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So much for "the cradle of democracy..."

Massachusetts has quite a bit of justifiable pride in its role in American independence. Many key events in the Revolutionary War occurred in the Bay State, including the "shot heard round the world" at Lexington, the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre, the battle of Bunker Hill, and so on. Massachusetts proudly proclaims itself as "the cradle of democracy."

But it appears that democracy has outgrown that cradle, and moved on.

In the latest development of gay marriage, supporters are once again turning to the courts for succor, hoping that procedure will trump the sheer numbers of their opponents.

A brief recap: a few years ago, a gay couple filed suit for the right to marry, citing the state's anti-discrimination statutes. The court held up hearing the case for a while, sending signals to the legislature that if they didn't address the matter, the courts would. The people filed petition after petition both for and against gay marriage, and in each and every case the legislature refused to act. Finally, by a 4-3 vote, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that gay marriage was legal. Then the opponents started petition drives for a state Constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage, defining marriage as only between one man and one woman. They quickly gathered more than twice the number of signatures, well in excess of 120,000.

But once again the activists are looking to prevent an actual public discussion and vote on the matter. They have filed a suit with the same Supreme Judicial Court that made the initial ruling, asking that the petitions be dismissed as improper.

The grounds they are citing are utterly specious. Massachusetts law bans any lawsuit designed to overturn a single court ruling, and they say that is what this petition does.

It does not. It is aimed at changing the state Constitution, the basis for the ruling -- not the ruling itself. By the principle that the gay marriage supporters are using, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments that outlawed slavery would have been ruled improper, as they were aimed at overturning the Dred Scott ruling.

Once again, I am a supporter of gay marriage. But I have always said that it must be done properly, with the support -- or at least the apathy -- of a majority of the people. I predicted when the court's ruling came down that it would unleash a torrent of backlash, causing years of struggle, and most likely setting back the cause of gay rights by years, if not decades. I take no pleasure in being proven right here -- the most recent push not only banned gay marriage, but non-marriage "civil unions" as well. Once it became clear that the supporters had absolutely no interest in compromise, the opponents stopped offering them concessions -- it's become an all-or-nothing struggle for both sides.

And the gay marriage opponents seem to have vastly greater numbers on their side. Sooner or later, that has to count for SOMETHING -- even in Massachusetts.


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Comments (20)

The grounds they are cit... (Below threshold)

The grounds they are citing are utterly specious. Massachusetts law bans any lawsuit designed to overturn a single court ruling, and they say that is what this petition does.
Bans any law, or lawsuit. If the latter, a petition for a new (or change in an existing) law is not a lawsuit, therefore an easy dismissal. If a law, then a little harder to work around, but still doable.

Hmmm. A select group of une... (Below threshold)

Hmmm. A select group of unelected elites dictating the law to their subjects without feedback or voice to their concerns allowed at all. Didn't Massachusetts go to war with England over something like that?

The sheer arrogance here is galling.

I wonder if they got any tea handy in Boston. I am quite willing to throw these supercilious bastards a party.

The petition is neither a l... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

The petition is neither a law or a lawsuit. It's a petition asking for the question to be put on the ballet. Any law that bans voters from petitioning the government is itself unconstitutional.

That's "...put on the ballo... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

That's "...put on the ballot."

And the gay marriage opp... (Below threshold)
Matt:

And the gay marriage opponents seem to have vastly greater numbers on their side. Sooner or later, that has to count for SOMETHING -- even in Massachusetts.

Well, at least the gay marriage opponents can out breed the gm supporters.

Has anyone considered that the state just needs to stop regulating marriage?

"Has anyone considered that... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

"Has anyone considered that the state just needs to stop regulating marriage?"

That's what I've been sayin'

It's so easy to forget that... (Below threshold)
Anon:

It's so easy to forget that democracy involves not only rule by the majority but also the protection of minorities against majority tyranny. That's what's happening here, and your failure to recognize that reveals something either about your general education level or about your cynical and dishonest manipulation of history.

"Well, at least the gay mar... (Below threshold)

"Well, at least the gay marriage opponents can out breed the gm supporters."

You "breed" dogs and horses, not people. Do you think I picked my wife because I thought that she was a good recepticle for my precious genes? Do you think I married her for her breeding potential? What you are expressing is a common belief in the gm community. The belief that gay marriage is the same as straight marriage, then denigrate straight people who do not agree with your position.

Yep, us edumercated breeders win because we hump out kids so durn fast, ye betcha.

How about this:
No one opposing this judicial fiat, this inventive interpretation of the "right" of gay "marriage" hates the gay community or really wants to see them unhappy.

It is just that our culture is not comfortable with the idea of it. That is the way it is. Rather than going the way of "Scientific Socialism", which believes that the human animal is mallable, perhaps you might present your arguments in such a manner as to change our minds on the subject. If possible.

Not, repeat, not running to the nearest judge so he can make puddums feew aww better.

What we really object to is the Mandarins of Massachusettes deciding to "interpret" a framework of government to fit their ideological notions. Without feedback from the voters, or legislative framework, or executive order. Nothing but a group of unelected elitists in black robes dictating to the unwashed masses what their rights mean.

Judicial activism is really not a good way to describe this kind of mendacity. Judicial TYRANNY is a better description.

If a group does not like the way they are being treated in a body of law, the best way to change that law is to get a majority of elected representatives to agree with their views and change the law that way. Or perhaps convince the people themselves that the law needs to be changed.

But shopping for a pliant group of judges to get your so-called "rights" read into the constitution smacks of tyranny. Suing to stifle the will of the voters through the most direct means at their disposal, the initiative process, is even more offensive.

That is what the supporters of this ballot measure object to. That is what I object to. Consider carefully that the ballot measure in dispute does not revoke the marriage liscences already made out. What it does do is prevent any more "marriages" from taking place.

If you don't like it, perhaps you might start an initiative process of your own.

"It's so easy to forget tha... (Below threshold)

"It's so easy to forget that democracy involves not only rule by the majority but also the protection of minorities against majority tyranny."

*cough* Excuse me, I am gagging on the creeping fog of moral relativism here.

So can you point to examples of this kind of "tyranny" then? Besides people objecting to their voice in the republic being stifled by the Mandarins of Massachusettes, that is.

Are you really going to tell me that the gay community is oppressed? Maybe 20 years ago, but today? If gay people were really oppressed, do you think that movies like "Brokeback Mountain" and TV shows like "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" would be so phenominally popular in our consumer culture? I have been through Boston a couple of times, and did not see too much gay-bashing.

You need to re-think who is really being "tryannized" here. I didn't see the defense of marriage people run to the courts every other day. I don't see them trying to sue, countersue and tie up the ballot process with vaporous legal idiocy.

I do see them going directly to the people through the initiative process.

Or perhaps you would rather live in a "Scientific Socialist " utopia, Komrade. Because that is what you are advocating. A small body of unelected judges dictating what the law is in defiance of the framework set into writing in the Massachusettes and US Constitution by reading these documents with their eyes closed.

May I suggest Cuba?

In any event, I hate the idea of unaccountable Mandarins telling me what my rights are. I can read the Constitution. I can even read it minus the ideological myopia these tyrannical judges have. I denounce these kinds of actions, and will continue to fight for my voice to be heard. In a legal way, of course.

I will never resort to trying to get the law changed to suit my ideals through the courts. As a previous commenter to this thread has said, any suit barring the initiative process is inherently unconstitutional. Any attempt to do that should get the judges recalled.

If you're straight, has gay... (Below threshold)
Ed Kane:

If you're straight, has gay marriage ruined your marriage or affected your marriage in any way whatsoever?

If so, then I suggest you contact the folks in New Orleans who claim that Hurricane Katrina was caused by gay people. I'm sure you'll have lots to discuss.

I applaud people who are legally fighting for their rights as Americans. If they have to do it through the courts then so be it, that's one of the many ways our system works.

I applaud people who are... (Below threshold)

I applaud people who are legally fighting for their rights as Americans.

I don't. The political backlash these people are inviting by fighting it in the courts will not be pretty -- except to Phelpsies.

Jay Tea has this right: with popular sentiment, anything can be accomplished; against popular sentiment, nothing can be accomplished. Even the Emancipation Proclamation would have failed had not the public come around to accepting the idea after months of Civil War.

Um, where did I say any of ... (Below threshold)

Um, where did I say any of that? Can you quote me? Or do you enjoy placing words in people's mouths?

I have already stipulated I am straight by saying that I have a wife. Or do you think she is a sex-change freak? Do you know something I do not?

Besides, everyone knows that NOLA was caused by Bush hating black people and blowing up the levees. Farrakhan said that, and it seemed to resonate in the "African-American" community. They gave a BET award to the man.

The system is broken if "the people" are having their rights to free association through the initiative process trampled by judicial fiat.

May I suggest that you take a course of remedial civics, or perhaps read the Constitution. Or both. The legislative branch creates law, the executive branch acts directly as a quick-reaction problem-solver to fix problems (paging Catherine Blanco!) and the courts decide if the legislation passes constitutional muster. The purest and most direct form of law creation is through the initiative process. Something that I take very personally when attacked, as I share this right with the people of MA. (I live in WA BTW)

What happened here is the courts breaking their mandate to create law. They do not have the right to do this. Period. This does not pass legal muster. Period.

Moreover, I strongly object to the abrogation of the rights of the people by attempting to squash this initiative. Such a "grass roots" efforts are cherished by the left-but only when it supports their tender notions.

I am not really objecting to gay marriage itself, something that I thought I made abundantly clear. I am objecting to the framework of our system of government. There is a way to do that, you know. A legal way, built into the federal and state constitutions. Perhaps you have heard of it:

The amendment process.

But that would never work. The GLBT lobby knows very well that their ideas would never pass a REAL constitutional muster. So they run to their pet judges.

Arrogant bastards.

Turn this on its head for a moment. What would you say if a group of Scaaawwy Evangelicals got some idiot judge to "read the right" of "one man, one woman" into the Constitution. Would that be acceptable? Why not?

Surely the Evangelicals are a minority in Massachusettes. If they screamed loud enough, I bet they could find a legal loophole to get some empty-headed judge to rule for.

Sorry, the last had a bad t... (Below threshold)

Sorry, the last had a bad typo. Instead of "I am objecting to the framework of our system of government." It should be "I am objecting the bold attack to the framework of our system of government."

This issue is a poster chil... (Below threshold)
Nahanni:

This issue is a poster child for why the Democrats and LLL's are so desperate to retain control of the courts. It is the only way they can push their agendas while ignoring the will of the people. You see, the LLL's think they are so much "smarter" then us and know what is "good" for us. Unfortuantely for them they haven't quite yet figured out how to deny us voting rights...yet. They do a good job in places they control with voting fraud.

As they say in Nicaragua:<b... (Below threshold)

As they say in Nicaragua:
"Vote early, vote often!"

The real issue here is the ... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

The real issue here is the arrogant usurpation of what is a right inscribed by law ( statute) or expressly described in a constitution by the left. there has never been a right to gay marriage in the constitution of the state of Massachusetts or of any other state in the United States or for that matter in the US constitution. the arrogance lies in the assumption there is such a right and framing the argument on that basis that it is discriminatory not to allow gay marriage. it is in this high handedness that causes the left to loose a valid point. the correct way would have been to petition for a ballot to pass a gay right of marriage amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution, it probably would have passed. instead in the arrogance of the court there will be a likely backlash against gay marriage. in other words, people prefer to be persuaded rather than be dictated too.
Those clever ones on the left who shop venues and litigate ought to ponder this thought experiment. an anti abortion group might do the same and file a discrimination suit against the State and US for depriving a fetus of it's right to life both under the due process clause and as a protected right under the disability statues. they won't be amused if their tactics were used against them.
Remember the same court that ruled in Brown vs the school board also ruled in Plessy vs Ferguson and upheld the fugitive slave act. Political controversies ought to be settled by the political process rather than bastardizing the courts.

Any two people can spend as... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Any two people can spend as much time together as they want. But marriage is not an inherent individual right, it is conferred by society. It's about how society treats a couple and its always been executed by a 3rd party which is a high ranking representative of society (Judge, Priest, or Witch Doctor).

Therefore the majority being tyrrants over a minority doesn't apply.

If marriage is treated without regard to the sentiment of the majority, it loses its value. This can be seen in countries that have enacted gay marriage seeing falling marriage rates.

Hmmm.I am opposed ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

I am opposed to gay marriage because that irritates gays just as much as their judicial activism annoys me.

And I'm enjoying it immensely.

One word about gay marriage... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

One word about gay marriage-YUCK

A character in one of Louis... (Below threshold)
Mark:

A character in one of Louis L'amour's books told a man "Just because your granddaddy was a great Indian fighter doesn't mean you are". Well, just because MA was in the lead in the Revolutionary War doesn't mean they give a crap about individual rights or majority rule now.

If they did, they wouldn't be losing population. Steadily.




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