Same-Sex Marriage Intolerance at CPAC

Gay Marriage

Gay Marriage

While they disagreed on whether same-sex marriage should be allowed, all four speakers who took the stage agreed that by no means should government impose that over individuals religious liberties.

Guy Benson of Townhall, Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation, Mollie Hemingway from The Federalist, and Ilya Shapiro of the CATO Institute each brought their own nuanced perspective on gay marriage, with the differences mainly accruing to the view of the legal standing of Obergefell v. Hodges, and gay marriage as a whole.

“Personally I was very pleased with the outcome of the decision, I hope to find the right person and get married some day,” Benson, himself gay, said, “I was not entirely sure it was sound legal reasoning, so I found myself in an interesting position of agreeing the decision made… but having some concerns about how the court reached the decision.”

“There’s nothing in the U.S. Constitution that speaks to same sex marriage,” said Anderson, who’s view is that marriage should be left to the voters, “I personally find [Anthony Kennedy’s opinion] to be a very poor philosophical reflection on what marriage is.”

Religious liberty ended up being the main focus of the panel however, and it was here where the panelists were all in relative agreement. Cases such as the ones involving bakers and florists who have been sued and compelled to service a same-sex wedding were roundly condemned, and in no uncertain terms.

“What we’re seeing is more crushing of dissent at a tiny local level,” said Hemingway, “And they’re being targeted not even by the law, but by a media environment which is just on the rampage.”

The bullying of the left to crush dissenting opinions seemed to gather more condemnation than either side of the actual marriage question gave to the other, and spurred the crowd’s reaction more as well.

“You guys have seen those coexist bumper stickers that they love on the left? It’s like a little morality billboard on your fender to demonstrate what a wonderfully good person you are,” Benson said, “What coexistence really looks like in America today is disagreeing with someone on marriage and not trying to sue their business out of existence because they disagree.”

“Toleration assumes disagreement,” Hemingway said, “You don’t tolerate people you agree with, you agree with them. You tolerate people you disagree with.”

Benson began the panel by having the audience raise their hands for those who opposed same-sex marriage, those who supported it, and those who hadn’t really made their minds up or didn’t care. This was a relatively even split in the room, reflecting changing attitudes amongst conservatives, with about 32 percent of Republicans supporting same-sex marriage in 2015.