Ed Schultz Blames 'Right Wing' for DOMA, Forgets it Was Signed by Clinton

Ed Schultz has quite the work ethic. More specifically, his selective memory does, seeing how it rarely takes a day off.

Yesterday I slammed Schultz's patently deceitful claim that President Ronald Reagan fired illegally striking air traffic controllers in 1981 because, as Schultz put it, "he didn't want to pay 'em." In fact, Reagan wanted the workers to get an 11 percent raise.

On his radio show Thursday, Schultz talked about the Supreme Court hearings this week on legal challenges to Proposition 8 in California and the Defense of Marriage Act. (audio clip after page break)

Schultz being Schultz, he quickly departed from reality while discussing DOMA (audio) --

I find it ironic in the holiest week of the year in the Christian faith, this is what the Supreme Court is talking about, Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, which of course, this is the most intense discussion I think the country has had about this in a long time. There is one party that flocks up a lot of Christians (yes -- "flocks up" -- Schultz says things like that) and the hard right wing and that is the Republican Party. And there is a sense of surrender by many on the right that they're going to lose this. And you know what? It shouldn't change their faith at all, shouldn't change what they believe in or how they feel about it. It's just that they're not going to be able to run society. 

Nine states allow same-sex marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act is all about equal rights. Uh, and striking it down is about equal rights.

Got that? DOMA is "all about equal rights" -- as is striking it down. In other words, to borrow from Kurt Cobain, whatever nevermind. Say what you will about Schultz, the man remains, uh, flexible. More of his views on DOMA --

The Defense of Marriage Act, basically, in a nutshell, as you read through 90,000 pieces of paper on it, it comes down to this -- it bars federal benefits to same-sex couples. And this, of course, gets into end of life issues, insurance issues, health care issues, pay issues, everything, you name it. But it was the right wing's opportunity and legislative push to make sure that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Schultz neglects to mention that it was archetypal right winger Bill Clinton who signed DOMA into law in 1996, after it passed overwhelmingly in Congress -- by a 6-1 margin in the Senate and 342 to 67 in the House. Of those 85 votes in the Senate, 32 came from Democrats. (Who knew so many were right wingers?!). Over in the House, more than a third of the votes, 118, were cast by Democrats. (Ditto!)

After airbrushing Democrats from DOMA's enactment, Schultz parroted a dubious claim I've heard ad nauseum this week --

Now in the arena of faith and religion, no church is ever going to be forced to, you know, perform a ceremony to recognize a marriage. Uh, only in America. Just as we accept other faiths, the Muslim faith, you know what I'm talking about. (Schultz falls back on this when he doesn't know what he's talking about). The Christian faith feels like they're under attack in this country.

Allow me to translate for Schultz -- no church will ever be forced to perform a wedding ceremony for a same-sex couple if gay marriage is legalized nationwide. The claim has become an article of faith, as it were, for proponents of gay marriage. Rarely does a discussion of the subject pass without the assertion being made.

As timing would have it, Schultz said this a couple of days after California attorney general Kamala Harris appeared on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show. Maddow pointed out that Harris was elected in 2010, two years after California voters rejected gay marriage through Proposition 8, and Harris had vowed during her campaign that she would not enforce the ban if elected. Here is what Harris said was her rationale for rejecting Proposition 8 --

And the reason I said that and the reason I have refused to defend Proposition 8 is one simple reason -- it's unconstitutional and it's actually been found by a court to be unconstitutional. And frankly, Rachel, as the daughter of parents who were active in the civil rights movement, I refuse to stand in the doorway of the wedding chapel blocking same-sex couples' ability to marry.

After hearing a remark like that, and from the top state attorney in the most populous state, it's hard for me to believe that proponents of same-sex marriage, if it is rendered legal nationwide, will sit idly by and accept if clergy refuse to marry same-sex couples. Doing so, as Harris sees it, makes those pastors and priests, rabbis and imams, no better than segregationist George Wallace trying to deprive James Meredith of an education because his skin was darker.

Even though the Supreme Court struck down state laws against miscegenation in 1967, clergy can still refuse to marry any couple, including those in mixed-race relationships, at their house of worship. But if gay marriage becomes legal in all 50 states, and clergy who consider it their duty to uphold traditional marriage refuse to marry same-sex couples, is it such a stretch to expect they may face lawsuits for hate crime? And the tax-exempt status now conferred on churches -- ultimately, how sacrosanct is that?

Once was the time that few people thought legalization of gay marriage was possible. Those now refusing to see it as a possibility delude themselves. One wonders what else once considered beyond unlikely may also come to pass.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts