Wednesday, July 14, 2004 - Apache Junction, Arizona, USA


During the recent senatorial debate on the Federal Marriage Amendment almost every speaker on the Repubo side of the aisle said that the need for this amendment was to stop “activist judges,” like the four on the Massachusetts State Supreme Court, from redefining marriage. They claim that only a Constitutional amendment will stop Federal courts, including the Supreme Court, from altering the Constitution from the bench.

Of course, the courts don’t alter the Constitution, they interpret it. But that doesn’t matter to right-wing Repubos who’s will to exert their beliefs upon all Americans can’t be deterred by simple things like checks and balances. The intolerable smearing Repubo Senators gave to the four justices who voted to extend the equal rights of marriage to gays and lesbians in Massachusetts were unmerciful. Even though three of the four justices were Republicans!

One of the jobs of the courts is to protect minorities from the repressive will of the majority. Without the ability of court justices to go against the majority, women would not be able to vote in this country, segregated schools would be the norm, oral sex (an act preformed by over 70% of heterosexual couples) would still be against the law, and no black or Latino person would be able to marry a white person.

Senator Wayne Allard of Colorado (R), a sponsor of the FMA, says, “Why do gays and lesbians want to hide (the issue of gay marriage) in the courts where the American people don’t have the opportunity to even enter into the debate?” As if the heavy hand of discrimination can’t be felt in the courts. It’s only when justices concede that “Equal but separate has proved to be not equal at all.” that the likes of Allard get upset.

How far are these people willing to go to keep discriminating against gays and lesbians? They’re willing to sacrifice the very checks and balances written into the Constitution that give Federal courts the right to decide what conforms with the Constitution and what does not.

Prompted by Republicans, the House Judiciary Committee voted today 21-13 in a meeting to enact legislation that would strip Federal courts of the power to rule against the constitutionality of DOMA and order states to recognize same-sex marriages sanctioned in other states. This bill will move to the House floor next week. Imagine if Congress had made laws ruling the courts were not able to question the constitutionality of giving women the right to vote.

This would only be the beginning. Every time the majority wanted a law that discriminated against individuals, all they would have to do is establish a law prohibiting courts from ruling it unconstitutional. Where would we be with that kind of precedent set? Suppose 100 years from now, Christianity would become unpopular with the majority of people in America? Congress could pass a law stating courts could not rule on the constitutionality of oppressing Christians. Once you open that door, anything can waltz through.

The courts are the only safeguard all of us have against the old institution that Might Makes Right. Take away the court’s ability to rule and you take away any chance of overturning discrimination against any minority in this country.

Diane Mellen of Park City, Utah, wrote to the Salt Lake City Tribune saying, “Our government’s job is to protect the rights of all of us, including those who are gay, not to uphold irrational prejudices of the masses. It is the government’s responsibility not to uphold, in this case, the prejudiced will of the people, no matter how much of a majority they constitute, but to defend the rights of its people.”

I concur. So should you.

©2004 Marcia Ellen "Happy" Beevre

# posted by Marcia Ellen @ 4:37 PM
Very eloquently and informatively written. Great job Marcia. Might I suggest you move your images to the top instead of putting the image and the text side by side?
The images cover parts of the text and I have to click stop on my browser to read the entire posts.
Your wish is my command Vlad!! Easy enough to do it this way. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. :)
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