Monday, September 03, 2007

“…with a capital ‘T’ and that rhymes with ‘G’ and that stands for ‘Gay!’”

Last week an Iowa county judge declared that state’s law defining ‘marriage’ as unconstitutional. The whole deal again illustrated the point that judges aren’t going to leave this to elected legislatures, but rather invent ways of adding power to the bench that wasn’t supposed to exist.

In the words of the True North blog

If there was to be an amendment on the ballot to approve gay marriages in Iowa, there wouldn't be a snowball's chance in hell of its passage; in fact, Iowans passed a law to preserve marriage as a legal and social contract between one man and one woman…

With one decision and a few strokes of a pen, an Iowa judge decided that he, himself knew what was best for Iowa, and struck down the voter-approved and instituted legislative ban on same-sex marriage; in effect, telling the vast majority of Iowans to take their sensibilities and "stick it where the sun don't shine."

Succinctly put.

Of course, this has implication for Minnesota as well. Sooner or later, our State court system will declare any definition of marriage as between one man and one woman as unconstitutional, displacing the rightful will of the people with their own self anointed vision. Yet attempts at constitutionally defined marriage have been stalled by the DFL at the legislative level. The arguments against constitutionally establishing such a definition does have substance (no minutia in the constitution), but that principle suffered when Minnesotans passed an amendment mandating that no less than 40% of all transportation tax dollars be spent on public transit. The DFL is oblivious to this disparity, but the DFL is rarely given to consistent reason, and will thus stall any marriage defining amendment, no matter how popular it is or how obviously needed. Meanwhile, Minnesota Republicans will have to face the reality that the state courts will someday overrule the electorate and mandate gay marriage.

There is a solution; a constitutional amendment that doesn’t define marriage, but takes it out of the hands of the courts. Basically something like ‘The definition of marriage shall be made by the citizens of Minnesota through their elected representatives. The state courts shall have no jurisdiction in this matter.’

This could be an electoral winner for the GOP. This proposed amendment doesn’t say what marriage should be, only that the people, not the courts, will decide. That’s a popular stance that properly frames the correct relationship between, and the limitations of, the branches of government on this issue. It’s a shame that something that should be so obvious would have to be spelled out so plainly. And I’d like to see the DFL oppose it.

The transportation amendment should not have been in the constitution. Unfortunately DFLers and Republicans were supporting it (Pawlenty was a supporter as I recall). Marriage law should be defined by statute not in the constitution.

In Wisconsin, the amendment backfired on Republicans - it brought out black voters who otherwise would have stayed home - and they voted for the amendment, and voted for the democratic governor. The amendment also brought out students who strongly opposed this amendment - and they ended up electing more democrats in the state legislature.
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