National Public Radio never wants to make a "conservative case" for anything -- unless it's liberal. On Tuesday's Talk of the Nation, they titled a segment "The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage," underlining that a smattering of moderate-to-liberal Republicans filed an amicus brief against Proposition 8 in California.
NPR host Neal Conan's guest was Los Angeles Times legal reporter David Savage, who announced that the gay Left was "brilliant" in going for the "conservative" idea of marriage and military service, and the Supreme Court knows "gay marriage is going to be a national norm and that they don't want to be on the wrong side of history." You know, like Ronald Reagan was on the wrong side of history by fighting the Cold War:
NEAL CONAN, NPR: Now I wanted to ask you about this amicus brief that was on the front page of some newspapers this morning. This is a group of prominent Republicans, many of them formerly opposed to gay marriage, who've come out and told the court there is a conservative case for gay marriage, and we'll argue that.
DAVID SAVAGE, LA TIMES: Yes, I think as we all know, there's been sort of a sea change in thinking on this subject in the last 15, 20 years. You know, in the 1990s when the court first broached some of the gay rights cases, maybe one in four Americans would've been in favor of gay marriage. Now it's more than 50 percent. The justices are very aware of that change. And I also think that justices like Anthony Kennedy know the direction of history. They know that in 10 years, 20 years, somewhere down the road, gay marriage is going to be a national norm and that they don't want to be on the wrong side of history. So I think that whole - this brief only adds to what has been sort of a sea change in think and does - I think it does have some effect on the justices.
NEAL CONAN: It also follows an advertisement, even more prominent Republicans - Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, Laura Bush among them - without their permission necessarily, all sided - quoted as supporting gay marriage in other context, but they are not signatories to this brief.
DAVID SAVAGE: You know, Neal, I head a conservative judge say a couple of years ago, a line that stuck with me, is that one of the really brilliant things about the gay rights movement is that they took on really essentially conservative goals. That is, they wanted to serve openly in the United States military. Remember that, and how big a fight that was? And they want to marry. Committed couples wanted to marry, and some of them wanted to adopt and raise children. Now if you're conservative, how can you be opposed to something like serving in the military and getting married and raising children?
NEAL CONAN: It's a difficult argument, but do you think - amicus briefs normally are, well, window dressing. Is this going to make a difference?
DAVID SAVAGE: No, not one amicus brief doesn't make a difference. But I do think it's part of a trend of just a change in thinking and saying that, yes, many Republicans now think, you know, same sex - gay marriage is a good thing. The country's moving that way, and it should be a matter of - it's part of a larger just change in thinking. And I do think that large change in thinking does affect justices.
Savage has been a liberal agitator for a long time -- back in 1991, he was hammering Justice William Rehnquist as an "extremist" who didn't believe in "civil rights."