Culture war remains on the front burner

Xingha Shang and Susan Stoever embrace as they join a crowd celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act, in New York
Xingha Shang and Susan Stoever embrace as they join a crowd celebrating the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act outside the Stonewall Inn in New York June 26, 2013.
Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters
It seems like just a month ago that Politico said social issues have “been largely relegated to the sidelines” in Republican politics, and the GOP’s competing wings have both “steered away from social issues they deem too divisive.”
 
Wait, that was just a month ago. Since then, congressional Republicans have taken a newfound interest in anti-abortion legislation; at least nine states have taken up “religious liberty” bills that would allow anti-gay discrimination; and Indiana has moved on a new measure to ban marriage equality.
 
And then there’s this guy.
Cresent Hardy was expected to be the milquetoast candidate in the Republican primary for Nevada’s 4th district—especially compared with his competitor for the GOP nod,  Niger Innis, who said that the fight to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling was “very much like the civil rights revolution.”
 
But on Tuesday, Hardy, a Nevada state assemblyman, gave Ennis a run for his money. In an interview with the Las Vegas Sun, Hardy called the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, a federal bill passed by the Senate that prohibits employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, “segregation.”
“When we create classes, we create that same separation that we’re trying to unfold somehow,” Hardy told the Sun. “By continuing to create these laws that are what I call segregation laws, it puts one class of a person over another. We are creating classes of people through these laws.”
 
I’ll confess that I’ve read this quote a few times, trying to make sense of it, but I’ve come up empty. Protecting people from employment discrimination is a “segregation law”?
 
And this guy is a congressional candidate with the support of a major political party?
 
Of course, let’s not forget Washington.
Sen. Ted Cruz says President Barack Obama’s administration is “hostile” to traditional marriage, calling it the most hostile White House in history.
 
The Texas Republican has been plugging his State Marriage Defense Act, a bill he introduced with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) to require the federal government to respect state laws defining marriage between a man and a woman, on a tour of conservative radio. On Monday, Cruz told David Barton and Rick Green’s “Wallbuilders Live” that there’s been a “sad trend” in recent years of advocacy groups using courts to challenge traditional marriage laws.
 
“But it’s also manifested from the federal government, with the Obama administration,” Cruz said. “This administration is the most hostile-to-traditional-marriage administration this country has ever seen.”
So much for relegating divisive social issues “to the sidelines.”
 

Civil Rights, Culture War, ENDA and Gay Rights

Culture war remains on the front burner