I missed the first act of this story when it happened last year, but what that means is that now I can relay the whole story, including the follow-up. Last May, Senator Jeff Sessions argued that "sexual orientation" should not be a relevant consideration for a Supreme Court justice. Playing the good dhimmi-to-liberalism, Senator Sessions pretended that the phrase "sexual orientation" used in such a context (when we're discussing what would happen if Obama were to appoint a "gay justice" to SCOTUS) just means thoughts and feelings in one's private mind and has nothing whatsoever to do with one's actions. He referred delicately to a person who "acknowledges that they have gay tendencies." Not, you know, a person who is proudly and openly living with his male homosexual partner or anything. Sessions evidently didn't want to talk about that.
Neither did Bruce Hausknecht, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, who told "The Plum Line" that sexual orientation “should never come up....It’s not even pertinent to the equation.” Judicial philosophy, said Hausknecht, is everything. And Ashley Horne, Focus's "federal policy analyst," echoed the statement.
"Someone's sexual orientation or their preferences, none of these things should come into consideration when we're talking about evaluating someone who will make decisions based on precedent under the law [and who will] practice judicial restraint," Horne explains. "Those are the things we look at for whether or not someone would make a fit justice on the Supreme Court."
Of course, the very idea that the first openly homosexual Supreme Court Justice, appointed by President Obama, would have an originalist judicial philosophy and do what Horne means by "practicing judicial restraint," is laughable, but Horne and Hausknecht felt they had to say the politically correct thing.
It was only with the follow-up this year that I learned about what Focus had said a year ago.
In March (but I received an e-mail reporting the event just last week), Tom Minnery, Vice President of Public Policy at Focus on the Family, sent the following "clarification" to the group Americans for Truth about Homosexuality:
It has been reported that we would not oppose any U.S. Supreme Court nominee over their ’sexual orientation.’ Our Judicial Analyst [Bruce Hausknecht] made a statement to this effect in an interview with The Plum Line. To be honest, this is one of those conversations we’d like to ‘do over.’ We can assure you that we recognize that homosexual behavior is a sin and does not reflect God’s created intent and desire for humanity. Further, we at Focus do affirm that character and moral rectitude should be key considerations in appointing members of the judiciary, especially in the case of the highest court in the land. Sexual behavior–be it heterosexual or homosexual–certainly lies at the heart of personal morality.
I actually give Focus a lot of credit for making so overt an admission that they messed up. The "do over" phrase is a good one, despite the word "clarification." It's quite clear that Hausknecht and Horne were saying something different from what Minnery is saying. They were clearly saying that a homosexual openly living in a homosexual relationship, proud of his so-called "orientation," where that of course includes the insistence that sexual acts based on that "orientation" are perfectly normal and moral, could be no problem whatsoever for a SCOTUS nominee if, per impossible (though they didn't admit that), he had what they consider to be the right "judicial philosophy." In fact, Hausknecht went so far as to say that such an "orientation" should not even come up, should not even be part of the "equation." Minnery, on the other hand, is saying that a SCOTUS justice should have good moral character and that openly living the homosexual lifestyle is contrary to a good moral character, so that is part of the equation.
I applaud Focus's correction. But how in the world did those statements last spring come to be made at all? Who authorized them? How significant is it that they came from two different Focus representatives within the same month? And...might this have anything to do with the fact that James Dobson stepped down as board chairman of FOF in February of that same year?
For extra reading: Here is a leftwing blogger criticizing some other statements by Ashley Horne--this time on hate crimes enhancements of punishment on the basis of "sexual orientation." I'm afraid I have to agree with him that her position, if her statements were accurately reported, is less than logically stellar.