Don't Look Under The Robes

Judicial tyranny in California.

The Supreme Court of California has made history this week.  In a 4-3 ruling, the LA Times reports,

The California Supreme Court struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage Thursday in a broadly worded decision that would invalidate virtually any law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.

For all of recorded human history, the foundational unit of society has been the family, represented by a male and female who live together as husband and wife.  There have been variants: many millions of people have lived in cultures which allowed a man to have more than one wife, and there have been a handful of places set up around a wife having more than one husband; but never in all of time has the concept of same-sex marriage even been an issue.  In the last few years, though, millennia of experience is being cast away out of hand, as we enter into uncharted social waters.

This is not necessarily bad.  The world has changed more in the last century than in all of time before.  Modern technology and the welfare state has freed women from the necessity of having a man, and modern medicine has freed sex from childbirth.  A fiery debate has raged for decades over whether or not this is good, and that debate will surely not be settled here.

Similarly, Western culture is now almost wholly settled around the singular importance of each individual's personal desires without hindrance of responsibilities or morals; in this view, what business is it of the government who an individual wishes to live with, to sleep with, or to privately contract with?

We are not going to argue the merits or otherwise of homosexual "marriages"; that is being well handled by hundreds of other writers.  In the near term, the consequences of the actual decision are not terribly relevant.  What is of primary concern and dismay is the totally wrongheaded way the decision was made: by robed tyrants pontificating from on high.

We expect absolute rulers to make unilateral decisions changing everything top-down.  The king of Bhutan, for example, decreed that his monarchy was now a democracy, and ordained that elections take place.

They duly did, despite the fact that the people of Bhutan were quite content with their king and saw no particular reason why they wanted to deal with normal politics.  The election happened; the votes were counted; and the winning party was the one whose primary policy was... allegiance to the king.  Oh well, better luck next time.

The United States, however, is supposedly already a democracy.  It is not necessarily wrong to overthrow thousands of years of tradition - after all, until a few hundred years ago it had never even crossed anyone's mind that there might be something wrong with the institution of slavery and that slaves might not be ordained by fate to be chattel.  What is deeply wrong is making this sort of a change by fiat, without the approval of the people.

This doesn't have to be by a vote.  Slavery was abolished in the United States, not peaceably by the legislature, but in the crucible of a horrendously bloody Civil War.  But the people had their say all the same, in that they fought in the war.

One side wanted to keep slavery; the other wanted to abolish it.  There was a clear victor and a clear loser, and that was the end of the matter.  If the homosexual activists truly feel this to be an absolutist moral issue, then perhaps they should call for secession of San Francisco if they can't get what they want any other way; then, when the fight is over, we can see who won and move on.

Failing that - and let's hope it doesn't come to that, for goodness' sake! - the appropriate way of dealing with this is through the existing political processes.  It's not like campaigners for either side are lacking in money.  They can and do run candidates, lobby politicians, buy ads, and do all the normal things that any other lobby group does.

And just a few years ago in 2000, Californians had the opportunity to let their opinions be heard, as is right and proper.  They did so very clearly: 61% voted for Proposition 22, stating that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California."  What right have these judges to say that 4 of them are wiser than millions of the voters?

The initial decisions of the civil rights era came from courts, but this was because the will of the people was not able to be heard in any other way.  The whole point of Jim Crow was to keep blacks from voting; if there'd been a free and fair election, that would have been the end of any sort of discrimination forthwith.  The Supreme Court quite rightly got involved because there was a failure of democracy itself.

Nothing could be further from the case here.  Nobody is preventing homosexuals from voting, from making their arguments, from buying ads, or from running for office themselves; quite the contrary.  They've made their proposals in a fair fight, and lost fair and square.

They can fight again, and again, as many times as they like; that's what politics is all about.  Shortcutting their agenda via the court is nothing less than cheating, and is undemocratic in the extreme.

You'd think the lesson of Roe v. Wade might have been noted.  Prior to that fateful decision, feminists were making steady progress towards bringing about legalized abortion in most states.  Since the Supreme Court crammed a new "right" down the throats of Americans in an undemocratic fashion, though, our politics has become ever angrier and more vitriolic, precisely because the normal political process was short-circuited.

Judicial arrogance touched off a low-grade civil war in which people actually die and over the years, the frontiers of abortion have been pushed further and further back.  It's not unreasonable to suppose that, without that court decision, abortions would be freer and more readily available today because the opposition would not have been so energized by the unjust procedure.  Even many liberals now recognize that Roe v. Wade was a bad decision, harmful to their side in the long run.

But no, the justices of California's Supreme Court have utter disdain for democracy and contempt for the lowly voters who express opinions they disagree with.  Under the black robes of "justice" can be seen, ever more clearly, the scarlet cloak of an absolute monarch.

The further our justice system gets from justice and common sense, the more the contempt will be returned.  Time for impeachment proceedings before it is too late.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Politics.
Reader Comments
As someone who lives in Massachusetts, where the exact same thing happened a few years back, I can honestly say it's all much adieu about nothing. In fact, in the years since it's been allowed, the world didn't stop revolving, Armageddon never arrived, and even the staunchest anti-gay marriage activists have moved on to other 'issues.' So, to put it succinctly, it's just not that big a deal. And sometimes people have to be dragged along, kicking and screaming, into doing the right thing.
May 21, 2008 8:03 AM
And what makes it the "right thing?" In Massachusetts, the overwhelming majority of voters supported a constitutional amendment to ban homosexual marriages. But the legislature, which according to the constitution has to review it before it goes to the voters (not approve, just review) flatly refused to do their duty. Even a liberal judge castigated them for that.

Almost 2/3 of the California voters are opposed to homosexual marriage there too.

So what, exactly, gives the judges the right to legislate from the bench over the expressly declared will of the people?

Yes, Massachusetts keeps right on moving... on down I95 and the Mass Pike, into other states as refugees from the People's Republic of Taxachusetts, as businesses have been doing for years? Remember the Rt. 128 Corridor, that used to be bigger than Silicon Valley? Not no mo...
May 21, 2008 4:02 PM
Patience and the author make solid points. "Doing the right thing" (if that's really what you want to call it) doesn't appear to have had a good effect. Business and consumers have flooded out of states that have made bad decisions with taxes and regulation. And citizens have flooded out of states that legislate from the bench. You can't "drag people kicking and screaming" in a country that lets people move where they want to go and do what they want to do. Sorry.
May 21, 2008 4:06 PM
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