Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Trend Toward Same-Sex Marriage

As reported by The Washington Post, today the D.C. City Council voted to recognize same-sex marriages formed in other states. Link.

This decision comes on the heels of the Iowa supreme court's invalidation of an anti-same-sex marriage law under the state constitution, and the Vermont legislature's allowing same-sex marriage, both within the past week. Further, as recently as 2008, Connecticut's supreme court held that same-sex marriage is protected under its state constitution.

This is an obvious trend, and I wonder: what is causing this trend? Have gay rights advocates convinced the public of the value behind their agenda? Unfortunately, that is doubtful, considering the success of Prop 8 in California (an extremely liberal state).

The more likely explanation is that these states are piggy backing off each other. In other words, no state wanted to be the first, because it would have brought about considerable national attention, much of it negative. (See Massachusetts) But, once one or two states took the leap, other states were willing to follow, because the PR ramifications were slight.

For the legislature that so acted (Vermont), this is understandable, because legislatures are accountable to their constituents, and rightfully consider public opinion. I wish that legislatures would look less to opinion polls and more toward doing what is right; but, I can understand their concern with public opinion, and I do not fault them.

However, it is shameful for a court to refuse to recognize a right -- like the right to marry a person of the same sex -- until it has gained popularity. Courts, after all, are intentionally designed to serve as counter-majoritarian entities. They are supposed to protect politically powerless or unpopular minorities from the majority's whims. Courts are designed, in a sense, to make an action when the action is most unpopular, not when it is trendy!

However, I do not want to be too harsh. It is essential that all citizens have the right to marry the person of their choice. I applaud those courts that have recognized this right to same-sex marriage, even if the recognition is far too late.

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