In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Berkeley law professor John Yoo takes issue with Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling that California's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Yoo says that he favors gay marriage as a matter of policy, but that:
Federalism will produce the political durability that supporters of gay marriage want. If states steadily approve, a political consensus will form that will be difficult to undo.
Consider, by contrast, abortion. Roe v. Wade (1973) only intensified political conflict at a time when the nation was already moving in a pro-choice direction. That decision...poisoned our politics, introduced rounds of legislative defiance and judicial intervention, and undermined the neutral principles of constitutional law.
I don't disagree that relying on courts, rather than the political process, to advance our rights carries the risk of a backlash, and certainly Jon Rauch strikes a similar note in his recent column on the California ruling.
But I suspect abortion and marriage equality really don't resonate on the same level among most conservatives, apart for the hard-core religious right. Consider Glenn Beck's interview with Bill O'Reilly (discussed in my last post), in which Beck refused to label gay marriage as a threat and quoted Thomas Jefferson that "if it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket, what difference is it to me." But when O'Reilly asked him about abortion, Beck responded, "Abortion is killing, you're killing."
For most people who oppose marriage equality, their unease over giving a stamp of approval to gay relationships (and by that they mean gay sex) just isn't in the same league with stopping the abortion mills that result in the murder of unborn babies, sometimes just before birth and at taxpayer expense.