Sam Brownback has identified what he thinks will be the first big wedge issue in the 2008 presidential election. Apparently he thinks that gay marriage will be more important to the Republican base than the Iraq war, the economy or anything else. Given the behavior of the religious reich, he's probably correct.
I'm not sure if his latest action is a retreat from that position or not. Certainly his remarks around the nomination of Janet Neff to the federal bench leave me wondering just what the hell he's thinking... Ms. Neff had attended the same-sex union ceremony for the child of a close friend sometime during the past couple of years. Brownback had blocked her nomination to the bench because he thought that attendance would affect her impartiality on future cases involving same-sex marriage. His fallback position was that he would un-block her nomination if she'd recuse herself from all such future cases; something legal scholars thought highly illegal and possibly unconstitutional.
So here's what I wonder: If Janet Neff's attendance at a same-sex union calls into question her impartiality, doesn't attendance at any kind of marriage do the same?
I mean to be absolutely impartial (an absolute impossibility anyway), a judicial nominee would have never been married, attended a marriage or even sent a wedding present.
I think Sam Brownback is backing himself into an irrelevant corner.