By now you have no doubt heard that a federal judge in California has struck down Proposition Eight, a voter referendum that outlawed gay marriage. Go here for a quick summary of the basic facts.
I have not had a chance yet to read the entire decision, and I do not intend to attempt a legal analysis of its merits. I am very happy about it, of course, as should anyone who cares about basic justice and the rights of homosexuals. There were two things that struck me, however, upon hearing the news of the judge’s decision.
First, as I mentioned in this post, a few weeks ago I spent an afternoon at the Virginia Home Educator’s Conference. While I was there I listened to a keynote talk given by Ken Ham. During the talk he said explicitly, and with great enthusiasm, that the only reason (his words) for opposing gay marriage were the Bible’s teachings about marriage and homosexuality. It was a rare example of Ham saying something that was true. If there is a decent, secular argument against granting to gay couples the same legal rights we grant to straight couples, I have yet to hear it.
It also occurred to me that there are a lot of similarities between this decision and the decision in the Dover evolution case. Hard-core right-wingers live in a fantasy world of their own creation. It is a world in which creationism and ID are legitimate science and evolution is not. It is also a world in which gay couples pose some sort of threat to heterosexual marriage, or are too morally suspect to raise children. When thundered from a stage or a pulpit to a generally supportive audience, such notions play very well. But put them in a forum with rules of evidence and a sober, nonemotional tone, and they crumble. Judge Walker in this case was absolutely scathing towards the defense, just as Judge Jones was in the Dover case. When forced to defend their ideas rationally, the right-wingers always come off looking like fools.
It’s just a pity they aren’t forced to do it more often.