Did presidential candidate Mike Huckabee compare gay marriage to slavery? Washington Blade journalist Rebecca Armendariz says “Eh, maybe…”

Consider this exchange from Fox News Sunday:

Host Chris Wallace: Now, Thompson and McCain both talk about leaving abortion and gay marriage to the states, the way, in the case of abortion, it was before Roe vs. Wade ever became the law of the land in the first place. Why isn’t that good enough, basically making this a federal issue and leaving it up to each state?

Mike Huckabee: Well, it’s the logic of the Civil War. If morality is the point here, and if it’s right or wrong, not just a political question, then you can’t have 50 different versions of what’s right and what’s wrong.

Again, that’s what the whole Civil War was about. Can you have states saying slavery is OK, other states saying it’s not?

If abortion is a moral issue – and for many of us it is, and I know for others it’s not. So if you decide that it’s just a political issue, then that’s a perfectly acceptable, logical conclusion.

But for those of us for whom this is a moral question, you can’t simply have 50 different versions of what’s right.

The crux of Armendariz’s confusion comes in Huckabees singular phrasing: “This is a moral question,” which leads the well-intentioned journalist to wonder whether he’s referring to abortion and to gay marriage, or simply abortion. Armendariz writes:

Was Huckabee lumping the two of them together? He says “this is a moral question” and not “these are moral questions.” While he’s not exactly a champion for gay rights, is it logical for us to believe that he was comparing the right to keep slaves to the right for gays to marry? I’m unsure.

We’re not sure, either, but we really doubt it. It seems to us that Huckabee simply wanted to discuss federalism, which, we agree, doesn’t make any sense when dealing with national rights. The slavery analogy ain’t anything new: right-wing folk have been using it for years. In their minds, invoking slavery – which is bad, of course – reminds Americans that we need to have universal laws, as our forefathers proved with abolition. Unfortunately, in Huckabee’s Republican world, that argument can be used against gay people: states should not be able to create their own marriage laws. We need an overarching, all encompassing rule on gay nuptials. While we understand Huckabee’s rationale, we wish he would use it for good instead of evil.

As for the slavery debate: Armendariz submitted a clarification question to the Huckabee camp. We’re not holding our breath for a response.

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