Shorter Glenn Garvin: Civil Rights Laws Were A “Tactical Mistake.”

I’m going to do my level best to fairly summarize Glenn Garvin’s column today on Judge Walker’s landmark decision on Proposition 8:

1.  Eric Deggins is black and recently got a racist voicemail.


2.  This proves some whites still hate blacks despite the civil rights laws and all the judicial rulings on black/white relations.


3.  The Prop 8 lawsuit was not about allowing gays to marry because they have lots of other rights except specifically the right to marry.  

4.  Rather, the suit seeks to force non-gays to “socially accept and emotionally affirm” gays.



4.  This won’t work because some whites still hate blacks.


5.  Thus, the “blunt force of government edicts” is a tactical mistake with respect to gays, just like it was with respect to blacks.


6.  Barry Goldwater was right.

There’s so much wrong here I’m not sure where to begin. Let’s start with the civil rights laws. Last I checked, they were not about white people “emotionally affirming” black people — they were about fully enabling black people to vote, buy homes in white neighborhoods, marry white people, go to intergrated schools, drink from a white water fountain, sit anywhere they want on a bus, be able to eat at the Burdines lunch counter — you know, that kind of thing. That some whites still hate blacks does nothing to diminish the value or significance of the substantive rights established by judicial rulings and other “governmental edicts” regarding black people. Moving on to the Prop 8 lawsuit, Glenn is woefully confused. Judge Walker was not asked and did not make any rulings regarding the “emotional affirmation or social acceptance” of gay marriage.  He did not seek to abolish “irrational prejudice by government decree.”  That’s not what courts do. He did make “findings of fact” and ruled, based on real, honest-to-goodness evidence presented at trial, that there is no “rational basis” to deprive Americans from the right to marry based on their sexual preference — and that to do so violates the 14th Amendment.  (See Ted Olsen explain that to an incredulous Chris Wallace above). Indeed, Judge Walker expressly refused to make any rulings regarding morality or the “emotional acceptance” of one view of marriage as opposed to another.  What he did evaluate is whether there are any tangible benefits to the State recognizing only heterosexual marriage, and found — based on credible social science testimony — that none exists.  That’s why it is unconstitutional to deprive gay couples from the institution of marriage, because there are no legitimate empirical or utilitarian justifications to support the deprivation.

The fact that some whites still hate blacks doesn’t mean Loving v. Virginia was wrongly decided.  In fact, more people support gay marriage now than supported interracial marriage in 1967 (only four percent(!) of the American public supported that right in 1958).

Get on the right side of history, Glenn — or just go back to reviewing “Cougar Town.”