Those who have noticed religious right’s silence regarding the recent court decision declaring the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional are not imagining the quiet.
Religious right groups have been uncharacteristically silent about the decision. The Family Research Council has, to my knowledge, been the only group who made a comment about the decision. And of course, the group is attacking the judge:
Yesterday, a San Francisco judge struck down the part of DOMA that stops the government from offering benefits to same-sex spouses.
You got that? FRC didn’t call U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White an “activist judge.” Instead, they called him a “San Francisco judge.”
The term is an ugly dog whistle to its supporters which plays up to the stereotype that San Francisco is the alleged “gay capital” of the United States. By labeling White as a “San Francisco judge,” FRC is implying that either White himself is gay or that he has been “corrupted by the city.”
Expect to hear the term “San Francisco judge” used to demonize the DOMA decision and White by not only FRC but other religious right groups and possibly members of Congress.
Attacking White allows FRC to conveniently omit several things about White and DOMA. As Equality Matters points out:
Judge White Was A Bush Appointee. While opponents of gay marriage have never hesitated to attack judges who vote in favor of marriage equality, they’ll have a difficult time figuring out reasons to criticize Judge White. White was confirmed to the federal bench by a voice vote in the Senate after being nominated by President George W. Bush in 2002. He’s the only judge confirmed to California federal courts during Bush’s two terms. After being nominated, White was approved by a bipartisan judicial selection committee and received praise from Democrats and Republicans alike. While critics may rail against the substance of White’s decision, they’re unlikely to gain much traction accusing him of liberal bias or judicial activism.
Dispelling Anti-Gay Research And Junk Science. White’s decision is remarkable for the extent to which it debunked the evidence presented by Clement in opposition to same-sex marriage. Long before the decision was released, Clement’s defense was plagued with accusations of distorting research, avoiding cross-examination, and relying on widely discredited junk science. White’s ruling further demonstrated the lack of credible evidence presented in opposition to marriage equality. Notably, he rejected the claim that same-sex couples were unfit to raise their own children, declaring:More than thirty years of scholarship resulting in over fifty peer-reviewed empirical reports have overwhelmingly demonstrated that children raised by same-sex parents are as likely to be emotionally healthy, and educationally and socially successful as those raised by opposite-sex parents.White went on to criticize the evidence Clement provided on same-sex parenting, criticizing his sources as “questionable,” “non-scientific,” and “without peer review.”
But who cares about the facts? FRC has a good lie going – i.e. Judge White ruled against DOMA because he is a “San Francisco judge.”
And as we all know, in politics, a good lie goes farther than the truth even if those who are lying are doing it “in God’s name.”