Chad’s Morning Brief: Some Republicans Open Up to Minimum Wage Compromise, Mozilla and Gay Marriage, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of April 4, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
Gay Marriage, Mozilla, and Culture
Is it okay to be against gay marriage? The resignation of the CEO of Mozilla is just further proof that the tolerance movement is only tolerant of those that they agree with. As The Editors of National Review point out, if you oppose gay marriage you are not conforming and you might be in trouble.
In 2008, Barack Obama and Brendan Eich both were against gay marriage. Senator Obama averred his support for the one-man/one-woman view of marriage, while Mr. Eich, a cofounder of the Mozilla web-browser company, donated $1,000 to support Proposition 8 — a California ballot initiative that had the effect of making Senator Obama’s avowed marriage policy the law in California, at least until a federal court overturned it on the theory that California’s constitution is unconstitutional. Barack Obama inexplicably remains, as of this writing, president of the United States of America, but Mr. Eich has just been forced out as CEO of Mozilla because of his political views.
The various tendencies that operate under the general heading of “gay rights” have had an extraordinary run of it in the past several years, in both the political and the cultural theaters. We now have a constitutional right to commit homosexual acts (Lawrence v. Texas), while Facebook offers at last count 56 different gender options to its users (trans with or without asterisk, genderqueer, neutrois, and two-spirit among them). Having won the battle in California, the sore winners are roaming the battlefield with bayonets and taking no prisoners. Mr. Eich’s donation had been a matter of public record for some years, but Eros is a jealous god, and he will have blood from time to time. Mr. Eich’s elevation to the chief executive’s position provided occasion for critics within his firm and without to make an example of him.
This is, of course, pure poison. This is not a matter of law but one of culture, and not a question of means but of ends. Mozilla, to say nothing of its partners and customers, is free under the law to hire and fire executives for almost any reason it sees fit (with exceptions; it surely would have faced civil-rights litigation if it had fired him for advocating gay marriage), and OKCupid, which boycotted Mozilla in protest of Mr. Eich’s views, is perfectly within its rights to do so, as were the protesting employees.
Or are they? The courts have held that bakers and photographers cannot withhold their services from gay nuptials, and California law forbids both discrimination and the creation of a hostile work environment on religious or political grounds. But, no, that way madness lies, and we are positive that the American legal imagination will come up with a rationale under which an evangelical’s declining to do business with a homosexual is illegal but the reverse is perfectly legal, if not mandatory.
Again, it is in this case a matter of culture. The nation’s full-time gay-rights professionals simply will not rest until a homogeneous and stultifying monoculture is settled upon the land, and if that means deploying a ridiculous lynch mob to pronounce anathema upon a California technology executive for private views acted on in his private life, then so be it. The gay agenda of the moment is, ironically enough, to force nonconformists into the metaphorical closet. If through the miracle of modern medicine you end up with five sets of mixed genitals, you’ll get your own section in the California civil-rights statutes; cling to nearly universal views about marriage for a few months after it’s become unfashionable, and you’re an untouchable.
Unless, that is, you’re the anti-gay-marriage candidate that all the pro-gay-marriage people voted for in 2008, in which case you get a pass, apparently on the theory that everybody assumed you were being willfully dishonest for political reasons. (That assumption provides a relatively rare point of agreement between homosexual activists and the editors of this magazine.) There simply is to be no disagreement, no dissent, and no tolerance for other points of view.
Vindictive fanaticism is not the mark of a healthy civil society — but it is not entirely a question of that. Civil-rights laws are being deployed to coerce members of religious minorities into falling in line with the demands of those who hold political power. Arrangements that allow anonymous donations to political groups are under constant attack, so that nonconforming donors can be subjected to the treatment handed down to Mr. Eich. In other countries, there are speech codes policing what may be said and written about the subject, and there are those among us who wish to emulate them.
Mr. Eich has been denounced as a bigot. It is worth noting, for those who make this charge, that so far as the public record is concerned, he has never registered an opinion on the morality of homosexuality per se, and his firm is as welcoming of gay employees as any in its industry. All he did was write a $1,000 check to an organization dedicated to the previously unremarkable proposition that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, a position that was endorsed by the voters of California and is held today by many people of good will, including some who are gay themselves. Even the gay nonconformists are being hunted down, as Brandon Ambrosino of Vox discovered when critics demanded that he be dismissed for holding unapproved views regarding same-sex marriage.
The spectacle should be an embarrassing one, especially for those gay Americans who take a more liberal view of political disagreement than their self-appointed leadership does. It is one of history’s little ironies that some of our current batch of prim-faced, puritanical, intolerant, and miserable thought police call themselves, of all things, “gay,” something they manifestly are not. The treatment handed out to Mr. Eich by them and their non-gay supporters is contemptible. It is also, unhappily, likely to be a precedent.
According to The Hill, some Republicans in Congress are warming up to the idea of raising the minimum wage.
Senate Republican centrists are reacting coolly to Sen. Susan Collins’s (R-Maine) effort to reach a compromise on the minimum wage, imperiling progress on President Obama’s top economic agenda item.
Collins needs to bring along at least four Republican colleagues and perhaps five — depending on how Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) votes on the issue — to move a minimum wage boost through the Senate.
Centrist Republicans who teamed up with Collins to forge a bipartisan deal to extend unemployment benefits for five months say they are not interested in another compromise to boost the minimum wage.
Without the support of other Republicans, the Democratic proposal to raise the federal wage floor above its current level of $7.25 an hour appears doomed to fail on a party-line vote.
“I would not be going along with a compromise. If that came to a vote, I would oppose it,” said Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.), one of five Republicans who last week crafted a bipartisan deal on unemployment benefits.
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who spearheaded the negotiations on unemployment assistance, said the minimum wage is an issue best left to the states instead of the federal government.
“I think Nevada solved the problem,” said Heller. “I think it’s a state issue.”
Heller said Nevada set its own minimum wage at $8.25 an hour and indexes it to inflation.
“I think there’s a difference between North and South, East and West on what those minimum wages ought to be,” he added.
He noted that Nevada law requires the minimum wage to be a dollar higher per hour than the federal wage floor. He said if Congress raises the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and indexes it to inflation, Nevada could soon have a $15-an-hour wage threshold.
Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), another centrist Republican who supported this week’s agreement on unemployment benefits, said he would not be inclined to support a minimum wage compromise.
“I don’t think so. Ohio has a higher minimum wage actually indexed to inflation,” he said.
Ohio’s minimum wage is $7.95 an hour.
He said his state would lose jobs if Congress enacted the steeper wage trajectory supported by President Obama.
Collins says she has reached out to Democratic and Republican colleagues in recent days to find a compromise that would raise the minimum wage to a level below $10.10. She has emphasized a Congressional Budget Office report estimating that $10.10 an hour could cost 500,000 jobs. The same report projected a raise to $9 an hour would likely cost only 100,000 jobs.
“I’m confident that the votes are not there to pass a minimum wage increase up to $10.10 therefore it seems to me to make sense for senators on both sides of the aisle to get together and see if we can come up with a package that would help low-income families with causing the kind of job loss that the Congressional Budget Office has warned against,” she said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said a vote on minimum wage legislation would come up before this work period ended but now it appears it may slip until after the two-week April recess, which begins on April 11.
The Senate still has to finish work on the unemployment benefits package and then Democrats want to turn to the Paycheck Fairness Act next week. That would leave little time for minimum wage legislation.
“It's undetermined at this stage whether we can have a vote on minimum wage next week,” Reid told reporters Tuesday.
The delay could help Collins round up more support for a possible compromise.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who is facing a competitive re-election race, said the details of Democratic legislation raising the minimum wage to $10.10 need to be reviewed.
“I definitely believe that we need an increase in the minimum wage. I do not believe that $10.10 an hour is too high to aspire to but how quickly we get there and what increments, the tipped wage, how that should be handled — who should get paid the tipped wage and who shouldn’t. There are a lot of questions about that and some of those discussions are going on,” she said.
Landrieu said she would vote for $10.10 an hour but added “we need some discussion about how we slowly get to $10.10.”
The first hurdle to passing the Democratic legislation will be to muster 60 votes to proceed to the measure.
Collins warned that Reid will not get enough Republican support unless he promises to allow amendments to the minimum wage bill.
“That depends on whether or not Sen. Reid is going to allow amendments and so far he hasn’t said,” she said.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Reid’s deputy, said Democratic leaders have yet to decide how to handle the process for considering the bill.
The only thing Republicans should be talking about right now is Obamacare. Obamacare and the destruction it has caused to jobs and the economy.
Other Top Stories:
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