If you’d just quit while we’re ahead…

Recently, it finally gelled to me why I resent the Boston Globe — and its ideological compeers — so much: it’s that they have no real sense of “fair play.”

Two editorials in the last couple of days brought that to me.

First up, they had another of those “Saddam was hanged too quickly” pieces. Apparently, to the Glob, being convicted of about 150 murders wasn’t enough; he should have stood trial for every single death he ordered throughout his reign of terror, spending years — if not decades — in the docks until he had been held accountable for each and every single innocent life he caused to be snuffed out, and then — and only then — should sentence have been passed.

This should not be taken as an expression of concern that justice be served, however. Rather, this was an exercise in onanistic jurisprudence, where we slog through endless trial after trial until Saddam finally does the world a favor and cheats the hangman like Slobodan Milosevic did, thus keeping our collective hands clean of his demise.

And in the end, if many of his victims or their loved ones feel cheated because Saddam did not die as a result of a legal execution, but allowed to pass peacefully of natural causes, that’s too bad. They shouldn’t be so bloodthirsty in the first place.

Next up, they decried the Massachusetts legislature’s shameful and disgraceful decision to obey their Constitutional duties and vote on the Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Let’s sum up the matter: gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts because of two factors: the utterly craven and cowardly legislature refusing to take any action, and advocates doing everything they can to avoid any sort of public plebiscite, rather choosing their tactics to bypass elected officals and ballots and referendums, hoping to appeal to unelected officials.

They took their measure not to the legislature or the people, but to the courts, and eventually managed to persuade 4 of 7 of the commonwealth’s highest justices that yeah, even though no one had really noticed before, the state Constitution did actually allow gay marriage. The court dawdled for a bit, warning the legislature that if they didn’t do something to resolve the matter, the justices would. The lawmakers did as is their wont (nothing), and thus by a single person’s action did gay marriage come about.

Opponents of gay marriage who had seen their adversaries take the low road — and win — chose to take the high road and fight back. Since the Supreme Judicial Court had said that gay marriage was implicitly protected by the Constitution, by golly they’d fix that by amending the Constitution so there would be no question. They looked up the rules on how to amend the Constitution and got to work.

The process is a complicated one, if you’re starting from the grass roots. You have to garner a LOT of signatures on petitions, and then submit them to the Legislature. At that point, the lawmakers have to meet in joint session and vote on it. If only one-quarter of the lawmakers vote in favor of it, it passes. And then next session it has to pass again, with at least one-quarter in favor. Opponents have to muster more then 3/4 of the combined body to kill the measure. Once it passes twice, it goes on a statewide ballot for approval.

Well, supporters of gay marriage found a way to spike the wheels. While the Constitution explicitly says that they have to vote on it, there was no way that order could be enforced. Instead of needing to muster 150 votes to kill the petition, they could get by with only 101 votes if they simply refused to bring the petition up for a vote before they ended their session. The other two branches of government protested, but neither the Governor nor the Court could find any way they could compel the lawmakers to obey the Constitution.

Somehow, though, the petition did come up for a vote. (Kind of a belated Christmas miracle — justice prevailing in Massachusetts.) And opponents mustered 136 votes to kill the petition, while only 62 voted in favor. But that was more than enough to keep the petition alive.

According to the Globe’s editorial, the opponents of gay marriage should have just quit once they lost the fight before the Supreme Judicial Court. All their efforts since then, in following established legal and Constitutional procedures to change it, were wrongheaded and mean-spirited and just plain bad. And those lawmakers who put the Constitution — and their oaths to obey it — over catering to the Globe’s pet cause are disgraceful and wrong.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I support gay marriage. (And sooner or later I’ll write another piece arguing why I believe it.) But I believe more in the rule of law and of following established legal principles and policies and procedures. I don’t think that gay marriage is so important as to trash whole systems of checks and balances, of the people’s right to affect the law.

Pity the Globe doesn’t feel the same respect.

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