The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional because, in part, the court found the law was created to express disapproval of a class of citizens: gay couples. But in doing so, the court created a new class of citizens to demonize: conservative Christians. At least, that's according to some conservative commentators and the religious right.
"You will be made to care about gay marriage," RedState editor Erick Erickson writes, despite tweeting yesterday that he really didn't care all that much about the Supreme Court's decision on DOMA. "You must either fully embrace it or be shunned… you will not be allowed to accept that others can disagree on the issue due to their orthodox faith," he says. As Justice Antonin Scalia predicted in his dissent, Erickson thinks gay marriage will come to the states soon. He says, "Once that happens, there will be an even messier culture war designed to treat traditionalism as a noxious notion of a bygone era — the equivalent of Jim Crow." Fox News' Todd Starnes tweeted on Wednesday, "Won't be long before they outlaw the Bible as hate speech." And: "they're going after the preachers next."
Like Erickson, The New York Times' Ross Douthat worries religious objections to gay marriage will come to look like 1960s-style Southern bigotry, unless gay-rights advocates have it in their heart to show some mercy:
Unless something dramatic changes in the drift of public opinion, the future of religious liberty on these issues is going to depend in part on the magnanimity of gay marriage supporters — the extent to which they are content with political, legal and cultural victories that leave the traditional view of marriage as a minority perspective with some modest purchase in civil society, versus the extent to which they decide to use every possible lever to make traditionalism as radioactive in the America of 2025 as white supremacism or anti-Semitism are today.
(It might be worth noting that religious groups still have the right to exclude all kinds of people. Many churches won't marry couples if one partner hasn't converted. Some don't allow divorcees to remain in the church. Some churches don't allow nonbelievers inside their temples.)
Naturally, it was Rush Limbaugh who really clarified the stakes. "The Supreme Court majority, in its ruling, actually uses language that insults and demonizes the people who support marriage as it's been since the beginning of time," Limbaugh said on his radio show. There's an angry mob out there, and they're going to start hunting people down. The hunted are not the usual victims of hate crimes. They're people like Rush and his listeners:
I have often said that what animates people on the left -- what motivates them, what informs them -- is defeating us. No matter how, no matter what, no matter what it means. Their hatred for us overwhelms anything else. No matter the result, victory that includes impugning and demeaning and insulting us is what they seek. It's what makes them happy.
While wallowing in his victimhood, Limbaugh is still shocked at the reversal:
Okay, so here's basically what happens. Everything's going along just fine, everything's cool, and then all of a sudden homosexuals say, "You know what? We want to be married," and the people who don't think that marriage is anything other than a man and a woman said, "No, no, no, no. Marriage is strictly between a man and a woman. That's what it means; it's what it's always meant."
So the people who want the change then attack the defenders of the status quo as being hateful bigots, and the Supreme Court took up that argument and made their decision on that basis.
Everything's cool, and then all of a sudden, gay people want to be treated like everyone else. Those gays are such bigots.