What the Oregon Family Council is doing these days strikes me as a bad move for those who oppose marriage equality. As Zack Ford reports at Think Progress, opponents of marriage equality in Oregon recognize that they are likely to lose if (when) the issue is put to a vote in a popular referendum. Supporters of marriage equality are collecting signatures for such a referendum.
And so Oregon Family Council has created a "Protect Religious Freedom" initiative that would create a "right to discriminate" against same-sex couples, if marriage equality is enacted. I say that this is a bad move for those who oppose marriage equality.
Here's why I say this: ostensibly, the movement to ban same-sex marriage has been all about high moral ideals all along. It's been all about protecting, oh, this and that: the link between sex and procreation in marriage, the complementarity of male and female marriage, marriage as it has always been, the basic building block of society, one man, one woman, for life. Etc.
Now, as the pendulum swings more and more decisively in the direction of marriage equality, it turns out that these high moral ideals haven't in the least been what has energized the anti-marriage equality movement. Instead, what has energized it all along has been the resolute determination to keep discrimination against LGBTI Americans alive as long as possible and in as many ways as possible.
It's a bad idea when movements that profess to have the highest of moral ideals (remember compassionate conservatism?) unmask themselves and show us that they've never been able high moral ideals at all. "Protect religious freedom" has become the new rallying cry of those whose bottom line is defending their "right to discriminate."
It's no wonder that these folks are losing an historic cultural battle. If the movement of history is about discerning where history's moral arc is moving and then following that movement, they've lost the battle.
They've lost the battle because they've been moving against the moral arc of history all along, trying to defend discrimination, as more and more people in many couples around the world have begun to recognize that long-upheld practices of stigmatizing and discriminating against those who are gay are simply indefensible.