SCOTUS gay marriage decision a blow to democracy
The 5 gay marriage cases that the Supreme Court refused to hear mean that up to 11 more states will legalize same sex unions.
But only 9 states have approved gay marriage through legislative action or ballot initiative. In all other cases, federal courts have taken it upon themselves to radically alter civil society by allowing same sex unions.
What makes this so insidious, is that it short circuits democracy by imposing a solution on the nearly one half of the public who oppose gay marriage.
The bottom line is that gay marriage advocates are lazy. They don't want to do the hard work of trying to convince a majority of people in their states to support same sex unions. Democracy is hard and making gay marriage legal is more important than taking the time to bring the people along with them. They would prefer the easy course of asking a liberal federal judge to do their work for them.
If there was ever an issue that needed to be changed via evolution rather than revolution, gay marriage is it. And, to their credit, the Supreme Court appears to believe that too:
By letting stand lower court decisions in five cases overturning state same-sex marriage bans, the justices unmistakably advanced what supporters call marriage equality. But the justices did so while allowing the high court to avoid — at least for now — a definitive ruling on a divisive social issue that opponents have long argued should be decided by elected representatives and the people themselves.
he justices may also be hoping to dodge the kind of questions about the court’s legitimacy that followed the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.
Even liberal justices like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan have suggested that it would have been better not to force a one-size-fits-all solution on states and instead allow the political process to fashion abortion rights.
“They may be thinking that by doing this they don’t paint a target on the Supreme Court like they did with Roe v. Wade,” said conservative John Eastman of Chapman Law School.
The court released no vote count Monday and no justice publicly dissented. But some experts on both sides of the ideological divide immediately suspected that Chief Justice John Roberts had broken with conservative colleagues more eager to try to stop the flurry of rulings favoring same-sex marriage rights by accepting one of the petitions. Four votes are needed for the justices to take a case.
“I think it would be in character for Roberts to do this. Look at the ridiculous decision he handed down in Obamacare,” Eastman said, referring to the deciding vote Roberts cast finding the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate constitutional.
The next gay marriage case taken by the court could decide the issue permanently. But if the past is any guide, the justices will try hard to avoid such a definitive ruling. Eventually, a case will come before the court where it will be impossible to avoid issuing a sweeping decision that would legalize gay marriage in every state. When that happens, gay marriage advocates will have their victory - but at what cost?