Kennedy Conspiracy Theory: Robertson Wonders If Gay Clerk Influenced High Court Justice
Rob Boston printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 10:57:49 AM EST

I've been monitoring the reaction of Religious Right groups to the Supreme Court's marriage equality rulings. It's not pleasant, but somebody has to do it.

I took special interest in the response of TV preacher Pat Robertson. As some of you may know, I've long had an interest in the ramblings of the eccentric Virginia televangelist and even wrote a book about him in 1996. (What can I say? A fellow needs a hobby.)

Alas, Pat's comments turned out to be a lot of rehashed boilerplate about Sodom and Gomorrah.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he intoned, "your liberties are in danger because, read the Bible about Sodom and Gomorrah. That's where the term comes from, Sodom. Look what happened to Sodom. After a while, there wasn't any other way, and God did something pretty drastic."

Yawn. We've heard all of that before. Pat's been carping about Sodom and Gomorrah for a long time. I was expecting something much better, like perhaps a promise that a meteor might hit the Supreme Court.

Robertson did have an interesting theory about the rulings that he outlined earlier in the day on "The 700 Club." During an interview with Jay Sekulow, a Religious Right attorney who has worked for Pat for years, Robertson demanded to know, "Jay, let me ask you about Anthony Kennedy. Does he have some clerks who happen to be gays?"

I rarely have sympathy for Sekulow, but one could almost see him internally rolling his eyes as he labored to steer the conversation in another direction.

Pat loves a conspiracy theory. Therefore, Justice Kennedy must have been influenced by a nest of gay law clerks. In fact, there's a simpler explanation: Kennedy has, throughout his time on the high court, been sympathetic to LGBT rights. His ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was no surprise. He telegraphed his intentions during the oral argument in March. I was lucky enough to get a seat in the press gallery that day. I'm not a lawyer, but you didn't have to be to see which way Kennedy was leaning.

The U.S. v. Windsor ruling is in line with Kennedy's previous decisions in this area. In 1996, the Supreme Court invalidated an amendment to the Colorado Constitution that prohibited any jurisdiction in Colorado from recognizing gay rights. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.

In 2003, the Supreme Court overturned a previous ruling and struck down a Texas law that criminalized consensual sexual acts between same-sex couples. Kennedy wrote this opinion as well.

I think what confuses Robertson and those who think like him is that Kennedy takes positions like this even though he's hardly some flaming liberal. He sides with the conservative bloc more often than not, specifically on issues such as health care, gun control and voting rights. On church-state issues, his record is decidedly mixed. Kennedy was part of a court majority that struck down school-sponsored prayer during graduation ceremonies in 1992 but voted to uphold Ohio's private school voucher plan in 2002.  

Kennedy, though, has been more consistent on gay rights. The justice believes that the Constitution's equal protection and equal liberty protections mean that the government can't single out people for ill treatment or discrimination simply because they happen to be gay.

So, sorry, Pat, but it really didn't take a gay clerk to persuade Kennedy on DOMA. He was already there.

If hiring gay law clerks were enough to change a justice's mind in this area, I'd be happy to send an entire troop over to the office of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Exposure is one of the most potent ways to get people to realize that they'd been sold a pack of lies about the Other.

It was exposure to LGBT people that got me to realize that everything I'd heard in the churches about them was wrong (I met them and became friends when I returned to school).  They weren't out to convert everyone.  They weren't all hedonistic and only interested in sex.  They had long-time relationships that were strictly monogamous.  They were people, just like everyone else (and some were good and some weren't so good).

Unlike the "Good Christians", the ones I've met also respected me... I even discovered that an old friend I'd known for decades was gay... he respected me enough (and knew of some bad experiences I'd had) that he kept it private.  Now I could care less what someone's orientation is.

I wish that we could get those preachers to go around and really talk with and LISTEN to LGBT people.  Sad to say, they also seem to think that "deh Gay!" is contagious and automatically changes you (that's what was said in the Assemblies back when I belonged to that cult).  Funny, but I'm still about as "straight" as anyone can get although I've been "around them" for over a decade now.  It's the realization that they're people just like everyone else that makes the change... one I wish that Pat and all of those other a-holes would go through (I often suspect - with good reason because it seems so common for fundamentalist preachers - that they're closeted gays who were taught to hate themselves).

by ArchaeoBob on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 11:29:50 AM EST

This whole line of Robertson's--that "gays" have "influenced" Kennedy and that "gays" are out there, infiltrating, while also flaunting their gayness, just makes me laugh.  

Like ArcheoBob, I have many gay friends and I have since high school.  I am not gay, but I am smart and artistic, as are the folks I know who are gay, lesbian, bisexual (or really fluid, going back and forth) and transgendered.  Yes -- I know four people who are transgendered.  I knew one of them before the transformation, and I can say that she is now a much more pleasant and comfortable person to be around.

I just don't care about a person's sexual orientation.

But I find it funny (in a sad sort of way), when people fail to realize or refuse to realize that most GLBT folks were raised in straight households surrounded by "straightness."  Yet all of the GLBT people I know say that they always knew that they were wired differently.  Although there are indeed oppositional people in the world, it is a heck of a lot easier to go with the flow, and most of the GLBT folks I know tried to do the straight thing, but it wasn't them.  (The ones who are really twisted up are the ones who don't admit their natures, and instead become self-loathers.  I know some -- and I think the Religious Right harbors more than a few.)

But what I also wonder about (and have to chuckle about) is this idea that GLBT people are always on the prowl -- for straight people!  Really?  Again -- I have GLBT friends and also lots and lots of straight friends, including male friends (I am female).  They are FRIENDS.  I don't automatically make passes at the straight guys just because we are both straight.  

Which begs the question: are some of these frothing-at-the-mouth types constantly in rut over others designated as their sexual match?  Do all of these evangelicals men have to restrain themselves from ravaging every woman in sight?  Because that's just odd, at least to me.  And sad, too, if they can't simply enjoy someone else's companionship without thoughts of playing grab-ass (or assuming that everyone else is playing grab-ass).

I grab no asses -- unless invited.  And then it has to be a mutual thing.

by coralsea on Fri Jun 28, 2013 at 07:33:11 PM EST

the same thing.  They can't be friends with members of the other sex, and if they are it's considered suspicious and likely sexual.  They can't seem to understand platonic friendships all that well (maybe between straight members of the same sex... and even then they often seem to have the most vile language regarding the other sex).

Considering all of the stories I've encountered of infidelity and rape, I think that they DO feel that they must restrain themselves and that they've been taught that the only relationship between men and women is sex.  It rather reminds me of teachers and especially professors who for them, EVERYTHING is about sex (utter bullsh*t) and that's what they teach.

In a way, I feel sorry for them.  

by ArchaeoBob on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 11:33:02 AM EST

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