Minutes ago the State Senate voted down the nomination of Andrew McDonald for Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. His supporters claim his defeat shows homophobia on the part of Republicans (and one Democrat) who voted against him. What it really shows is the limits of gay McCarthyism, even in the State of Connecticut. And it’s about time.
Gov. Malloy yesterday claimed homophobia played a role in opposition to McDonald by referencing questions McDonald was asked about his wedding, questions that were clearly intended to focus on his close connection to the governor, who performed the wedding, and not the fact that it was a same-sex wedding.
Indeed, as the group that led the fight against same-sex marriage in this state, Family Institute of Connecticut knows better than anyone how bogus is the governor’s charge on this score. Believe us when we tell you, the Connecticut Republican Party could not care less about same-sex marriage.
Nearly every argument against judicial activism that was made by McDonald opponents this year was also made by FIC ten years ago, when the State Supreme Court imposed a re-definition of marriage in our state in flagrant violation of what the legislature had already decided, and even issued a date upon which town clerks were ordered to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses.
There has never been a more obvious example of legislating from the bench than Kerrigan vs Public Health, the same-sex marriage ruling. Yet the CT GOP took little interest in judicial activism until the Court issued its full repeal of the death penalty. They never even mentioned Kerrigan in their critiques of judicial activism throughout the McDonald nomination. So the claim that same-sex marriage is a factor in McDonald’s defeat is an utter falsehood.
Ah, but the mere fact that some Republicans voted against same-sex marriage or the transgender bill is proof in itself of homophobic perfidy, Malloy supporters would have you believe.
Again, FIC led the fight against both bills, because we cared about public goods like the importance of a mom and a dad to a child and their right to raise their children according to their faith unmolested by state intrusion. Not because we were against any class of people.
That truth is dead on arrival with those whose only argument is name-calling. We get that. But the fact remains that, long before the McDonald nomination:
1) The homosexuality of someone running against an FIC PAC-endorsed candidate had absolutely no role in our opposition to him.
2) I specifically shot down the idea that pro-family voters would ever reject a candidate for office simply because he’s gay.
3) A man with same-sex attractions worked for FIC for a year.
Again, we don’t expect any of this to matter to those who brazenly accuse roughly half their fellow citizens of being the moral equivalent of racists simply for holding traditional beliefs about human sexuality. But it’s important to enter these things into the historical record so that others can see the truth once saner times prevail. And to defend those who have been so outrageously defamed.
So it’s false to claim that McDonald was defeated because the CT GOP is opposed to same-sex marriage and it’s false to claim that those of us who do oppose same-sex marriage are motivated by animus against gay people.
But the biggest falsehood of all may be the claim that anyone would be denied the office of Chief Justice in the State of Connecticut because he’s gay. If anything, the environment in Connecticut is very much the opposite. That is, you are much more likely to be discriminated against if you are known to be an opponent of same-sex marriage.
Don’t take my word for it. Ask Harold Sparrow, the African-American minister who withdrew his candidacy for Hartford Board of Education because of the controversy that erupted when it was discovered that Sparrow had led a ministers group ten years earlier that opposed same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, even though he disowned the group’s position.
Apparently to have ever opposed same-sex marriage is to be marked for life, and not just in Connecticut. Gov. Mike Huckabee was recently forced to resign from the Country Music Awards Association. Brendan Eich’s forced resignation from Mozilla is legendary. The list could go on.
McDonald’s supporters know all this. That’s why they played the gay card. McDonald’s nomination was always incredibly weak for reasons that have nothing to do with his sexual orientation. So his supporters played their strongest card, which was to accuse anyone who opposes McDonald of being anti-gay.
And why not? It’s worked for them before.
And that’s the biggest shock in Andrew McDonald’s defeat for Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. It didn’t work this time.
For the first time in recent memory, anti-family politicians and activists played a hand that failed them. The Republicans and a few Democrats were having none of it. They would not be bullied, they would not be intimidated. There were just too many legitimate reasons to oppose Justice McDonald to give in to the usual identity politics circus.
Thanks to the overreach of McDonald’s supporters–and his defeat minutes ago–we have just learned that gay McCarthyism has its limits, even in Connecticut. And it’s about time.