Debate Magazine

The Right Wing 'Tenther' Hypocrisy on Immigration and Marriage

Posted on the 23 May 2013 by Doggone
The Right Wing 'Tenther' Hypocrisy on Immigration and MarriageCross-posted from MN PP:
Closely associated with right-wing-nuttery are the so-called ‘tenthers’, those who support an oddly unconstitutional view of the 10th amendment relating to states rights.  For those of you not familiar with the various ‘flavors’ of right wing think, here is a handy summation from Wikipedia on the topic which saves me hurting my brain trying to sum it up:
The Tenther movement is a political ideology and a social movement in the United States that espouses that many actions of the United States government are unconstitutional.[1] Adherents invoke the concept that the states share sovereignty with the federal government and with the people by citing the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution as the basis for their legal and ideological beliefs:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Adherents believe that political authority enumerated in the United States Constitution as belonging to the Federal Government must be read very narrowly to exclude much of what the national government already does.[2] They argue for the recognition of limited sovereignty of the States.[3] Opponents use the term in order to draw parallels between adherents and 19th century states’ rightssecessionists, as well as the movement to resist Federal Civil Rights legislation.[4]Adherents oppose a broad range of federal government programs, including the War on Drugs, federal surveillance, and other limitations on privacy and civil and economic liberties, plus numerous New Deal legislation to Great Society legislation, such as Medicaid, Medicare, the VA health system and the G.I. Bill.[2]
, it has been argued by tenthers that the 2003 Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which invalidated sodomy laws in all U.S. states where they remained, was an unconstitutional federal intrusion into what should have been a states’ rights area; from the tenther perspective, “there clearly is no right to sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution” and “the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards”.

In Congress this past week, Vermont Senator Leahy had introduced legislation to the Immigration reform under discussion which would allow couples in states which recognize same-sex marriage to apply for same-sex spouse green cards.  Twelve states, like Minnesota, like 11 other states, already recognize same-sex marriage, and a number of other states, notably Illinois and Michigan are in the process of recognizing it.
What other right wing senators, like Lindsey Graham, did was to pressure Senator Leahy to withdraw his amendment to the legislation, indicating that inclusion of full and equal recognition of same sex marriage at the state level was a ‘deal breaker’. It’s toss up where the greatest concentration of tenthers reside – South Carolina or Texas; Loopy Lindsey has been an outspoken tenther on more than one occasion; his selective amnesia is an indictment to his sincerity.
This is ironic, given that it is precisely these same bigoted homophobes who tend to be the loudest and most strident supporters of states rights.  It shows the right up for the rabid hypocrites and bigots that they are, for supporting states rights to define marriage, and then denying the states the right to define marriage when they don’t happen to like the definition of some states.
It’s time to repeal DOMA. It is past time for the SCOTUS to overturn federal laws that do not recognize same-sex marriage, NOT because of the tenth amendment, but because that is unfair federal discrimination.
While I appreciate WHY Leahy removed his amendment from consideration, it’s time to stand up to right wing bigotry and homophobia, and it is time to call out conservative hypocrisy.  That needs to be true at the local, state, AND federal level.  Minnesotans fought hard for marriage equality, because this move is an attempt to negate what Minnesotans have fought for so very hard this year.  It is wrong for Lindsey Graham and others to try to deny us what they claim they wanted, so long as state definition of marriage went their way.  Either states define marriage, or they don’t; they can’t have it both ways; but they will try if we don’t push back, hard.


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