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Looking for a few good men

Specifically, state governors.

As I've been going on about in someone else's thread (sorry, Jeff), individual people, even conservative Christians, are very chary of defying court decisions and/or ordinances or laws. It would help them a lot if some officials backed them up.

Suppose, which God forbid, that SCOTUS declares homosexual simulacra of marriage to be a constitutional right. Or suppose that more state supreme courts do so. What we desperately need are some governors who are willing to defend marriage within their states. Upholding their oath to the laws and constitution of their own state, and defying the ridiculous pretense of "interpretation" that says that the U.S. or state constitution requires homosexual "marriage," such governors should issue an executive order that no marriage licenses be given to anyone other than one man and one woman.

Preferably there would be several such governors, so that no single one would stand alone, and preferably they would have previously coordinated their actions and made sure that the attorney generals of their states were on-board with the plan.

We plan ahead for all sorts of disasters. This disaster--moral, legal, and constitutional--should be planned for as well. If the state governors step up to the plate, I believe no small number of their citizens will be heartened and will support them. Moreover, the claim that this is "now the law" will be thrown into question in those states, which will help citizens who do not wish to go along with it. What the federal government will do at that point is an interesting guess, especially if there are several such states. But the mental paralysis that holds that if SCOTUS tells us all that we must go out and stand on our heads this is now required by "The Law" must be challenged and broken.

Any suggestions from my conservative readers of governors who might answer the call?

Comments (40)

Counting on professional politicians to stand for righteousness in the face of such a court ruling seems sketchy to me. That kind of boat-rocking would alienate too many potential voters.

In some states, perhaps it would please as many voters as it alienated, if not more.

Lydia, you're right about the strategy, and I hope it comes to pass. Gov. Brewer of Arizona has the right kind of backbone, but I don't know if she'd use it on this issue. I think the others are yet untested. Jindal of Louisiana and Christie of New Jersey come to mind. I suspect that, for most, if they were made of the right material they would have already exercised it on the abortion issue in some capacity.

I wish you could be right, but I doubt it would work that way. If a governor is on record as being against gay marriage, conservative voters are generally going to support him, even if he doesn't make a stand against court rulings for gay marriage. If he does make such a stand, voters who like him despite disagreeing with his stance on gay marriage will be alienated. And others who don't care about the issue at all will see him as being too "extreme" and jeopardizing the working order of the government...

All he would have to gain is energizing a few conservatives who would otherwise stay at home on election day.

In terms of voters, defying such a court ruling just couldn't pay off.

It would be nice if politicians didn't think in terms of reelections, but unfortunately such men of integrity aren't the sort who tend to get elected.

What the federal government will do at that point is an interesting guess, especially if there are several such states.

3 possibilities:

1) Sue the states.
2) Send federal law enforcement to arrest the governors.
3) Order the Army to occupy their capitols for defying the SCOTUS.

Options 2 and 3 carry with them a distinct chance of starting a civil war, given how bitterly divided this country has become and how much a significant swath of the population feels powerless to preserve its culture.

They might send federal marshals if it were just one state, but I don't think they could do it effectively if there were several states. The federal marshals wouldn't be sent to arrest the governors, though. They'd be sent to "escort" some homosexual couple to a justice of the peace. Then again, since the governor would have ordered the JPs not to give out licenses, this would be largely symbolic. That is to say, either a JP would side with the feds against the governor, or he wouldn't. In the latter case, escorting a homosexual couple to him would be pointless, unless the marshals were going to put a gun to his head and order him to administer the vows. In the former case, it would also be pointless, because I doubt that the state governor would have state troopers out there blocking the way to all the JPs. Most enforcement has to be done selectively. But it would make good theater by way of allusion to Alabama and school segregation.

Jeff, I don't know if the lack of action on abortion is entirely an indication on this issue, simply because this is a _new_ issue. People are always reacting rather than thinking entirely logically, and there are going to be plenty of people who will be upset about this on the vague grounds that it is "going too far." (Compare all the people who didn't leave the ECUSA over women's ordination but have left over homosexual ordination.) There might be some governors who will think the same--"Enough is enough. This is going too far." But I agree that the inaction on abortion is a very bad sign.

Why not just boycott civil marriage altogether? You seem to think that the US government has the power to create unions that God recognizes (and is about to produce a counterfeit misusing that power). Just reject that premise, recognize that marriage is a sacrement (which has some accidental historical connection to a now secular state) and have Christian marriage. Settle the economic and practical side (next of kin and so forth)by contract or civil partnership and move on. Rather than fighting over the power of the state on this one (maybe could focus more energy on the life threatening issue) just refuse to give the state the power in the first place.

Rhett, you let me know when your taking that attitude gets you out of approving of homosexual unions. Let me know how it protects your children from being read _King and King_ in school. Let me know how it protects Christians from having to treat homosexual unions as marriage in all of their business dealings. Etc.

Not really an attitude but a proposal for effective civil disobedience (rather than the lets convice politicians to do it for us strategy). It seems to me that marriage is only a business issue if you think the civil instituition is the thing you believe is marriage as opposed to an agreement about property. Are you against (except in so far as you are against homosexuality simpliciter) homosexuals holdong property in common (say in corporations or gasp civil partnerships)? Aren't Christians already required to treat homosexuals the way they treat other people in business dealings? Aren't you also treating adulterers and fornicators like everyone else as well? Does that mean you approve of such things? Seperate civil property and group decison making from the concept of marriage and you are not approving of homosexual marriage, since in your discourse they can't be married. Better yet, get rid of civil marriage for everyone and return it to the religous sacrement it is and then Christians who beleive that marriage is only for a man and a woman (not a universal Christian view of course) can choose to recognize and not recognize the marriages as they please. I don't really see how so called gay marriage has anything to do with whether the King and the King are being taught in schools. Seems like thats already happening without legal approval of gay marriage (perhaps I am underinformed here but the teaching of the okness of homosexuality seems to precede rather than follow the law here). It looks to me like your argument is really something like our children need to be protected from homosexuality so lets do something. Preventing gays from marrying is really closing the barn door after the horses have fled. I can't see how your view can lead to anything other(except for purely prudential reasons) than homosexuality should be outlawed and discrimination against them should be allowed, in fact should have force of law.

Yep, you're underinformed. Its teaching was _explicitly_ defended on the grounds that homosexuals can be "married" in Massachusetts.

Aren't Christians already required to treat homosexuals the way they treat other people in business dealings?

Christians should not be required (and in some states are not currently required) to treat their unions as marriages in business dealings. For example, if a Christian or other traditionally moral person has homosexual employees, and if the employer gives health benefits to the spouses of his employees, in Michigan he is not presently required to give those benefits to the homosexual sex partner of an employee. That is how it should continue to be. If homosexuals are regarded as "married," that is not how it will continue to be. I don't know how much more simply to put this.

But, Rhett, I see better from all your talk about "discrimination against them should be allowed" where you are coming from. You are not actually trying to give advice that respects the consciences of people who disapprove of homosexual sodomy and do not wish to be involved in normalizing it. You actually are on the other side of the issue. So thanks for making that known. It will save me time in treating your suggestions seriously.

Great point Lydia. I assume that you think that those of us who disapprove of heterosexual marriage should be permitted to exercise our conscience and not pay for spousal medical benefits as well? Or are "conscience" exceptions reserved for people who "disapprove of homosexual sodomy" (but not heterosexual sodomy?)?

Great point Lydia. I assume that you think that those of us who disapprove of heterosexual marriage should be permitted to exercise our conscience and not pay for spousal medical benefits as well? Or are "conscience" exceptions reserved for people who "disapprove of homosexual sodomy" (but not heterosexual sodomy?)?

I seem to have quite a troll influx here.

A) This post, and thread, is expressly set up for suggestions related to the proposal in the main post. Please refer to it. It is not set up for general attempted debate on all topics surrounding so-called homosexual "marriage" and implicit moral equivalency from the leftists on the Internet.

B) The answer to your question, Denny, is "yes." But I also think that if you think broccoli is a curse on the world, you should be permitted to employ only people who promise not to eat broccoli. This doesn't change the fact that such a restriction would be stupid and irrational, but people should be allowed to be stupid and irrational. Laws that require people not to take into account their _reasonable_ and extremely important _moral_ views are heinous. Hence, the requirements I am talking about are not merely stupid, annoying, or even unjust, they are heinous. Truth matters.


In response to your answer to Denny, what preconditions on hiring do you think employers may *not* use? For example, ought employers be able to refuse to hire Catholics or blacks? I assume that you think that employers may insist on hiring only, say, Catholics. But what about the other way around, refusing to hire Catholics? And can race play a role in hiring either way (refusing to hire blacks or insisting on hiring only blacks, say, for affirmative action or to meet some racial quota)? I'm genuinely interested in what you think the limits of employer discretion ought to be.

Jeremy, it depends on whether you're talking about legality or morality. I favor very wide legal freedom for employer discretion, but some impositions on that freedom are heinous while others, though I would prefer they were not there and have other objections to them, are not heinous. I already made that clear.

But in any event, this is entirely OT, and I'm not going to continue the OT discussion.

Lydia, that view of freedom of association seems at odds with your view that the APA (a private organization) should be forced to accept your viewpoint regarding homosexuality.

Apologies and this will be my only post but you assertion is rather breathtaking in its implications and deserves a thread of its own.

ok I will try to stay on on topic although I will point out that the ad hominim dismissal of my remarks seem to be trollish (if one can be trollish on one's own blog) My suggestion that Christians that are opposed to gay marriage boycott secular marriage and push for its abolition as a way of avoiding entangling themselves with the actions of others that they beleive are immoral is suggested genuously ( I have argued for the very same point with my very liberal students for example). Underneath that is a fundamental disagreement (I think) between you and I about how attempts to change culture should be conducted, especially by people whose motivations are religuous. This is surely on topic, as you are suggesting a certain kind of civil disobedience by elected officials (whereas I am more focused on a grassroots idea that has the possiblity of wider and more personal costs (getting divorce secularly perhaps)but which does not require large scale disturbances in the way we govern ourselves).
The core of my objection is something like this: straining at the gnat we have swallowed the camel. Culture war focused on issues like homosexuality has allowed people of conscience to become the agents of torture and massive social injustice, duped by people like Karl Rove and Dick Cheney to support things that no person of conscience should support in what turns out to be the vain hope that the government will back their version of morality in these other areas. The net result is that Christianity becomes identified with warmongering and support for the lives of the rich and famous,reducing the possiblity that people will take the gospel seriously (which, if they did, would move the world in the direction you want to go without enlisting the coercive power of the state).
If you don't want force people to support relationships via insurance then push for single payer so it doesn't matter who is married to who etc or some other option. The state has the power it does because we allow it to. We have acceded power to the state and then think the only way to fight it is political, which leaves Christians as just another political pressure group to be used and abused in the political process.
Again, my inference about where your general argument against gay marriage goes was genuous, perhaps I could have that cleared up elsewhere since that is OT.
To close there is also the question of rendering unto Cesear what is Cesear's. If you are a government offical who has sworn oaths to uphold the government, don't you have to resign if you cannot obey the law of the land for reasons of conscience. It surely cannot be a matter of votes (personally I just don't beleive we are going to vote the kingdom of heaven into being anyway)

Oh, Al, I specialize in breathtaking assertions, though I'm not sure which one you had in mind here.

Denny, stow it. Nobody said anything about the APA's being _forced_ to do anything. But they _should not_ have adopted the policy they did adopt, and I joined in petitioning them not to do so. Petitioning people not to do things you think they shouldn't do and making arguments to that effect is consistent with particular views on ideally preferable legal freedoms. (I won't hold my breath for a world in which Hermes et. al. content themselves with submitting a petition to a Christian college with whose policies they disagree.) You could also check out what I have said elsewhere, and won't repeat here, about "the worst of both worlds."

Meanwhile, we have as candidate governors Jindal, Christie, and Brewer, though no one seems to have any great hopes of any of them. Any others?

No, Rhett, it isn't the "law of the land" that two men can be "married" just because several judges in black make up this absurdity and lie and say that it is in the Constitution. (Just as it would not become "the law of the land" if SCOTUS claimed to find somewhere in the Commerce Clause a requirement that you should be beheaded tomorrow or that we must all stand on our heads in public every Thursday. Newsflash: Ridiculous claims don't become "the law of the land" and "contained in the Constitution" merely because SCOTUS says so.) Indeed, as I implied in the main post, the governor _would be_ upholding the law he had sworn to defend--specifically, the laws of his own state--by defying such an absurd and lying SCOTUS decision.

Chances are the governors most likely to resist would be Southerners, so except for Jindal they'd automatically be lumped in with Gov. Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door.

Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo strikes me as the kind of man who could perform such resistance, but the Colorado governor's race is a mess and he's currently third in a three-way race against a united Democratic candidate.

The big debate to be had is how far the rule of law should be respected when it becomes a tool for tyranny, and whether undermining the federal government might not result in something worse. Fear, uncertainty, doubt.

Another option for personal civil disobedience is exploiting SSM for personal and financial benefit. Contract a SS "marriage" with a good Platonic friend for mooching purposes.

James O'Keefe pulled such a stunt. I'm a scrupulous man so I have big doubts about the ethics of this issue.

Lydia -- my bad. I didn't realize that you thought the APA was well within its rights to do what its members decided. In any event, I imagine the important point to press then is why you think the state should enforce your Church's view of marriage rather than anyone else's? Isn't this a freedom religion issue as much as anything else? That seems to cut against your libertarian streak, such as it is.

Kevin, IMO, "fear, uncertainty, and doubt" are what we are going to get in spades if this goes through. Tyranny tends to do that. I don't actually believe that the "rule of law" supports doing whatever judges decree, however insane and however obviously not contained in the texts they pretend to be interpreting. In fact, I would argue that to have judges making up crazy stuff through their hats and having all the rest of us dance to their tune is _very_ destructive of the rule of law, indeed, of the entire concept of the rule of law. When the world is so postmodern that a judge can "make" the U.S. Constitution (the U.S. Constitution!!) mean that two men must be able to "marry" each other, the rule of law is, at least in that area, dead. There is no rule of law involved there. After that, going along with him is going along with insanity--as if the judge had declared that a cat is the President of the United States and we said that we were required by the "rule of law" to administer the oath of office to the cat, install him in the Oval Office, and put a pen in his paw.

I like the idea of Tancredo as Governor. I wish it would happen. He might just stand up on this one.

No, Denny, there is nothing remotely libertarian about homosexual "marriage." But others have made that case elsewhere, and I have given ample indication as to why I would say that in other threads.

The Supreme Court did decide how I could be executed (if I was convicted of certain crimes in certain states) and how I could not, and it is the law of the land. Further it did decide (against the will of the majority) to make some "cat" president and he was president. All the laws he signed are laws still and all the wars he started still rage. Courts can only decide about laws that have been written and passed by someone in the system. They cannot just act freely. The question about interpertation and postmodernity that you raise is a very serous one and one which we are in complete agreement.
It does seem to me that if you make this a state's rights issue then you are putting it into play for some states to have varying definitions of marriage which would then not be recognized across state borders and so forth. Marriage is clearly in the purview of the federal government as an issue (it involves property rights across state boundries at a minimum) Are you opposed to judical review fo laws a matter of general principle?
It seems to me conscience on the one hand and common law on the other might be more profitable roads to explore in terms of sources of argument

the important point to press then is why you think the state should enforce your Church's view of marriage rather than anyone else's?

Because it always has?

That is to say, either a JP would side with the feds against the governor, or he wouldn't. In the latter case, escorting a homosexual couple to him would be pointless, unless the marshals were going to put a gun to his head and order him to administer the vows.

The best retaliation would be for the state to pass a law making it a crime for state employees to cooperate with federal criminal investigations. Federal law enforcement is simply too weak to be able to survive a few states bluntly refusing to work with it. Personally, I would start with the drug and gun laws to really drive the point home to the feds that they cannot act like imperialists.

If you are a government offical who has sworn oaths to uphold the government,

I don't know too many governement officials that takle an oath "to uphold the government", at least not in the US. The oath usually reads to faithfully carry out the duties of the office and uphold the Constitution. That may, or may not, require "upholding the government," depending upon what the government is doing at that particular time.

As for Governor candidates with the werewithall to pull off such a coup, I really don't know of any. Perry did send that letter to Obama pretty much telling the EPA (or some fed agency) to shove it on some regulation or other. That's about as close as I have seen recently. But I don't know if he would do the same on SSM.

The only problem, Lydia, I see with this is: Why now? Why hang yourself (whether figuratively or otherwise), as a governor or a whole state, on this particular issue? There have been so many bad rulings that led (inexorably) to this moment. Why should it not have happened long ago? Say with Griswold or Roe or Lawrence v. Texas? Why is this, nearly the last brick to fall (there aren't too many left), the one for which, we're prepared to make a stand?

Maybe because "better late than never," Steve. What? Are you recommending giving in _just because_ people gave in before? That doesn't sound like very principled advice to me. And also, because this ruling would force everyone to be complicit in almost innumerable ways.

I guess all I'm saying is that there is more than sufficient moral justification for any state to secede from the Union already. In my opinion, there has been ever since 1789. What do you even mean "giving in"; you say that like we have a choice in the matter. Democracy is fundamentally deficient and should be scrapped. Show me where I can sign up for that, and I'll sign up.

The only problem, Lydia, I see with this is: Why now?

Because they're in power now, and weren't before?

I live in NJ and am very happy with Governor Christie. He has said that he isn't worried about a second term, and he governs as if he means it. I think the odds are low that he would issue an executive order that only allows marriage licenses for men and women, and more importantly I think most people in the state wouldn't obey it. That said, I've been surprised by how fundamentally conservative the people of New Jersey can be, and I'd be happy to be surprised again.

What the federal government will do at that point is an interesting guess, especially if there are several such states.

In addition to the other actions mentioned above, most likely the feds would take the same route they did with the drinking age mandate - withhold federal funding of projects within that state (with the drinking age, it was highway/transportation dollars).

Bloodless and quite effective.

That would require it to get past those states' representatives in Congress and those who agree with what the states are doing.

I too live in NJ, Jake! Gov. Christie is certainly better than I had expected him to be, and a breath of fresh air not only here but for the whole nation. But he is on the record as being *for* civil unions. He, one of the GOP's current and best hopes, is no secessionist. On the contrary, he is committed to working within the system. I am convinced that the system is broken, and has been since 1789.

Look, the left controls the State and the offical magisterium: the University System (which either is or apes the consensus of the Faculty of Harvard University) and Mainstream Media (which either is or apes the NYT). So while we may take some comfort today that nowhere, where the people have voted on the matter, has "Gay Marriage" failed to ratified, we must also note that public opinion today is only about a generation removed from that of the current Harvard Faculty (which, in turn, tells the NYT what to think). The vast majority of people will (eventually) believe what they're told to believe by their betters. This is *how* democracy works. It is the ONLY way it works. The revolution continues whether we like it or not. Sure, we tap the brakes occasionally by electing a Calvin Coolidge or a Ronald Reagan, but it doesn't ever really stop, much less reverse.

"Gay marriage" is neither a last straw, as if there hasn't been a whole (more or less predicatable) sequence of enforced federalized evils, nor is it so much a societal problem, per se'. It is rather a symptom of rapidly decaying society, a hobby-horse of the uber-complacent, those unwilling to consider, much less sacrifice themselves for, that which is necessary for an advanced civilization to endure over generations.

Unless we are uncommonly lucky, this all ends only one way... and in either case it certainly doesn't end by working within The System.

It is rather a symptom of rapidly decaying society, a hobby-horse of the uber-complacent,

Steve, that sounds like an insult to your fellow conservatives. I hope I am misunderstanding. But I do get a bit wearied when conservatives meet honest outrage on the right by snarking, "Where were you guys in 1789?"

Please. Be glad when honest outrage arises at all and watch whom you're calling "ubercomplacent" and what disgusting perversions you are referring to as mere "hobby horses."

I meant no insult to fellow conservatives, which would I hope be clear by RE-reading what I wrote.... By uber-complacent, I refer to a class of people who have, relying on civilizational capital built up over at least a thousand years, the leisure to tinker, in the name of abstract "rights" for a vanishingly tiny and relatively unoppressed minority, with societal norms, shared by every culture (whether civilized or barbaric) at every time previous and in every place, which reflect both obvious social goods and evolutionary benefits. By hobby horses, I meant only to refer the insatiable and untrainable desire (angst or ennui ridden?) to knock down those few things which remain standing late in the Revolutionary Process. Is it ennui?

Lydia, we are agreed that this, i.e., "Gay Marriage", is an Outrage; and the possibility that it become the law of the land by judicial fiat, more so. But you seem to see it as a disease in the otherwise healthy body of anglophone republican government. I say it is merely the latest in a whole string of symptoms, which prove the terminal nature of anglophone republican government, which is itself the actual disease. So we are far from agreed on the remedy. You would try to cure the patient. I would rather she die as quick and bloodless a death as possible.


Put your trust not in princes. The real issue is not what the state will do, but what the churches will do. Let's face it, church discipline across the board is quite lax morally and theologically. The only real way to change the culture is to tighten up church discipline on marriage and sexuality. And truth be told, it is the only real substantial basis for genuine ecumenical relations. Without it, signing this or that piece of paper will only foster more schisms.

The only real way to change the culture is to tighten up church discipline on marriage and sexuality.

Agreed, but it was the churchs (specifically the Episcopal Church at the Lambeth Conference in 1930) that first relaxed the discipline, so they are indirectly responsible for the mess.

The Chicken

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