Partisan demagoguery apparent in gay marriage debate
In the wake of the milestone ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and deferred the California gay marriage ban to a lower court’s nullification, rebellious antagonism runs rampant in the Bible Belt as religious conservatives attempt to regain lost ground.
Todd Starnes, a Fox News radio personality, commented, “Supreme Court overrules God.”
Mike Huckabee, the seemingly docile and pseudo-erudite former Arkansas governor, exclaimed, “Jesus wept.”
Bryan Fischer, an influential political conservative and director of the Issue Analysis for the American Family Association, which is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, said “the DOMA ruling is the greatest threat to the First Amendment in history.”
Despite their influential positions and unremitting candor, nothing surpassed the sheer anti-gay myopia following the DOMA ruling than the supposed overhaul of Indiana’s criminal code, which allegedly classified gay marriage as a state felony, punishable with a $10,000 fine and up to 18 months in prison.
But as news of this novel legislation poured in from all over the country, liberal groups experienced their own version of Bible Belt fever.
The self-exalted blogosphere responded proportionally, unleashing a wave of awestruck Facebook activists and acrimonious Twitter freedom fighters that expressed disgust in 140 characters or less.
Unfortunately, reality didn’t quite justify the fervid backlash. In fact, legal research indicates that Indiana has never officially amended a gay marriage ban to the state constitution. Instead, a simple law dating back to 1986 states that only a marriage between one man and one woman would be valid and recognized.
The demagoguery from primarily liberal blogs stems from a revision of Indiana code 31-11-11, which simply classifies giving false information on a marriage certificate as a class D felony, which, under the previous penal code, carried a maximum fine of $10,000 and three years in prison.
The overhaul, which reclassifies the felony code to numerical codes 1-6 instead of A-D, actually pigeonholes the perjury violation as a level 6 felony, which lowers the maximum prison term to 18 months.
Granted, section 7 of the punitive code declares that any person who “knowingly solemnizes a marriage of individuals who are prohibited from marrying” is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum of 180 days in jail or a $1,000 fine. Even the 27-year same-sex marriage ban is ample evidence of Indiana’s homophobic tendencies, but the latest strand of liberal red flags borders on naivety, if not full-fledged misinformation.
Packaging information in ways that misconstrue reality, even for humanitarian purposes, is disingenuous at best and criminal at worst, with the potential to ignite unwarranted sociopolitical repercussion.
By spreading fallacious rumors of nonexistent or misunderstood legal proceedings, liberal-leaning groups are no less guilty of stirring the pot of ignorance than the Mike Huckabees and Bryan Fischers of the world.