All in the Name of Civil Rights
From the town hall to the courthouse, the same-sex marriage movement has been characterized by a willingness to disregard law and democratic practice. (Which isn’t surprising, from a crowd that goes so far as to declare a desire to defend a pivotal cultural institution to be bigotry.) California Attorney General Jerry Brown is the latest to shirk his duties and infringe on the civil rights of a majority of citizens in the name of liberty:
In a December 19 press release, the attorney general said: “Proposition 8 must be invalidated because the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights without compelling justification.” He thus endorsed the idea that marriage, as it has always been understood, is so grossly contrary to California’s constitutional principles that an amendment protecting that understanding cannot be allowed into the constitution even if duly enacted by voters. …
All of this serves to confirm the worst fears of Proposition 8’s supporters. The political and legal elites of the state have done all within their power to endorse the idea that support for traditional marriage is the rankest kind of bigotry that does not deserve even a nominal word in its favor by government officials.
If Proposition 8 does not hold, this new dogma will be the official state policy — and this in spite of a clear legal mandate of the voters of the state to the contrary.
A court order invalidating Proposition 8 would also give the supreme court a super-constitutional power, above the amendment process provided for in the text of the constitution, to determine what subjects are germane to constitutional lawmaking by the people of the state. There is no other way to understand this new theory that a manufactured and unenumerated “right” can become so “fundamental” that it can no longer be the subject of a simple amendment. And, of course, who will decide whether a right has attained this stature? The California supreme court.
This turn of events highlights two of the three (often willful) blind spots of those who wish the whole icky argument would just go away:
- That the philosophical basis and emotional drive will not stop with the imposition of same-sex marriage and will advance to egregious trampling of Americans’ rights of conscience, association, and religion.
- That among those trampled rights will also be the right, via democratic means, to shape the nature of one’s government and society.
It defies reason and historical experience to think that the arguments and processes that bring same-sex marriage to the nation despite the people’s wishes (and interests) will not become tools for further assertion of an ideological agenda, even in ways entirely unrelated to marriage, family, and sexuality.
The third blind spot overlooks the likelihood that radical changes to the very essence of the meaning of marriage will indeed affect families — as always, with emphasis on those who are most vulnerable.