Peder D4

Discussion of politics and other odious things

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gay Marriage

I'm a supporter of gay marriage (snapshot reasons: good for gay people as individuals, good for marriage as an institution). I've been following the debate in the wake of the Prop 8 vote in California. Per usual in this discussion, I'm bothered by the vitriol of my fellow supporters. The California blacklist for those who donated to 'Yes' strikes me as pretty thuggish.
There are two basic methods of deciding the law in our country. The first is through the people, either directly (like California's propositions) or indirectly through a legislature. The second method is through judicial rulings.
I'd much rather have difficult social issues work through the people than through judges. It gives them a legitimacy that they otherwise don't have. For instance, the 19th Amendment settled the suffrage question in a way that the courts never could have. And that goes double for the Civil Rights work of the 60's. By comparison, Roe v Wade has made the abortion debate rage hotly ever since it came down (and for the foreseeable future).
When I talk to other supporters, I always notice how heated they get at the idea that mere voters could possibly make decisions on the rights of others. Not quite sure if they understand how the Bill of Rights and the other amendments were set up. I've got one question that I've always wondered about and never gotten a good answer about:
  • If serious issues are only to be decided by judges, what role does the electorate really have in our society?



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