LGBT activists are assailing Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski for affirming traditional marriage after a video surfaced online Tuesday showing him objecting to same-sex marriage and transgender people being allowed to use restrooms designated for the opposite sex.
Nowakowski, a Catholic Democrat, made his comments last month while speaking to a group of Christian pastors about a controversy over public prayer at council meetings.
“I never thought I would see the day that men and men would be married,” Nowakowski said. “Or where people were allowed to go into the same bathroom as my daughter. This world is changing, and it’s time for us to take the leadership and change it back to the way it should be.”
Equality Arizona, one of the state’s most prominent LGBT rights groups, pounced on Nowakowski, calling his comments “an outrageous statement of bigotry,” and LGBT activist Leonard Clark labeled it a “hate statement.”
The LGBT group was joined by the city mayor, as well as a series of other public figures, who denounced the councilman in chorus for his opinion.
“I am shocked that a council member who represents so many LGBT individuals in the heart of our city would hold such homophobic views,” said Mayor Greg Stanton in a statement. “I condemn these ignorant comments in the strongest terms, and hope and pray the councilman will open his heart and begin to appreciate the diversity of the people he represents.”
When the Supreme Court issued its woeful 2015 ruling imposing same-sex marriage in Obergefell v Hodges, the four dissenting justices foresaw that the decision would be used as a stick with which to beat those who uphold traditional marriage, and their predictions have come true with a vengeance.
Equality Arizona’s board of directors is reportedly considering targeting Nowakowski in a recall election. They have also scheduled a Thursday morning news conference at the Phoenix Pride LGBT Center to chastise him publicly.
Lucien Greaves, co-founder of the Satanic Temple, an American atheist activist organization, chimed in as well, condemning Nowakowski as a “theocratic liar.”
— Lucien Greaves (@LucienGreaves) March 10, 2016
Nowakowski apologized for his comments in a statement Wednesday evening, noting that it is often difficult for him to personally reconcile LGBT issues as a practicing Catholic, but reminding people that his voting record shows he supports protecting the rights of LGBT people.
In his powerful dissent to the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, Justice Samuel Alito predicted that the decision would be employed to defame and persecute people holding traditional beliefs regarding marriage.
“It will be used,” he wrote, “to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy.”
“Perhaps recognizing how its reasoning may be used, the majority attempts, toward the end of its opinion, to reassure those who oppose same-sex marriage that their rights of conscience will be protected,” Alito wryly observed.
“We will soon see whether this proves to be true. I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.”
The violent reaction to Nowakowski’s comments proves how right Alito was in his estimation of the effects of the ruling. Nowakowski, in fact, has consistently voted in support of LGBT rights, but that is insufficient for the contemporary Thought Police. He must also believe in their cause even in private.
“By imposing its own views on the entire country, the majority facilitates the marginalization of the many Americans who have traditional ideas,” Alito wrote.
The Justice concluded that the ruling would have far more sweeping consequences than the majority intended, and indeed spelled a major defeat for judicial restraint.
“Today’s decision shows that decades of attempts to restrain this Court’s abuse of its authority have failed,” he wrote.
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