Bigotry in Texas against same-sex couples is so mainstream that when they are denied the right to divorce, there is not so much as a hiccup. A state appeals court ruled Tuesday that two gay men from Dallas who were married in Massachusetts may not get divorced, essentially binding them in marriage slavery unless they return up north.
The case against granting the divorce was argued by the Plano-based Liberty Institute, which recently helped to get charges dropped against a local activist harassed in Wautaga who was exercising free speech on so-called public property.
It goes to show that even so-called liberty supporters are willing to concede their principle of “Responsible and limited Government” for the sake of a higher-ordered religious belief.
Instead of viewing marriage as a consensual contract, and therefore outside the scope government intervention, often conservatives are more than willing to use government force to prevent the peaceful and consensual acts of honest people. They want to use the government to oppress a convenient class of minorities.
For what it is worth, conservatives opposed to gay marriage cannot use the law as their crutch either. A conveniently ignored and poorly worded subsection to a 2005 state constitutional amendment says that “This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.” The clear reading of the law prohibits all marriages, including common law marriage. And as the lower court ruled in this case, the federal constitution that conservatives allegedly so revere (except when the don’t) guarantees equal protection from discrimination under the law.
Historically, the conservatism of Robert Taft and Russell Kirk understood the fault of using government to promote moral virtue. They knew that government constantly undermines genuine social institutions like churches and other local communities.
If religious conservatives really wanted to promote virtues, they would understand that laws (force) can only do so much. They will have a far greater effect of promoting their beliefs by raising children in a healthy atmosphere, by talking with their neighbors, and by honoring the peaceful values of others. Those are the genuine ways to bring about more respect for life and caring for our neighbors.