Wisconsin’s Scott Walker just gets worse and worse. Today, he’s announced that he will not defend a new state law, allowing “same-sex couples to take family and medical leave to care for a seriously ill partner, make end-of-life decisions and have hospital visitation rights,” because any legal respect for gay relationships plausibly violates the state constitution.
I’m not so naïve as to imagine that everyone who opposes gay marriage necessarily hates or fears gay men and women, as a group. It’s possible to have concerns about the institution, and its future, while acknowledging that gay relationships are of, and entitled to, equal dignity. This news out of Wisconsin, though, is something different entirely. Any political philosophy that would deny a man a chance to visit and care for his dying husband can only find its basis in hate, and in the absolute abandonment of any sense of Christian charity. Neither religion nor morality provide any cover for such a despicable position.
In my experience, too, it’s actually the rare conservative who would deny gay couples visitation rights, although it’s not an easy position for a lot of them to take. Chris Baker, a Houston conservative talk show personality in the mold of Glenn Beck, lost his show about a year after affirmatively endorsing visitation rights for gay couples (he’s now back, I hear). Like the Republican Party generally, apparently the anti-gay lobby’s response to its increasing marginalization is to radicalize.
We might also note that Walker’s decision to withdraw from defending his own state’s law approximates President Obama’s move, earlier this year, to non-enforce Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. Cue conservative outrage in three… two… oh? Nothing? Right, of course.