Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Rove Gets Divorced. Again.

Yet another fevered defender of “traditional marriage” gets divorced, for the second time in this case. And Karl Rove isn’t just your run of the mill religious righter (in fact, he’s not religious at all), he’s much worse – he’s the guy who practically invented the concept of using same-sex marriage as a fear-laden motivator to get the religious right to the polls to help his boss get reelected in 2004.

It was Rove who worked so hard to get as many anti-gay marriage referenda on the ballots in as many states as possible in 2004 in order to push the right emotional buttons and get the anti-gay right to the polls, knowing that they would then also vote for Bush and keep him in office. It was Rove who set the political agenda of speaking in hushed, reverent tones about the “sanctity” of marriage. And now he’s getting divorced. Again.

Glenn Greenwald responds quite reasonably:

Rove obtained his divorce under Texas’ “no-fault” divorce law, one of the most permissive in the nation. That law basically allows any married couple to simply end their marriage because they feel like it. Texas, needless to say, is one of the states which has constitutionally barred same-sex marriages, and has a Governor who explicitly cites Christian dogma as the reason to support that provision, yet the overwhelming majority of Texan citizens make sure that there’s nothing in the law making their own marriages binding or permanent — i.e., traditional. They’re willing to limit other people’s marriage choices on moral grounds, but not their own, and thus have a law that lets them divorce whenever the mood strikes. That’s the very permissive, untraditional and un-Christian law that Rove just exploited in order to obtain his divorce.

There’s debate and dispute among various Christian theologians and sects over whether divorce and re-marriage are permissible and, if so, under what circumstances. But what is clear is that the attribute of permanence is every bit as much of a part of “traditional marriage” as the need for a man and a women — hence, the vow before God of “till death do us part” and “that which God has brought together, let no man put asunder.” The concept of “no-fault” divorce is certainly repugnant to most Christian and traditional understandings of marriage. Yet those like Rove who have devoted endless efforts to barring gay citizens from marrying on the ground that our laws must enshrine Christian concepts of “traditional marriage” continuously take advantage of laws that enable them to end their own marriages on a whim, and even enter new marriages with their so-called “second, third and fourth wives,” which only seems to intensify their “traditional marriage” preaching.

I’ve long thought that the solution to the cheap, cost-free moralizing that leads very upstanding people like Karl Rove to want to ban same-sex marriages (which they don’t want to enter into themselves, and thus cost them nothing) is to have those same “principles” apply consistently to all marriage laws. If Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and their friends and followers actually were required by law to stay married to their wives — the way that “traditional marriage” was generally supposed to work — the movement to have our secular laws conform to “traditional marriage” principles would almost certainly die a quick, quiet and well-deserved death.

It all reminds me of the joke (and I forget who originally told it): “Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich are worried that gay marriage will destroy the sanctity of all three of their marriages.”