In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s marriage ruling, Scott Walker called the decision a “grave mistake” and pointed out that he personally had voted for a marriage amendment “to defend our constitution from exactly this type of judicial activism.” He proposed “the only alternative left of the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.” He spoke at length about religious liberty, but only as embedded in the existing Constitution and in the Wisconsin Constitution. His position on treating Christian florists, bakers, and photographers as if they were Jim Crow racist has never been made clear:
I call on the President and all governors to join me in reassuring millions of Americans that the government will not force them to participate in activities that violate their deeply held religious beliefs. No one wants to live in a country where the government forces people to act in opposition to their conscience. We will continue to fight for the freedom of all Americans.
The White House reassuring millions of us? We don’t need emotional reassurance from President Obama; we need concrete action from the next GOP president.
Gov. Walker’s most recent rhetoric has not been particularly reassuring. In Red Oak, Iowa, Walker stated that although he supports a Constitutional amendment on marriage, he doesn’t think it will pass. “To me, I think the most appropriate and timely focus for the next president is to focus on defending religious liberties,” Walker said.
We agree. But it’s what he says next that is troubling. Instead of offering any concrete step he will take to defend gay marriage dissenters, Walker once again (as he did after Indiana) points with pride to what he says is good language in the Wisconsin Constitution: “very explicit language about protecting religious liberties,” along with some “anti-discriminatory language.”
Is Gov. Walker proposing new anti-discrimination legislation for gay people along with some kind of religious liberty protections modeled on the Wisconsin Constitution? I don’t know, and neither do GOP primary voters. Given the seriousness of the emerging threats to religious liberty (as underscored by the Chief Justice), this level of vagueness from Scott Walker should not be acceptable to social conservatives.
Gov. Walker must strengthen this response by committing to FADA, or at least to some concrete protective proposal. Simply pointing to the virtues of the Wisconsin Constitution, as if he were running for Wisconsin governor, clearly isn’t enough.
You can see ThePulse2016.com’s full gay marriage report card here.
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at American Principles in Action.