From the White House to the Arkansas River bridges in downtown Little Rock, rainbow colors signaled cheers for yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality. Twitter is full of messages from corporations applauding the decision, a sure sign of where the American public is heading on the issue, if not some of the dead-enders like the Bully of Bigelow and the Huckster.
Times photographer Brian Chilson has posted a number of pictures from victory parties last night in Little Rock. For example:
Among a torrent of analysis, I found this Politico piece on Republican Party “future shock” interesting. It contrasts Jeb Bush’s moderate live-and-let-live response to the ruling with that of the fire breathers catering to the Republican Party base. Catering might be a good primary strategy, but not necessarily a sound general election approach.
Richard Land, the firebrand evangelical leader who wrote the famous letter urging Christians to support George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, summed up the view of many on the right tier of the Republican presidential field. “It’s a sad day for the country and now the battlefield shifts to freedom of conscience,” he told POLITICO. “It’s going to be an important issue in 2016.”
It’s also a matter of old-fashioned wedge politics, and Democrats are delighted at the growing roster of issues pulling the GOP backward through time. Last week, Southern Republicans were stunned by the wave of public, bipartisan sentiment against state-sanctioned displays of the Confederate flag in the wake of the Charleston massacre. After a stumbling start, local Republicans acted with deliberate speed, and not just in South Carolina: Alabama’s Robert Bentley, one of the country’s most conservative governors, ordered the rebel battle flag lowered over the capitol in Montgomery, where the civil war was declared and George Wallace delivered his “segregation forever” speech.”
Still, many standard-issue Republican positions, though they remain regional political assets in the South and parts of the Midwest, are underwater: The GOP’s blanket opposition to minimum-wage hikes, a more open immigration policy, and background checks on guns and lockstep support for tough anti-abortion laws and tax breaks for the wealthy all poll relatively poorly.
“The problem for the Republican Party is that you have a recalcitrant minority trying to hold off a tolerant majority,” says David Boaz of the libertarian Cato Institute.
I liked this tossed-off reference to Mike Huckabee, vowing disobedience to the Supreme Court.
Mike Huckabee, a long-shot Arkansas ex-governor staking everything on an appeal to evangelicals, made an opaque reference to civil disobedience. “I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch,” he said in a statement as gay and lesbian couples were posting their plans to wed on thousands of Facebook pages. “We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.”
Hillary Clinton is on board with the ruling, by the way.
You’ll never get back the 20 minutes or so necessary to watch the YouTube diatribe from Sen. Jason Rapert, the face of gay hatred in Arkansas (and what a Beelzebubbian image it is). No matter how loudly and often he and his ilk decry yesterday’s events, I have to believe a growing feeling of brotherly love toward gay people in the country can’t be turned around by their animosity. Uncommon optimism from me, I know. But in light of yesterday’s events, maybe anything IS possible. In little more than a decade, equality was won from a wholly menacing U.S. landscape.