They moved the goalposts on us. When we actually began to win in state legislatures, such as California (twice!), or New Hampshire, or now Maryland and New Jersey and Washington State, that process became suddenly unacceptable - and undemocratic! - as well. Even on an issue many hold to be a core civil right, we were told the courts were irrelevant and now that the legislatures were irrelevant. This was particularly odd coming from conservatives who at one point in time were strong believers in restraints on majority tyranny. But this is what a legislative debate can do that no referendum can, and it's why the founders established a republic not a pure democracy:
...But the way in which a tiny 2- 3 percent minority seeking basic civil equality has been forced now to be subject to state referendums, even after winning legislative victories, strikes me as revealing. It's basically an attack on representative government, a resort to the forms of decision-making which maximize the potential for anonymous bigotry and minimize the importance of representative government, a core achievement of Anglo-American democracy, that can help enhance reason of the accountable against the sometimes raw prejudice of the majority.
Christie is a man whose candor I admire in many ways. But this was an act of cowardice and unfairness and a misguided disregard for representative democracy. How many other duly enacted laws must now be sent to the referendum process for final judgment. Why have a legislature at all? And this from the party that claims to defend the Constitution.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Who really defends the Constitution?
Following upon on Chris Christie's veto of marriage equality in New Jersey, and the remarkable idea in contravention to the Constitution that a minority should have its rights voted on by the majority: Andrew Sullivan points out how the minority opposed to marriage equality keeps changing the rules, and can't even manage to be consistent in their "pro-Constitution" views. (My emphasis)