Malacandra.me

One step forward two steps back

One step forward two steps back

by digby

If people think it's impossible for progress to ever retreat, I would suggest they think again. This new Roberts majority is going to either whittle away at abortion rights or ban it altogether. These are extremists and they will do it. Gay people can't afford to let their guard down either. Look at what's happening in this Indiana Senate race:

Months after Sen. Joe Donnelly asserted during his successful 2012 Senate campaign that marriage is between a man and a woman, he came out in support of same-sex unions. Now, as the endangered Democrat campaigns for re-election, Donnelly has touted his support for gay marriage including recently marching in the Cadillac Barbie Indiana Pride Parade.

“Joe is proud to stand with LGBTQ Hoosiers,” his campaign said in a June fundraising appeal that led with a photo of the parade.

When even moderate Democrats like Donnelly in solidly red states such as Indiana proudly announce their support for gay marriage, it shows how united the party is on the issue as public support also grows.

But Republicans are still bitterly divided.

As Donnelly marched in the pride parade, Indiana Republicans were fighting over whether the party should continue to back marriage as a union “between a man and a woman.”

Mike Braun, the Republican hoping to knock off Donnelly this fall, sided with the social conservatives and urged the party to keep that language in the state party platform.

“There was an overwhelming part of the party that wanted to stick with traditional marriage,” Braun said in a recent interview.

Though not the hot-button issue it was before the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry, gay rights continue to be contentious in Indiana.

Wounds haven’t healed from the 2015 fight over the “religious freedom” protections signed into law by then-Gov. Mike Pence, and fight over the law is still being litigated. Meanwhile, social conservatives have pushed back against efforts to pass a hate crime law that would allow judges to impose tougher sentences for crimes motivated by factors such as gender identity and sexual orientation. Indiana is one of five states without such a statute.

Nationally, gay rights groups are concerned that Brett Kavanuagh, President Donald Trump’s choice to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, will be a vote to erode LGBTQ rights. (Kennedy cast the pivotal vote in 2015 to strike down state bans on same-sex marriage.)


Joe Donnelly is at the rightward edge of the Democratic party on many issues. But he, like most of America, accepted marriage equality. The right-wing has not done so. The Trump evangelicals have not done so. And they are currently in the driver's seat. Don't assume that Kavanaugh and his buddies believe that's settled law either. They are radicals. Nothing is settled that they don't want to be settled.