Vice President Joe Biden’s endorsement of marriage equality isn’t anything new; he’s been at this same point for about a year now. Biden can speak freely because he isn’t running for office; Obama can’t speak freely because he is running.
Not only is same-gender marriage “the issue of 2012” – it’s been the issue of 2012 since 2009; over 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 16 federal lawsuits were filed across the nation challenging the constitutionality of state and federal bans on same-gender marriage, including the 40% pay cut for military personnel with same-gender spouses. Despite the Republican House wasting millions of taxpayer dollars trying to defend marriage bans, all their efforts so far have failed, and all the plaintiffs are winning their cases, both in the trial courts and in the appeals courts. In 20 states, marriage equality is a prominent issue during 2012, because of eight state ballot issues, 19 proposed state laws, and 16 court cases.
None of the civil laws, constitutional amendments, or religious prejudices are about “same-sex issues,” because the United States ceased regulating all sex relations between consenting adults in 2003. The current debates are solely and entirely about same-gender relationships, and the 1,138 federal benefits that are automatically available to all opposite-gender couples, and always denied to all same-gender couples. That’s what everyone now is trying to regulate – or de-regulate.
Romney didn’t fire his gay foreign policy advisor; extreme conservatives demanded the ouster of all open gay Republican staffers, so Romney’s advisor quit rather than stay in a job that he was told he would never be allowed to perform. To save face, the advisor claimed that his need to quit was due to “partisan” bickering, but no Democrats were involved; his ouster was forced entirely by Republican, right-wing, evangelical dominionists.
Dominionists are the most powerful – and least known – force in the Republican party today. Whereas the now powerless Tea Partiers embrace publicity, the dominionists shun it, which is why no one else is aware of them yet. But they are the next wave of angry, stop-at-nothing extremists, and they’ve already begun their assault on the Republican leadership. It remains unclear when, how – or even whether – Republican leaders can repel them, but Romney’s cowardly capitulation last month doesn’t bode well for him or for any of his handlers.