Dereliction of Duty

Detail of 'Lucifer', by Franz von Stuck, 1890.

Six years is a long, long time. Well, no, not really, but we’re talking about Americans, so yeah, it’s a long, long time. To wit, two phrases from 2008: “flyover country” and “Middle America”.

The phrases were intended to invoke a cultural split whereby the wholesome, Christian states in between the coasts are under constant assault by anti-Christian elites in coastal metropolitan centers.

Which, in turn, makes it really easy to poke fun at “Middle American” and “traditional family” values. And that aspect begs a specific question: What part of these “values” demands abject cruelty?

The writing is on the wall for gay marriage bans in Kansas, Montana and South Carolina after federal appeals courts that oversee those states have made clear that keeping gay and lesbian couples from marrying is unconstitutional.

But officials in the three states are refusing to allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses without a court order directing them to do so. It could be another month or more before the matter is settled.

In a political campaign debate Monday, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback vowed to defend his state’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. A federal court hearing is scheduled for Friday.

There seems little doubt that U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree ultimately will set aside the state’s gay marriage ban. That’s because the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, encompassing Kansas and five other states, has said a state may not deny a marriage license to two people of the same sex.

(Sherman)

According to John Eastman of the National Organization, while it is true that heterosupremacism has reached the end of its rope, refusing to respect a federal court “remains a viable option”.

Gov. Sam Brownback (R-KS) swore an oath of office before assuming office:

I do solemnly swear [or affirm, as the case may be] that I will support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the state of Kansas, and faithfully discharge the duties of ______. So help me God.

And what does that mean to Mr. Brownback? Apparently, it means he will not perform his duties except under court order.

But why? How does one justify such dereliction of duty?

The thing is that Brownback is in a difficult election, and hopes to rally support among what counts as the “moderate” bloc of Sunflower State voters. But if they re-elect Brownback, what do they get? He can’t stop marriage equality.

In this photo taken Sept. 6, 2014, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback speaks in Hutchinson, Kansas. The writing is on the wall for gay marriage bans in Kansas, Montana and South Carolina after federal appeals courts that oversee those states have made clear that keeping gay and lesbian couples from marrying is unconstitutional. But officials in the three states are refusing to allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses without a court order directing them to do so. It could be another month or more before the matter is settled. In a political campaign debate Monday, Brownback vowed to defend his state’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. A federal court hearing is scheduled for Friday.(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)What he can do is continue to wreck the state’s finances so that the conservative hope to weaken government to the point it can be drowned in the bathtub might come true.

And while the question once again arises why anyone would hire the candidate who says the job cannot and should not be done, the point only goes so far in consideration of the fact that Kansas conservatives don’t really give a damn about truth, logic, or wisdom.

In the end, Brownback is using his office, which is sworn to support the constitution of the United States, to withhold constitutional rights from Kansas citizens. We can say whatever we want about the stupidity of such a position, but it means nothing as such if Brownback is re-elected.

However, Brownback’s dereliction in Kansas makes a specific point about “traditional family values” in “Middle America”: Cruelty is a Kansas value.

It’s a similar situation in South Carolina, but we already knew about cruelty as a Palmetto virtueα. The Montana case is less clear, as Gov. Steve Bullock backs marriage equality in word. For reasons unclear, despite the Ninth Circuit ruling striking marriage bans including Montana’s, gay couples are heading back to court in late November in order to compel the state to issue marriage licenses.

This is a disgrace. These derelictions of duty are dishonorable, and stain the reputations of those states.

And in the end, the only reason is abject, even rabid cruelty.

And there you have “Middle American values”.

____________________

α Palmetto cruelty is not limited to homosexuals; South Carolina also has some sort of objection to treating women decently, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Sherman, Mark. “3 states deny gay unions despite appellate rulings”. Boulder Daily Camera. 23 October 2014.

State of Kansas. “Chapter 54, Article 1: Oaths and Affirmations—General Provisions”. Kansas Statutes Annotated. 2009.

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