Conservative Writer Compares Same-Sex Marriage Non-Decision To Dred Scott Ruling That Justified Slavery

In perhaps the worst right-wing reaction to the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear multiple appeals of same-sex marriage rulings by several lower courts, a conservative writer for the National Review compared it to the Dred Scott case.

On Monday, the total number of states in the nation where same-sex couples can get married totaled 30 after the Court decided not to overturn or uphold lower court decisions to strike down gay marriage bans in states around the country, including Utah, Virginia, and Indiana.

In response, conservatives threw a collective temper tantrum, claiming that the Court failed to adhere to the Constitution and rule same-sex marriage unconstitutional like they demanded.

But on Tuesday, National Review writer Matthew Franck went further than most and compared the case to one that justified slavery prior to the Civil War.

Image of Matthew Franck via Talking Points Memo

Image of Matthew Franck via Talking Points Memo

“The GOP was founded as a party standing for human liberty, the sanctity of the family, and a free self-governing people,” Franck wrote.

As we re-enact a slow-motion Dred Scott for the twenty-first century, it remains to be seen whether any political party in America will continue to stand for those principles.

The response to Franck was swift condemnation and in response, Franck wrote:

In Dred Scott it was the false idea that some human beings can own other human beings, and that a democratic people cannot say otherwise. In the same-sex marriage rulings it is the false idea that men can marry men, and women can marry women, and that democratic peoples cannot say otherwise.

The difference between this case and the Dred Scott case is that gay people are being given the full freedom and equality that everyone is guaranteed in the Constitution. In reality, the best case to compare this situation to is Loving v. Virginia, which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. By refusing to hear the case, the Supreme Court left intact federal court rulings striking down similar laws against same-sex marriage. Of course, the Constitution says nothing about marriage, so conservatives are totally wrong when they say the Constitution outlaws gay marriage. On the other hand, however, the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment clearly make the case that states cannot deprive citizens of equal protection or due process under the law.

The Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause states:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Letting two consenting adults of the same gender get married is not the same as justifying slavery. It’s a justification of expanding personal freedom and liberty, which Republicans used to say they supported. But since “Christian” fundamentalists took over the party, they’ve mounted a hateful crusade against anything they feel goes against the Bible while ignoring the very Constitution they claim to love and respect. This victory is huge for freedom and should be celebrated across the country. But proponents of same-sex marriage should remain vigilant. At any time, the Supreme Court could take up a case against same-sex marriage and rule in favor of their opponents, especially if conservatives can get yet another anti-gay right-wing Justice on the Court. For now, this is a win and people like Matthew Franck should get over it and move on with their own lives instead of being so obsessed with controlling the lives of others.