Fresh into the race for the office of President of the United States, Fred Thompson is revealing a sneaky mean streak as he begins his campaign. The issue is homosexuality, or “deviancy” as one Iowa voter put it this week. Thompson did not correct the white-haired gent who uttered the “D” word, but took advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate his deadly position on human rights, reversing his previous position against a Constitutional amendment against gay marriage. And let’s not forget his not-so-subtle appeal to “States Rights,” the old rallying cry of the southern racists who wanted to preserve slavery.
It’s not every day that a presidential candidate gets asked point-blank what to do about “deviancy.” But there was Fred Thompson in Sioux City Friday morning, taking this question from a voter: “My question is what society’s position should be on deviancy, including homosexuality?” asked an older, white-haired man.
And the reply:
Thompson answered the deviancy question with a considerable lack of specificity. “Well, society’s position and the government position, and what the government ought to do to exercise the power of the federal government, is not necessarily the same thing,” he said. Then he said that the government should treat everyone the same way, and that “we should not set aside categories to give special set-aside treatments” to specific groups. This is the language, more or less, of the religious right, which argues that laws that protect gays and lesbians from discrimination amount to unjustified special legal privileges.
Then Thompson took further opportunity for gay bashing when Steven Carlson, a director of the Iowa Christian Alliance, raised his hand and asked whether Thompson would support a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, the dance began:
In the past, Thompson has opposed a federal amendment to ban gay marriage on federalist grounds. Like Arizona Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, he has said that he does not believe the federal government should be involved in an issue that should be left to the states.
But on Friday, he said he would support a different type of amendment to the Constitution. “I would support a constitutional amendment which says some off-the-wall court decision in one state that recognizes the marriage in one state, like Massachusetts, just to pick a state, cannot go to another state and have it recognized in that state. You are not bound by what another state does.” He was not done. “The second part of my amendment would also state that judges could not impose this [gay marriage], on the federal or state level, unless a state legislature signed off on it.”
This second part of his amendment is novel, if a bit ponderous. He has said before that he is against the federal government inserting itself into state matters like marriage. But he supports the federal government inserting itself into state courthouses, when they take up the issue of marriage. He did not immediately explain this conflict.
So keep the federal government out of state matters like marriage, but permit the federal government to assert itself into state courthouses should they take on the issue of marriage.
I just had to restate that for myself so I could try and wrap my mind around it, and I can’t.
DA Arthur Branch would probably have a problem with that one as well.