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Rick Santorum’s delusional response to the Ninth Circuit ruling

Timothy Kincaid

February 8th, 2012

Those who are losing the battle to keep gay citizens relegated to second class status and denied civil equality have a new mantra: “they called me a bigot!”

And, as Rick Santorum illustrated in his comments about yesterday’s Ninth Circuit ruling upholding Judge Walker’s finding that Proposition 8 is a violation of the US Constitution, this claim need not have even the flimsiest of filaments of truth for the martyr’s song to be played.

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The Ninth Circuit decision yesterday said that marriage, if you believe in traditional marriage, between a man and a woman and exclusively that, you are in fact, the only reason you could possibly believe that, is because you are a bigot. That there is no rational basis for you to have marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. There, there’s no, no rational basis. Your belief of marriage between a man and a woman is purely irrational based on hatred and bigotry. That’s what they just wrote.

No. That’s not what they wrote. Not even close.

What the court said was that the State of California could not discriminate in the providing of services to gays and lesbians without a rational basis. And that a rational basis needed to be tied to a legitimate government goal. They didn’t say that any person who opposes equality is irrational, just that there was no legitimate goal which could be rationally tied to the proposition.

But even assuming that Santorum has forgotten anything that he may have incidentally picked up at law school (yeah, he actually went to law school) about rational basis and is every bit as stupid as he appears to be, he simply cannot justify the “hatred and bigotry” claim.

Actually, what the court said was:

Ultimately, the “inevitable inference” we must draw in this circumstance is not one of ill will, but rather one of disapproval of gays and lesbians as a class. “[L]aws singling out a certain class of citizens for disfavored legal status or general hardships are rare.” Romer, 517 Ë.Í. at 633. Under Romer, we must infer from Proposition 8’s effect on California law that the People took away from gays and lesbians the right to use the official designation of ‘marriage’—and the societal status that accompanies it—because they disapproved of these individuals as a class and did not wish them to receive the same official recognition and societal approval of their committed relationships that the State makes available to opposite-sex couples.

This is an accurate assessment. Disapproval and a desire not to give the same official recognition. No reference to hatred or bigotry and no name calling at all.

Either Santorum is astonishingly stupid, an unabashed liar, or accidentally let slip his own personal motivations.

Comments

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Lindoro Almaviva
February 8th, 2012 | LINK

How about all 3?

Tim Stewart
February 8th, 2012 | LINK

You had it right in your headline. He isn’t the smartest politician ever, but he’s not astonishingly stupid either. He’s not a liar, he’s just ignorant of reality.

He is deluded. He believes so steadfastly in his religiously poisoned world view that he is certain that what he is saying is true, and that his is the reasoned, rational position. We’re the haters. Haters of the law of God. This is what religion does to people.

And when someone this deeply deluded and fooled so completely by religious nuttery would be President of the United States, that scares the shit out of me.

Steve
February 8th, 2012 | LINK

Yes, he is a liar. And this isn’t the first time he has outright lied about something

David in Houston
February 8th, 2012 | LINK

For someone that IS trying to impose a Christian theocracy on our country, he has a lot of nerve trying to compare secularism (which treats ALL citizens equally) to theocratic rule; and no one is imposing same-sex marriage on straight people. If you don’t approve of same-sex marriage, don’t get married to someone of the same sex. Just like if you don’t approve of interracial marriage, don’t marry someone of a different race. Pretty simple stuff.

Priya Lynn
February 8th, 2012 | LINK

The court said “the People took away from gays and lesbians the right to use the official designation of ‘marriage’—and the societal status that accompanies it—because they disapproved of these individuals as a class and did not wish them to receive the same official recognition and societal approval of their committed relationships that the State makes available to opposite-sex couples.”

Timothy said “This is an accurate assessment. Disapproval and a desire not to give the same official recognition. No reference to hatred or bigotry and no name calling at all.”.

I don’t see any difference between disapproval, a desire to deprive of recognition and hatred or bigotry.

I agree with what Santorum said. A paraphrase of what the court said is “Your belief of marriage between [only] a man and a woman is purely irrational based on hatred and bigotry.”.

I think one can parse words all they want and fall back on the technicality that the court didn’t use those specific words, but that is in fact what it amounts to.

Timothy Kincaid
February 8th, 2012 | LINK

People in general (though perhaps not including you) are capable of disapproval without hatred or bigotry.

I understand that you truly do think that if someone believes in marriage as only between a man and woman that this is bigotry and hatred. You’ve expressed that before, if I recall correctly.

I do not. Nor does the Ninth Circuit. Which is why they included the language that you omitted: “not one of ill will”.

You are entitle to believe what you believe. But your assertion that the Ninth Circuit agrees with you is false.

Priya Lynn
February 8th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy, like you the court may for political reasons seek to claim a distinction between disapproval, a desire to deprive of recognition and hatred or bigotry but beyond the technicality of the words being different the meaning amounts to the same thing no matter how one may wish to pretend a legitimate distinction.

Timothy Kincaid
February 8th, 2012 | LINK

Sometimes you say things and I can’t help but wonder if you are just punking me.

Hunter
February 9th, 2012 | LINK

Priya and Timothy:

It’s a fuzzy boundary — just where does disapproval bleed off into bigotry, and when does fear become hatred? (Because if you go back and think about the Prop 8 campaign, a major element was fear.)

I think the court was being, for lack of a better term, judicious in its language, and whatever my personal feelings about the basis of Prop 8, I think the panel hit the right note. It’s also consistent with the way decisions were phrased in Romer and Lawrence — the key term is “disapproval,” and there’s really no need to determine whether that disapproval is rational or not. As Timothy notes, their point was that there’s no rational link between Prop 8 and any discernible government interest. That’s the important part. The motivations of the voters, whether they were based on hatred, fear, or indigestion, aren’t the determining factor. It’s the result that matters.

As for Santorum, whether you listen to him or read the transcript, the man’s incoherent, and he’ll say whatever suits his purpose. The problem is that to any sane person, his purpose is appalling.

Jay Jonson
February 9th, 2012 | LINK

The Ninth Circuit didn’t say it, but actually I believe that the overwhelming majority of people who would deny gay people equal marriage rights are bigots. So Santorum isn’t really delusional, just a liar.

Priya Lynn
February 9th, 2012 | LINK

No Timothy, I’m not playing with you. I think the difference between you and I has a lot to do with what Hunter said “It’s a fuzzy boundary — just where does disapproval bleed off into bigotry, and when does fear become hatred?”.

Disapproval and hatred, bigotry and a desire to deny recognition are the same type of emotions, they only differ in degree.

Just as I would call both a child who steals a penny candy and Bernie Madoff theives everyone who opposes gay equality is a bigot. Both Obama and Rick Santorum are bigots although certainly not on the same scale.

Its laughable for the court to say about all Californians that the inference one must draw is not one of ill will, but one of disaproval. There’s no doubt that for a LOT of those Californians they deeply hate gays and wish to harm them as much as legally possible. For the others that feel perhaps much less strongly, at the very least they wish to deny gays a fundamental good, the recognition of marriage – wanting to deprive someone of something good is ill will!

The court made the statement about ill will for political reasons such as softening the critical statement it was making about Californians, they did not make that statement because it was true.

Eric in Oakland
February 9th, 2012 | LINK

@Hunter

I don’t think it is a fuzzy boundary at all. People disapprove of things all the time without the disapproval being based on hatred or bigotry. For instance, I disapprove of smoking on airplanes. The disapproval is clearly not based on hatred of smokers.

Priya Lynn
February 9th, 2012 | LINK

Eric, its easy to say the boundary isn’t fuzzy when giving examples at the extreme ends, but when talking about very strong disapproval and slight hatred the boundary is indeed very fuzzy. I strongly disapprove of people bringing crying children on airplanes, depending on how loud and long I start to hate such people.

Timothy Kincaid
February 9th, 2012 | LINK

Priya Lynn

You may indeed hate screaming children. I don’t pretend to have any insight into the workings of your emotions. But I very much doubt that drawing from your own personal experience is the best tool for determining the motivations of the California electorate.

And while “they lied for political reasons” may be an answer that allows you to resolve the conflict between the ruling and your own notions about what defines bigotry, it is one that is implausible to the point of discounting your entire premise.

I know that there is no retreat for you. Ever. So rather than continue along the futile path of reason, I’ll just accept that like the ex-gay movement, the Pope, and the more colorful conservative activists, you use language in ways that are dissimilar from everyone else.

I’ll just keep in mind that while no one else defines “bigot” to include Barack Obama, that this is your own special definition, much in the same way that Exodus used to define change in ways that included no discernable shift at all.

The upside of having ones own definitions is that it allows you to always be right. The downside is that you cease making sense.

Priya Lynn
February 9th, 2012 | LINK

Timothy said “I’ll just keep in mind that while no one else defines “bigot” to include Barack Obama,”.

LOL, that’s quite a broad statement – your self-confidence might be just a tad overdone.

Once again, for the court to refer to the entire 7 million who voted for prop 8 and say none of them were motivated by ill will is absolutely absurd. If you can’t acknowledge that that certainly can’t be true for all those voters then it is you for whom there is no retreat, it is you has to be always right, and it is you who is not making sense.

Priya Lynn
February 9th, 2012 | LINK

Further to Timothy’s comment “I’ll just keep in mind that while no one else defines “bigot” to include Barack Obama, that this is your own special definition, much in the same way that Exodus used to define change in ways that included no discernable shift at all.”.

Obama opposes marriage equality – that is a discernable shift from those who support marriage equality. For you to claim this is the same as Exodus defining change in ways that include no discernable shift is quite simply incorrect.

Hunter
February 9th, 2012 | LINK

@ Eric in Oakland:

I think you misread my comment — I didn’t say that disapproval needed to be based on hatred or bigotry, just that there is a continuum here along which one bleeds into another. Human emotions aren’t that easily compartmentalized.

As for your disapproval of smoking on airplanes, all we have to support your statement that it’s not based on hatred of smokers is your own assertion.

Rachel H
February 10th, 2012 | LINK

Whether driven by hatred, disapproval or whatever, opposing marriage equality *is* irrational.

The sooner anti-gay prejudice is widely acknowledged to be as intellectually indefensible as racism and sexism, the better.

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