Mike Huckabee is a staunch opponent of equality for gays, especially when it comes to marriage rights. According to Mike Huckabee, "I support and have always supported passage of a federal constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. ...My personal belief is that marriage is between one man and one woman, for life." Mike Huckabee's idea for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage doesn't just define marriage as between "one man and one woman," but also as being "for life." Depending on the wording, this would eliminate divorce — and no-fault divorce has been one of the targets for the Christian Right for decades.
That Mike Huckabee's position on gay marriage is ultimately without foundation and even incoherent, consider what he said in an interview with GQ magazine:
Ten years ago, it would have been unimaginable to have gay marriage even in liberal Massachusetts. Now it’s there.
I don’t think the issue’s about being against gay marriage. It’s about being for traditional marriage and articulating the reason that’s important. You have to have a basic family structure. There’s never been a civilization that has rewritten what marriage and family means and survived. So there is a sense in which, you know, it’s one thing to say if people want to live a different way, that’s their business. But when you want to redefine what family means or what marriage means, then that’s an issue that should require some serious and significant debate in the public square. And if you look at states that have had it on the ballot—I know in our state it was a 70-percent-against issue. Most states are similar to that.
Source: GQ [emphasis added]
So, rewriting what marriage and family mean leads to the end of civilization, and legalizing gay marriage will therefore lead to the end of Western Civilization? I wonder if Mike Huckabee can name just one civilization which has ended entirely or even largely due to their rewriting the nature of marriage and family? That's a question which the interviewer should have asked — with such a dramatic claim, Huckabee should have been able to provide several examples to support his case.
A second and perhaps more illuminating question is: can Mike Huckabee provide any examples of any societies which have redefined the nature of marriage or family? There are many, of course, but I am curious if Huckabee can identify any. If he can, then he knows of marriage and family being redefined without civilization ending; if he can't, then he is ignorant of how the nature of marriage and family have changed over the course of human history.
Examples of such changes include: polygamy has given way to monogamy, wives as property without rights have given way to wives as equal partners, and marriage for the sake of property and survival has given way to marriage for love and personal fulfillment. Many more equally significant changes could be listed and all were part of substantial changes in society as a whole — very good changes, too, though not all religious conservatives will agree. What's significant here is that all the changes were, as far as I know, opposed by religiously orthodox, conservative, and traditionalist forces — just as those forces are opposing gay marriage. The pattern is both consistent and predictable.
Mike Huckabee also opposes civil unions for gays:
Because it really is a precursor toward marriage. Once the government says this relationship is in essence similar to or equal to a marriage—we’re not going to call it that, but that’s what it is—and you grant it the same basic rights as marriage, then you’ve effectively done it.
In this case, Mike Huckabee is almost correct. Civil unions with all the same rights as marriage are, in effect, marriage without the name — but they are only being offered as a second-class relationship so that straights can keep the coveted "married" label for themselves. This is just another case of the powerful and privileged trying to create a "separate but equal" category for oppressed minorities. Mike Huckabee is right to oppose civil unions, but for all the wrong reasons.
Mike Huckabee's deep-seated anti-gay animus is amply demonstrated by how he reacted to AIDS in the 1990s:
In 1992, Huckabee wrote, "If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague."
"It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents."
Mike Huckabee has refused to recant or retract these words. Even if we accepted as plausible his excuse that people suffering from a "plague" should be isolated from the rest of the population because the dangers are so serious, how can that be squared with the idea that it's so unimportant that it doesn't need so much money to research it? If the threat is big enough for quarantine, it's big enough for significant research; if it's not worth so much government attention on research, it's certainly not enough of a threat to warrant large-scale quarantining of victims. I get the impression that Huackbee would have preferred to see AIDS patients die isolated, alone, and quickly.
Mike Huckabee also opposes gays being allowed to serve openly in the military, an issue which has nothing to do with "traditional" marriage or AIDS. The only justification for this is because of the anti-gay bigotry of so many others in the military; any policy which is adopted to protect the feelings and ideology of bigots is itself necessarily also bigoted. Thus all of Mike Huckabee's policies regarding gays comes back to the single factor of bigotry towards gays — not wishing to treat them as fully equal members of society.