Phew!

Things were looking scary for a while, but it looks like the people of Maine will no longer have to put up with the ungodly menace of people in committed, monogamous same-sex relationships entering into the covenant of marriage. Won’t someone think of the children?

Voters on Tuesday repealed the state’s same sex marriage law after an emotionally charged campaign that drew large numbers to the polls and focused national attention on Maine.
With 87 percent of precincts reporting, the campaign to overturn Maine’s same-sex marriage law won with 53 percent of the vote vs. 47 percent opposed to Question 1, according to unofficial results compiled by the Bangor Daily News.
Gay-marriage opponents claimed victory shortly after 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.
[…]
The Yes on 1 campaign, led by the group Stand for Marriage Maine, built its lead by winning votes in rural Maine as well as in some larger towns such as the Roman Catholic and Franco-American stronghold of Lewiston.
In contrast, the effort to defend Maine’s gay marriage law won strong support in places such as Portland, where 73 percent voted against Question 1, and majority support in Bangor.

This is a setback for gay marriage, but only a setback. Ten years ago, if I had told you 47% of the electorate would vote in favor of same-sex marriage, you would have called me crazy.
The opponents won this battle, but they will not win the war.

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43 thoughts on “Phew!

  1. “Roman Catholic and Franco-American stronghold of Lewiston”…
    Ironic. I’m guessing that the “Franco-Canadian stronghold” (i.e. Quebec) is probably the most gay-marriage-friendly of all the provinces.

  2. Right on.
    Never have understood why other Conservatives will scream loud and proud about ‘small government’ and ‘less bureaucratic intrusion in our lives’, but be so vociferous in their desire for government to mandate the private lives of its citizens.

  3. These anti-gay marriage voters know that if gay marriage gets passed, their churches will be forced by the government eventually to consecrate those marriages despite being contrary to basic tenets of their faith. That is why many are voting as they are. Not to deny rights but to preserve their own religious rights.

  4. Why do you think this one is riding a wave of irreversible triumph? It was basically imposed by judiciaries without any popular mandate and, unlike civil rights and women’s rights, without any discernible groundswell of widespread support. The constituency in favour is very specific and the support can be geographically pinpointed fairly easily. Plus the non-West is openly hostile. I’m not saying you are wrong, just that it’s a little early to call it as a welded spoke on the wheel of historical inevitability.

  5. Nothing like putting human rights to a vote.
    I wonder how much of the Bill of Rights (other than the 2nd Amendment) would survive such referenda.

  6. John AKA Mr. Dog obviously hasn’t read the Bill of Rights nor the American Constitution. But then again, blame a curiosity “challenge” or simply perhaps blame the public schools.
    The question many here are now asking – especially Libertarians – is why the Government meddles at all in marriage? It is a private religious matter, on the one hand, and on the other, feminists point out that it only confers sexual property rights – reduces women to a form of licensed prostitution.
    While there is much support for the former, it’s difficult to make a principled argument against the latter without resorting to the former.

  7. “Nothing like putting human rights to a vote.”
    So all the really important decisions should be made by undemocratic means?

  8. Ran presumes too much. I’ll put my knowledge of the US Constitution up against his anytime. He seems incapable of making an argument that isn’t an extended insult.
    In any case, the issues at stake here are liberty, and equality under the law.
    If marriage is recognized under the law for heterosexual couples, then to deny it to homosexual couples is discriminatory.
    As for the Bill of Rights, and its application: first, the Establishment clause–insisting on a definition of marriage agreeable to various religious institutions is arguably unconstitutional.
    And–oh yes, Section 1, 14th Amendment. (Spare me, please, the reminder that the Bill of Rights includes Amendments 1-10.) That pesky equal protection under the law thing:
    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/politics/state/stories/DN-gaydivorce_02met.ART.State.Edition2.4bcd80d.html
    But all that being said, I actually agree with Ran. Get the state out of the marriage business. Give anyone who wants a civil union, and privatize marriage.
    Bruce, if you want to put human rights to a vote, your version of democracy (majoritarian) is somewhat different from mine. Human rights, to you, are only a matter of election returns. For me, they are somewhat more fundamental.
    Besides, you haven’t responded to my point. How much of the Bill of Rights would be left if you put it to a popular vote? Would you care?

  9. “Human rights, to you, are only a matter of election returns. For me, they are somewhat more fundamental.”
    My point is that by framing every important decision changing the structure of society as a “human rights issue” you reverse the role of the courts and elections with the democratic process filling in the minor details of a social framework manufactured by the courts.
    “If marriage is recognized under the law for heterosexual couples, then to deny it to homosexual couples is discriminatory.”
    It’s discriminatory for underage couples, too. Does that make it a “fundamental” human rights issue beyond “electoral returns”? How about polygamy?
    I’ve no beef with gay marriage, but the idea that these decisions are too important to be left to the people and should be decided by the same undemocratic institution that gave us, inter alia, Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson is bizarre.

  10. How do you thing a referendum on Plessy v Ferguson’s conclusions would have fared at the time, Bruce?
    And how were they eventually overturned?

  11. “How do you thing a referendum on Plessy v Ferguson’s conclusions would have fared at the time, Bruce?”
    You mean like, say, passage of the 14th Amendment, which guaranteed equal protection of the laws? The effect of Plessy was that the Supreme Court negated the equal protection clause of a recently passed Constitutional Amendment and, in effect, made racial segregation the law of the land for more than half a century.
    The democratic process created a framework for civil rights in the Reconstruction Amendments and the Supreme Court largely undermined that framework.

  12. Bruce, be a little more direct.
    A referendum on “separate but equal” in the dying years of the nineteenth century would have upheld the doctrine. And, as you well know, it was that unaccountable Supreme Court of yours that overturned Plessy v. Ferguson in 1954 (Brown v. Board of Education). And then, of course, there was Virginia v. Loving…
    My point is that all of these institutions have a role in guaranteeing civil liberties. Sometimes one or other gets ahead of the rest, but so what? In the case of marriage, if it’s legal for straights it should be legal for gays. I’ve already cited two cases on point, one from Texas and one from Iowa, both deciding that bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional.
    The human rights involved here include liberty and equality under the law. I’m not arguing that marriage itself is a human right. In fact, as noted, I agree with Ran that the state should get out of the marriage business altogether.

  13. What’s really sad about this whole thing is the amount of money and effort that has been expended in fighting against gay marriage.
    Take all of that and dumping it into marriage counseling for current couples would be a much stronger defense of traditional marriage than any of this BS.

  14. All those in favour of Ellie having the equal protection of the law, say “Aye!”
    Ah. 34-29.
    Let’s do this again next week.

  15. “My point is that all of these institutions have a role in guaranteeing civil liberties. Sometimes one or other gets ahead of the rest, but so what?”
    My point is that process is important and that when courts overreach and turn policy preferences into Constitutional law it can take a long time to undo the damage.
    Communism and Fascism were fashionable, in the early thirties, because democracy was perceived as slow and inefficient, but democracy requires consensus and legislative policy mistakes can be corrected through the democratic process. Who is going to tell a Stalin or a Hitler that they’re wrong?
    In the U.S., there is a Constitutional framework in which the branches of government are supposed to function. It took the Supreme Court 58 years to overturn Plessy, and the country is still recovering from the damage done by the Court to the Reconstruction Amendments.
    It’s better for society to reach consensus on gay marriage, which it gradually will, rather than have it crammed through by activist courts.

  16. I already have it, thanks, Dawg. Just like everyone else.
    GLBTQI activists don’t want “equal treatment”. What they want is what radical feminist, Islamist, racial, aboriginal, and all other special-interest activists want: special treatment. Plus the “right” to silence anyone who disagrees with them.

  17. I agree with Dawg on this one. It is easy to advocate patience when you are not the one being treated unfairly.
    All I can say to Bruce is I hope you are never left standing in a hospital waiting room while the staff ignores the power of attorney in your hands and refuses to let you visit your dying wife…. as happened to Janice Langbehn.
    http://www.proudparenting.com/node/1315
    How would you react if someone came up to you and said you should have patience while society comes to a consensus on whether or not you should be able to visit your dying wife?
    I think your answer would be quite different and justifiably so.

  18. I can’t find a single internet reference to this “Janice Langbehn” that isn’t from a GLBTQI or left-wing activist site. Not that the “mainstream” media would be much better. Does anybody have a link to an unbiased source?
    However, I note that even the leftist sites say that Ms. Langbehn’s case was dismissed.

  19. “Is that how you felt about Virginia v. Loving?”
    The anti-miscegenation laws that led to Loving v. Virginia are a legacy of the same activist court that gave us Plessy — Pace v. Alabama (1883). It took the court 84 years to reach Loving and reject the “limited view of the Equal Protection Clause” it espoused in Pace.
    Travis, I have no knowledge of the Janice Langbehn matter, so I’m not going to opine on it.

  20. In 31 states where the people have voted on it, all 31 have rejected it.
    Time to take a hint, my gay radical friend. Your hysterical, flamboyant, obnoxious, catty mock shrieking about the children betrays your lack of character.

  21. What happened to Janice also happened to a friend of mine before the law changed up here (through “reading in.”)
    Ellie thinks it was just great that Langbehn’s case was dismissed. Uppity lesbian–who did she think she was?
    Well, I guess she thought she was a human being:
    “A federal court in Miami threw out the case of Janice Langbehn, a lesbian denied the right to visit her dying partner in a Florida hospital, saying that no law required the hospital to admit visitors.
    “Langbehn, a Washington state resident, filed the suit against Jackson Memorial Hospital after Lisa Pond, her partner of 17 years, died there in 2007. Pond suffered a brain aneurysm prior to a Caribbean gay cruise with their three children, and a hospital social worker refused to let Langbehn visit her dying partner, allegedly saying that Florida was ‘an antigay state.’
    “The court ruled in favor of the hospital, according to The Miami Herald, in a decision that Langbehn’s attorney called ‘extreme.'”
    Source: http://blog.pflag.org/2009/10/janice-langbehn-hospital-visitation.html
    Ellie accuses gays of wanting “special rights.” Name one “special right,” please, that they are allegedly demanding. This lie–and lie it is–has been circulating ever since gays and lesbians have demanded equal rights.
    We can always count on the Ellies of this world to make things miserable for others.

  22. And we can always count on the Dawgs of this world to rant incessantly about real or imagined grievances.
    To my recollection, some gay activists have in the past demanded, among other things, that they be exempt from all laws pertaining to pornography or banning outdoor sex, on the grounds that these things are “an important part of gay culture”. One of Mark Steyn’s columns also mentioned a demand of some gay group or other that they be allowed to have non-monogamous “open” marriages on the grounds that this too was “cultural”. In other words, special rights. Just wait for the demands for preferential hiring to begin.
    (And yes, I’m talking activists not all GLBTQIs — but as with Islamists and mainstream Muslims, I don’t recall hearing any thundering denunciations of these demands by other GLBTQIs.)

  23. “To my recollection, some gay activists have in the past demanded, among other things, that they be exempt from all laws pertaining to pornography or banning outdoor sex, on the grounds that these things are “an important part of gay culture”.”
    Nope, this won’t do. Citations, please.
    “One of Mark Steyn’s columns also mentioned a demand of some gay group or other that they be allowed to have non-monogamous “open” marriages on the grounds that this too was “cultural”. In other words, special rights. Just wait for the demands for preferential hiring to begin.”
    Non-monogamous open marriages? Anybody can legally have those now, gay or straight, so there’s hardly any “special right” being demanded here.
    In any case, why is it a “special right” to want to be with one’s partner when she’s dying? You kind of got all quiet on that one, but you let the typical conservative cruel streak show for a moment, didn’t you?

  24. Dawg, in the absence of any clear unbiased reporting, all I can say on the subject is this:
    1) a lesbian woman’s partner died,
    2) she claimed the hospital didn’t let her in because they were homophobic, and she sued;
    3) her suit was subsequently dismissed.
    The only articles of any length I can find on this case are on left-wing activist sites whose chief interest seems to be exploiting this woman’s story for politicial reasons. If you can find a non-biased site, please link to it.
    Did you get all your info on the murder of that abortion doctor from pro-life websites?

  25. “Bristol City Council wants to prune bushes and remove cover from an area known as the Downs to improve the landscape and encourage rare wildlife.
    But its own gay rights group has opposed the move, claiming that cutting back the bushes was “discriminating” to homosexual men who used the area for late night outdoor sex known as dogging.
    Work on the beauty spot has been temporarily delayed while talks with gay rights groups take place to try and break the deadlock.”
    Anybody think straight couples would get away with this? Nope, me neither.
    Special rights.

  26. Yup, that would be a rare and genuine instance of one group somewhere in England calling for “special rights,” not that heterosexual couples are always averse to open-air sex.
    But the “special rights” gambit is always used to dismiss quite legitimate demands for equal rights. So we can see how we’ve moved off the right of a lesbian to be with her partner during her dying moments–only a brute, after all, would prohibit such a thing–to a few folks having sex in bushes. Nice move.

  27. I would feel much more empathy for GLBTQI and other left-wing activists if they weren’t the same people who are fighting to quash everyone else’s freedom of speech.
    I’ll show some interest in their so-called “rights” when they lay off mine.

  28. Bruce:
    Sorry, just noticed this:
    “The anti-miscegenation laws that led to Loving v. Virginia are a legacy of the same activist court that gave us Plessy — Pace v. Alabama (1883). It took the court 84 years to reach Loving and reject the “limited view of the Equal Protection Clause” it espoused in Pace.”
    As I understand your argument, the anti-miscegenation laws were in essence passed because of a legislative space created by Plessy. And somehow only another activist court could overturn the latter.
    May I ask what you feel the central role of the Supreme Court might be? I ask only because Plessy *reduced* the scope of the Constitution (14th Amendment)while Loving extended it. If all is well with the Constitution, and its meaning is fixed, do the Courts have no role in reviewing legislation?
    At least as I see it, much legislation, federal or state, will err from having too limited, or too extended, a reach from a Constitutional point of view. Is it not central to the SCOTUS mandate to rule so? And even, perhaps, to re-read the Constitution to take account of new circumstances?

  29. “I’ll show some interest in their so-called “rights” when they lay off mine.”
    You might actually convince somone of the truth that statement if you dropped snide attitude and scare quotes.
    For the record, being a right leaning libertarian I too think many hate speech laws are offensive. But I’m also offended by what happened to Janice Langbehn and her family. In short, I’m concerned about everybody’s “so-called rights”.
    Unfortunately, far too many people are rather more selective in which violations they choose to be offended by.

  30. “As I understand your argument, the anti-miscegenation laws were in essence passed because of a legislative space created by Plessy. And somehow only another activist court could overturn the latter.”
    I suppose it depends on what you mean by “activist.” If you mean overruling a previous ruling of the court, there is an important distinction between legislative interpretation and constitutional interpretation.
    If the Court errs in interpretation of a statute the legislature can generally fix the problem. If the Court errs in interpretation of the Constitution there’s not much that can be done other than hope that some future Court will correct the problem. For that reason the Court should be far less reluctant to overturn a bad constitutional ruling than a statutory one.
    There are problems with the “original intent” school of constitutional interpretation, but in practice the alternative “living constitution” view consists of little more than Justices imposing their own policy preferences.
    The Court is bound by the Constitution, and correcting a bad constitutional ruling, such as the gutting of the Reconstruction Amendments, is not activist. It is the Court doing its job.
    About the Janice Langbehn matter. I don’t know much about it it other than is contained in the links posted on this thread, but I think Oliver Wendell Holmes had it right when he wrote that:
    “Great cases, like hard cases, make bad law. For great cases are called great not by reason of their real importance in shaping the law of the future, but because of some accident of immediate overwhelming interest which appeals to the feelings and distorts the judgment. These immediate interests exercise a kind of hydraulic pressure which makes what previously was clear seem doubtful, and before which even well settled principles of law will bend.” http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0193_0197_ZD1.html

  31. Bruce:
    I meant to thank you for these thoughts before now.
    “The Court is bound by the Constitution, and correcting a bad constitutional ruling, such as the gutting of the Reconstruction Amendments, is not activist. It is the Court doing its job.”
    And yet this is completely a matter of opinion. Was the court that decided Plessy “activist”–or strict constructionist?

  32. Judicial activism is results-oriented judging, where a court bases decisions on personal opinions, rather than on the law as written.
    In Plessy, the Court explained its reasoning:
    “If the two races are to meet upon terms of social equality, it must be the result of natural affinities, a mutual appreciation of each other’s merits, and a voluntary consent of individuals … Legislation is powerless to eradicate racial instincts, or to abolish distinctions based upon physical differences, and the attempt to do so can only result in accentuating the difficulties of the present situation … If one race be inferior to the other socially, the constitution of the United States cannot put them upon the same plane.”
    In other words, the Court based its decision not on the Constitution, but on the personal opinions of the Justices.
    In reaching its decision in Plessy, the Court ignored not only the words and history of the Reconstruction Amendments, but prior cases that interpreted them to forbid segregation in such public spheres as jury service.
    By the way, I’m not sure what you mean by “And yet this is completely a matter of opinion.” It is not.
    The language, history, and previous decisions based on the Amendments are all a matter of public record. To deny the distinction between judicial activism and judicial restraint is to deny the difference between the rule of man and the rule of law.

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