The landmark Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) decision handed down by the Supreme Court on June 26 brought all the GOP extremists out in force, all presenting their narrow-minded take on what constitutes the Constitution and how the justices that voted to overturn government restrictions against gay partnerships and the California state ban against gay marriage (Prop 8) were, in effect, usurping the role of God. This was the moment, of course, lame-termed Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) had to have her say in the matter, keeping her words just as narrowly adjusted and just as sanctimoniously ridiculous as ever. And after Bachmann had her say about the Supreme Court’s ruling, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also had something to say. In fact, as one can see in the C-SPAN 3 video posted by Mediaite on June 26, she had just two words for Michele Bachmann.
It began with Rep. Bachmann and a bunch of thin-lipped, apparently ticked-off Republicans known as the Study Committee as they held a press conference that no reporters attended. (That’s not exactly true, but there were more legislators on the stage and behind the podium than there were in the chairs set up for journalists.) Anyway, the Republicans were there to share the discontent.
Bachmann said that the ruling was “offensive on many levels,” noting that: “This decision is one that is profound because the Supreme Court not only attacked our Constitution today, they not only attacked the equal protection rights of every citizen under our Constitution, they attacked something that they have no jurisdiction over whatsoever, the foundational unit of our society, which is marriage.”
Then she went for the piety prize: “That is something that God created. That is something that God will define. The Supreme Court, though they may think so, have not risen to the level of God.”
This was slightly different than what she’d released earlier in the day in a statement, but the gist of her message was still there as she shared the stage with those other Republicans wanting to a piece of outrage pie.
But her words would soon go for naught. Here’s why:
At a separate press conference, when a reporter asked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi what she thought of Bachmann’s statement, Pelosi simply replied: “Who cares?”
And there you have it. The shortest, sweetest, most to-the-point takedown a politician has ever delivered upon another politician. And how appropriate that two words — “who cares?” –summarized the opinion of the majority of Americans, especially when Bachmann has spent much of her career — going on and on… and on — deriding and vilifying gays as somehow inferior (or, worse, “of Satan”).
Who cares what Michele Bachmann thinks? Not too many…
Still, even though Pelosi’s words should have been enough, there were those who felt the need to make certain the religious element didn’t take the succinct rebuke the wrong way. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) explained the importance of the DOMA decision within religious parameters thusly:
“It’s very important to understand that people can believe what they want,” Nadler said. “They can go to what church they want, what synagogue, what they can believe what about temple, what mosque. Marriage or anything else they want. That’s a question of religious belief. We’re not dealing with religious belief in all these questions. We’re dealing with what the state or the federal government does. We have a separation of church and state in this country. So for government purposes, you can be married. The church may not recognize this. That’s their business. If you don’t want to recognize it from a religious point of view, it’s your business. No one is forcing anybody to get married. The point of the separation of church and state is that when we deal with public business and the consecration — not the consecration, but the celebration of marriage by the state, the recognition by the state of who’s married is not a religious question.”
In short, Bachmann and company mischaracterized the Supreme Court decision. What the decision means is: Believe (in terms of religion) what you like but the government does not constitutionally have the power to deny individual civil rights to its citizens through discriminatory practices. As far as religion goes, condemning gay marriage or not allowing gays to marry within one’s order or sect is a religious freedom that is still protected.
As for Michele Bachmann and her ilk, who think that they know God’s will and that God’s will is done when matters are determined to their liking and their interpretation of religious texts, they have every right to think the way they do. They still do not have the right to push their beliefs or abridgment of freedoms on others. And who is to say God’s will wasn’t done when the Supreme Court ruled DOMA unconstitutional?