Here’s what Newt Gingrich had to say about California’s rejection of proposition 8 on constitutional grounds:
Judge Walker’s ruling overturning Prop 8 is an outrageous disrespect for our Constitution and for the majority of people of the United States who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife. In every state of the union from California to Maine to Georgia, where the people have had a chance to vote they’ve affirmed that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Congress now has the responsibility to act immediately to reaffirm marriage as a union of one man and one woman as our national policy. Today’s notorious decision also underscores the importance of the Senate vote tomorrow on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court because judges who oppose the American people are a growing threat to our society.
Anyone with a limited understanding of American history understands that the constitution guarantees majority rule with respect to minority rights — the majority cannot take away inherent rights of liberty and freedom from the minority.
U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker rejected prop 8 on the basis that it was an attempt to deny a minority basic rights of freedom and liberty stating that:
Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite- sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
Newt Gingrich doesn’t like the ruling because he either believes the majority has the right to tell the minority how to live — or he is an amoral politician playing to his base. My guess is it’s a combination of the two. The problem with characters like Gingrich is that as a hetero sexual white male, his is unlikely to ever be effected by legislation like prop 8. But given political cultures can change in the blink of an eye, he might do well to remember this poem from German theologian Martin Niemoller:
In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me –
and by that time no one was left to speak up.
You never know, they might come for the rabid right one day, and who will be left to speak up for Newt?
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.