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Yet more evidence that "conservatives think, liberals feel"

This morning's Boston Globe has an op-ed written by a former campaign advisor to the state's Attorney General, Tom Reilly, taking him to task over the drive to put gay marriage before the people to vote.

To recap: any petitions for public referendums in Massachusetts have to be certified by the Attorney General as valid. Critics cited a law that referenedums can't be used to overturn court decisions. Reilly looked at it carefully and said that while he opposes the move, it doesn't attempt to do that, but instead bring about a Constitutional Amendment.

I read Mary Breslauer's piece in the Globe very carefully. And it's very well-written. It outlines her own history of working with Reilly, the history of the gay movement in Massachusetts, how Reilly had worked with that community on many major issues, and the incredible sense of betrayal they now feel after he refused to kill the petition drive.

What's lacking anywhere in the piece is an argument that what Reilly did was wrong.

Oh, she goes into great detail about the morality and ethics of it, but not the legalities. Reilly saw his legal obligations and his sworn duty clearly, and did what he had to. After careful scrutiny, he determined that he had no choice but to let the petition drive continue.

I've long been a supporter of gay marriage. But both my own belief in the democratic process and my own analytical abilities tell me that unless it is done with the approval (even grudging) of a majority of the population, it's doomed to failure. Attempts to bring it about by legislative or executive fiat have been met with fierce resistance and backlash, with the advocates often ending up in a worse position than they started. Look at Vermont, or San Francisco, or that podunk town in New York where the mayor started issuing gay marriage licenses willy-nilly.

If the advocates have a compelling, valid argument (and I believe they do), let them make it to the people. Let the people decide. That's the way it's supposed to work, and that's the way it has to work.

Comments (11)

I agree Jay, and that is wh... (Below threshold)

I agree Jay, and that is why I disagree with the California legislature, which has pushed a bill allowing gay marriages in the state of california (when previously, the population of the state of CA had, under a proposition, voted against such things).

The counterarguement to "co... (Below threshold)

The counterarguement to "conservatives think, liberals feel" is (most) conservatives' reaction to gay marriage. It all seems to be based on the feeling that gay marriage is wrong, rather than substantiating facts.

Today, I grant you, that is... (Below threshold)

Today, I grant you, that is a VERY easy impression to have. The "liberal" in me almost has to cringe. (And I would, but I'm still busy enjoying the caliber of Roberts' ah- judicial character -if I may say so.)

The problem with asking a l... (Below threshold)

The problem with asking a liberal to engage in the process is that they will only agree to do so IF they kave a "feeling" ahead of time that it will be to thier advantage. IMO they are used to having activist liberal judges do their footwork when they know that the odds are stacked against them. They will not bring this issue to the "public court" because they know (just as you and I do) that they do not have a majority on their side. Basically, they will work the system from any angle they can. At times this means fairplay and at others it means circumventing the system. It really is nothing new.

It all seems to be based... (Below threshold)

It all seems to be based on the feeling that gay marriage is wrong...

My opposition is based on logic. Marriage as presently constituted is a union of one member of each of our two sexes.

Change that, and there is no logical reason why marriage should remain a union of only two individuals.

Now, if stripping away the logic of two-partners-only marriage is what one wants, I would expect there to be facts and logic to explain why it's a good thing.

If we're to believe that somehow, magically, marriage will always be a union of two persons regardless of sex, there will need to be some facts and logic to support that assertion.

My opposition to homosexual... (Below threshold)

My opposition to homosexual marriage is based on logic also.

First and foremost, homosexuals have the same rights as heterosexuals to marry. So there is no discrimination. Secondly, if one redefines marriage to be a union of two people that love each other, think of the consequences. Can a brother and brother (or sister and sister) be married??? Should polygamy be prevented too?? After all, I'm sure the husband would love his many wives. And if, you are in favor of homosexual marriage and answered no both those questions, why are you limiting the definition of marriage??? Is it because its wrong??? Furthermore, schools will be required to talk about diverse marriage possibilities. Can you imagine your son (or daughter) being asked in elementary school: Now who would you like to marry Johnny, Betty or James?? Disgusting. I don't want my child exposed to immoral behavior before I feel they are ready. For all these reasons and more, homosexuals should not be allowed to marry.

I am for Gay Unions, that w... (Below threshold)

I am for Gay Unions, that will give homosexuals the same rights as Married couples. However, I am against the term Gay Marriage, as marriage traditionally had been a union between two people that have made a commitment to society to raise children. When a two men or two women can produce a child, than I will change my stance.

if one redefines marriag... (Below threshold)

if one redefines marriage to be a union of two people that love each other, think of the consequences. Can a brother and brother (or sister and sister) be married??? Should polygamy be prevented too?? After all, I'm sure the husband would love his many wives. And if, you are in favor of homosexual marriage and answered no both those questions, why are you limiting the definition of marriage??? Is it because its wrong???


Your argument assumes that people are unable to make fair, rational judgments about individual moral problems- once you tolerate and normalize one new behavior, you're doomed to tolerate and normalize them all.

If an opponent of the death penalty worried, "If we don't end capital punishment, pretty soon our country will be executing jaywalkers!", I don't think anyone would take him seriously.

Your post underscores the r... (Below threshold)
Bat One:

Your post underscores the real importance of the judicial selection process. Sadly, too few people are capable of the distinction you highlight between support for one side of a particular issue or a particular public policy goal, and the underlying and much more important question of the correct, constitutionally acceptable means of achieving that goal.

Ironically, it is very much the same conundrum for a substantial number of people where the issue of abortion is concerned. With the exception of those whose support for abortion is adamant and institutional, many others recognize that the issue of abortion itself aside, the Roe decision was erroneous because the question of abortion is more properly a public policy or legislative matter, rather than a question of some far-fetched constitutional right to be decided judicially.

As I have posted at Pennywit.com, the question of Roe and abortion itself is really the only substantive issue on the Democrats’ agenda at the Roberts’ confirmation hearings. Questions over the value of judicial precedent, stare decisis, “equal rights” and the “right to privacy” are really all codeword phrases for the Democrats, attempts to sneak up on Judge Roberts rhetorically and pin him down on the question of Roe v. Wade.

Over the years, we have become accustomed to sharp partisan divides and the accompanying assumption that what cannot be accomplished legislatively as part of the political process, compromises and all, should be summarily dictated by a sympathetic judge unwilling to impose the necessary and constitutionally requisite self restraint. The end, in effect, justifies the means.

And in the end, we are all the worse off for the harmonic imbalance with which we have burdened, and diminished, our system of governance.

Andrew, are there facts<... (Below threshold)

Andrew, are there facts or logic to back up your feeling that the slippery slope won't come into play if the pro-SSM movement succeeds?

Hmm. So, then, by your reas... (Below threshold)

Hmm. So, then, by your reasoning, Jay, the Civil Rights' movement should have simply waited for a majority of people in the Southern states to come around to the notion that black people should have the same rights as white people? Lest we forget, most of the Jim Crow laws were struck down by federal "fiat".

We have a Bill of Rights, specifically so that no American may fall victim to the tyranny of the majority. Granted, that Bill of Rights says nothing specific about marriage. However, it remains that we have enshrined in legislation a set of rights (medical visitation, bereavement, etc) that are denied to small minority of citizens.

McGehee and Ed: You brandish the words "facts" and "logic" as if they were magical talismans protecting you from OH NOES TEH GAY. Both sides of the debate can construct factual, logical arguments supporting the position. The problem is that we do not share the first principles necessary to bring us to the same conclusion. You believe that homosexuality is wrong in some fundamental, moral sense. I do not. And these positions color both of our arguments, to the extent that every reasonable step we take polarizes us further.

Sadly, the stakes are bit too high to agree to disagree.






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