than traditional majoritarianism, by seeking to bar a future majority from disagreeing with the (perceived) current majority.

What’s scary is that the creeping support for majoritarianism may result in a situation where no one has any "unalienable rights," that the majority can’t take away, because the two avenues minorities have traditionally had to access justice that the majority withholds — the courts and the legislature— will have been delegitimized fo that purpose.They’ll henceforth exist only for the purpose of enforcing the will of the majority because, as noted above, the majority can’t be wrong.

What’s scarier is that some pretty smart people either don’t seem to realize this, or just don’t question it.


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  2. A state legislature passing same-sex marriage recognition is big news. It’s an answer to the Republicans’ declaration that the matter should be decided by the legislative process.

    Actually, the California vote isn’t the worst nightmare of opponents, because it was passed in the face of a referendum and thus presumptively invalid. The political economy of such votes is similar to votes for “bans” on abortion in the face of Roe: radicals on either side vote their own way, but moderates might as well vote for the “recognition” (or in the case of abortion, the “ban”). After all, pro-gay-marriage voters will give them support, while antis and moderates may not even notice that the vote occurred, as it has no effect.

    So while I agree that a state legislative act would be big news–and I’ve been in favor of one for ages–the California measure needs to be qualified for what it is.

  3. I don’t understand gay Republicans – & I’ve tried HARD, since Christian & I are close to another gay couple who are. We finally came to an impasse & just don’t talk about politics. And this is a couple where 1 is the financial provider, has the other (who’s HIV ) on his insurance, & they’re trying to adopt a baby. But they have pro-W bumperstickers on their car.

    The 1 who’s less politically knowledgeable (like me: Christian & the provider partner are the ones who know their stuff enough to debate) admitted to me once that he voted Republican because when it came down to it, he was more scared of terrorism than attacks on his relationship. I know this is just 1 instance & I’m stereotyping, but it makes me wonder if gay Republicans are what they are out of fear.

    Fear is something conservative politicians are excellent at playing on. We liberals play the open-minded card, but if you’re not willing to think about the issues open-mindedly & believe conservatives are the better protectors, maybe that’s how you end up with a gay Republican?

    That’s just my experience, since I know neither of my friends have an inner-homophobic bone in their bodies. But do I get them? I try, but I never can.


    How is it that when the Economist tries to speak intelligently about race issues in America that if pretends to be totally ignorant about the white majority injustices and immorality that has been the status quo for hundreds of years (and is intelligently acknowledged by even our noble Secretay of State whenever she touches on domestic issues).

    The Economist’s latest Lexington column characterizes gerrymandering as a bad thing for African Americans, noting how Sen. Obama was not a product of racially organized political districts. But they fail to name ONE white politician from either house that has benefitted from a long tradition of America’s legislated bigotry, discrimination and bigotry. Wouldn’t it be nice if white politicians didn’t need to have political activists — from Black Hawk and W.E.B. Du Bois to Cornel West and Danny Glover — confront their moral hypocrisy, and instead just represented and spoke to all Americans fairly and justly?

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