We’re down to the last few days before the Supreme Court rules on marriage. In the mean time, the National Organization for Marriage is asking all of the GOP presidential candidates to sign an anti-equality pledge. Let’s take a look at just how crazy this pledge gets.
There are a couple reasons NOM’s pledge is nuts. Look at what they’re asking all of the candidates to agree to. First, they want candidates to support a constitutional amendment to ban marriage nationwide. This will never happen. George Bush called for an amendment back in 2004 and that went nowhere. Since then, public support for marriage equality has gone from 35 percent to 55 percent — if they couldn’t get any momentum behind an amendment then, they’ll never get politicians to spend political capital on it now.
But they don’t stop there. NOM also wants candidates to “work to overturn any Supreme Court decision” in favor of the freedom to marry. That just isn’t how things work. Presidents don’t get to overturn Supreme Court decisions. NOM wants the president to only nominate judges who will uphold marriage bans, but at this point, legal consensus so strongly supports marriage equality that supporting marriage bans is a sign that person isn’t qualified to be a judge.
Third, they want the candidates to reverse all the recent new policies that recognize same-sex spouses. That would mean returning to the days of kicking spouses out of hospitals, denying health care, deporting bi-national couples, removing gay couples from the census, denying funeral leave when a spouse dies, separating family members in emergency shelters — this is how it used to be until just a few years ago. And sure, a president could take us back to that. But they’d look pretty monstrous.
Fourth, NOM wants the candidates to weaken civil rights laws, creating loopholes to let companies and citizens to discriminate if they cite a religious justification. That could actually happen — and it already has in some states — so it’s a huge concern. And fifth, they want the Department of Justice to investigate harassment against people who oppose marriage equality. Sure, gays and lesbians are harassed every day, fired, kicked out of their homes and schools, separated from their families … but NOM gets a little criticism and suddenly they want a federal investigation.
If a candidate signs this crazy pledge, it means one of two things. Either they have no intention of keeping their word, or they know they have no chance of being elected so they might as well make promises they know they can’t keep. NOM issued a similar pledge in 2012, and most of the candidates signed it. We’ll see if the same thing happens this time. After all — NOM may not even exist by the time the election rolls around.