Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Carpenter On The People Who Need Enemies

Star columnist Dan Carpenter does a good job pegging what the California gay marriage decision means to Eric Miller and his stooges in the state legislature. Calling the California decision a "Pyrrhic victory", Carpenter explains:

Until the nation's largest state validated a basic right for gay couples, it appeared that the morals militia Miller leads was unlikely to muster another push toward a constitutional amendment to "defend marriage" in Indiana.

After failing to get the measure through the required two consecutive legislatures, Miller had moved over to the property tax bandwagon. Gay couples, meanwhile, continued to live together, and rear children, and be denied marriage under state law, and all was safe in the heterosexual bedrooms and divorce courts of Hoosier values. The Indiana General Assembly could look around for other work to do.

Now, however, the Great Fear has become available for whipping up again, and crusaders such as Miller, state Rep. Eric Turner and Rep. Brian Bosma are mounted and helmeted anew. The cannons of pious rhetoric and preposterous stereotypes are firing. The roaring rallies in opposition to unseen enemies who perpetrate domesticity are in our near future. The re-election campaigns have their visceral alternative to complex issues.

Darn those activist judges. What do they think they are, a branch of government?

Well, we can't stop Miller, Bosma, Turner et al. from being the fear mongers they are on this issue, but we can continue to focus attention on what the full impact of what they propose to do in the form of a constitutional amendment is. The proponents of SJR-7 continually assured state lawmakers that the surplus language included in the second paragraph of their amendment to prohibit same-sex marriages really didn't have any extra meaning. Now, those darn activist judges up in Michigan decided such extra language does have extra meaning. The Michigan Supreme Court says it means universities and units of government cannot extend domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples. But Miller says that's Michigan and their language is different from Indiana's SJR-7. Yes, just like Indiana's law on equal protection is different from California's.


Don Sherfick said...

What continues to amaze me is that the very same people who say they utterly distrust the "unelected activist judges" of the Indiana Supreme and Appellate Courts concerning marriage equality issues found them utterly reliable when interpreting the ambiguious mess the second sentence of SJR7.

In addition, although they insisted that all they wanted to do was muzzle the judiciary, their proposal clearly would have stopped the legislature, the voice of the popular will in Indiana, from enacting any measure that would bestow "the legal incidents of marriage" (whatever that really means.....they fell all over themselves in internal disagreement) to anyone else, homosexual or heterosexual. What is it about the ability of future generations to trust their future elected legislatures that they don't like?

Mark said...

Darn those activist judges. What do they think they are, a branch of government?

What an utterly vapid, facile argument. From my limited understanding of California law, the Court did nothing wrong in ruling the way it did (and I don't take much issue with the way it ruled, either). But to sit there and basically condone a Court making law (that's what this is, pure and simple) in any capacity, is a slippery slope, and an event that no one should be applauding. We have methods like referendums for decided contentious public issues like this one. The last one in 2000 failed; what, were the bigshots is CA afraid history would repeat itself? And who does the government think it is, being accoutable to will of the people? That's so 1776.

Also, Carpenter needs to ratchet back the imagery a bit. I felt like I was reading script edits from Sparticus.