Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, gearing up for another Republican presidential campaign, took his message to CNN yesterday, making the case against marriage equality. One of his arguments received more attention than the other, but they were both pretty striking.
Huckabee’s description of homosexuality as a “lifestyle,” for example, was a reminder of his appeal to social conservatives. “People can be my friends who have lifestyles that are not necessarily my lifestyle,” he said, adding, “I don’t drink alcohol, but gosh – a lot of my friends, maybe most of them, do. You know, I don’t use profanity, but believe me, I’ve got a lot of friends who do. Some people really like classical music and ballet and opera – it’s not my cup of tea.”
To be sure, this is tiresome – even Huckabee should try to understand at this point that sexual orientation is not a lifestyle choice. But all things considered, it’s more of a run-of-the-mill anti-gay argument. It was the rest of Huckabee’s case that stood out for me.
While he admitted there is “room in the tent” for Republicans with different beliefs on the issue than his own, the pastor and potential 2016 contender said that expecting Christians to accept gay marriage is “like asking someone who’s Jewish to start serving bacon-wrapped shrimp in their deli … or like asking a Muslim to serve up something that is offensive to him, or to have dogs in his backyard.”“We’re so sensitive to make sure we don’t offend certain religions, but then we act like Christians can’t have the convictions that they’ve had for 2,000 years,” Huckabee said.
Remember, Huckabee has been active on this issue for many years, and this is apparently the best argument he can make against marriage equality.
The response, meanwhile, is simple. First, the definition of marriage has already changed several times over the last two millennia, so it’s not exactly outrageous to think societies will continue to evolve as respect for diversity grows.
Second, when the owners of the Jewish deli that doesn’t want to serve “bacon-wrapped shrimp” publicly declares, “Bacon-wrapped shrimp is an abomination that should be banned everywhere, by law, regardless of personal freedoms,” Huckabee should certainly let me know.
And third, it’s interesting that Huckabee takes issue with certain “lifestyles” – people who drink alcohol, people who use profanity, people who enjoy classical arts – but it’s only gays who, he argues, should be treated as second-class citizens in their own country.