This from Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in today’s Deseret News

“This is what happens when judges mistake themselves for legislators,” he said. “They discover previously unknown rights in constitutional texts. While falsely asserting fidelity to enduring constitutional principles, they substitute their own idiosyncratic notions of right and wrong for the judgments of the people.”

Why have people (particularly on the far right) forgotten that the role of the courts is to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority? The “judgements of the people” are NOT always right…there would be no right to vote for women or blacks in this country if the voice of the people had won the day, no interracial marriages, no civil rights at all for any minority populations. Is that what it is? Is a guy like Orrin Hatch just afraid that his white male power can no longer dictate what is right and wrong to the unclean masses below him?

REAL quote of the day:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Sorry for a bit of inactivity here – we were on vacation last week and this week I’ve been fighting a cold that has left me too tired to think about much beyond getting through the workday.

But my blog stats are showing quite a lot of visits today and I’m guessing some of you are looking for commentary on the CA Supreme Court decision yesterday. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I think it’s great progress and about time. On the other hand, I worry about the timing. Just when it was looking like gay marriage *wouldn’t* be a major wedge issue in this year’s presidential election…this is sure to energize the right and the consequences of that could very well continue 8 disastrous years of Bush policy by helping to elect John McCain.

Despite a promise to myself that I wouldn’t ever read them again, I found myself reading comments on the local newspaper websites about the CA decision. It’s always shocking to me, even though it shouldn’t be.

Here’s an example from the Deseret News story from someone calling himself “Phantom Panther”:

The gays have the California Supreme Court on their side. It is highly unlikely the Court is going to listen to pro-traditional family activists. Like the gays they are carrying water for, the Supreme Court is determined to force Californians to accept homosexuality as a “right.” Considering their liberal mindset, it would not surprise me if the California Supreme Court ruled that homosexuality was superior to traditional marriage and outlawed traditional marriage. All in the name of “tolerance” and stopping “hate speech.” We live in perilous times.

My reaction to this is: Really?? I don’t understand how ignorant you have to be to believe that gay marriage threatens straight marriage. And the idea that the courts will somehow rule that gay marriages are “superior” and say that straight people can’t get married – well, there’s not even a response to that unless you are crazy. Do people really believe that?? Honestly?? Is this a contest where only one kind of couple can be the winner?? It boggles my mind. Plus, the ruling isn’t that people have to accept homosexuality as a right, as this very intellegent Phantom Panther (seriously dude, you need pick a less gay online name) postulates. If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t get one! Unless you are a closeted gay yourself, something that affirms gay marriage or gay people in general is not going to suddenly make you gay! And if you believe being gay is immoral, then go to church and pray for us! But the last time I checked, religion wasn’t mandated in this country and the idea that we are denying rights to people based on religious beliefs doesn’t get any less shocking to me the more I think about it. I wish more people were offended by THAT.

Someone else (I don’t have the stomach to weed through them again to find the person’s name) posted about how gay people shouldn’t get to take advantage of her tax money by getting married. Wait…excuse me? How does that happen? How is my marrying my partner going to filch her out of her tax money? What it WILL do is make OUR tax money come back to us in the form of collecting on each other’s social security if one of us dies (and social security isn’t bankrupt in the meantime). But we are both paying INTO social security, so I think we’re the ones being cheated by NOT being able to get married. Maybe that’s what she meant – she should be able to collect on MY social security instead of my partner because she’s morally superior to us? That’s the only conclusion I can draw.

*sigh*

One last rant and then on to the brighter side of things. I love how the rightwing loves to talk about judicial activism when judges rule on something that they don’t agree with. This part frightens me a lot, actually. The idea that we might seriously consider some measure that would limit the courts’ power and so completely alter the make up of this country, should be frightening for more people. Aren’t the conservatives always the ones talking about original intent of the founding fathers? I think they intended for there to be a balance of power! Why isn’t that talked about more? The intent when the 3 branches of government were created was to keep one branch from having too much power and thus corrupting the government as a whole. The courts have always protected the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority. And I’m sorry if you don’t agree with a court ruling, this one in particular – but isn’t that the basis of our democracy?

I’m not going to go into the LDS church’s response. Of course they will say that. It doesn’t make me angry. In fact, I felt that the way it was worded was much more thoughtful and compassionate than it might have been even a few years ago. So…for whatever that’s worth, that’s really all I have to say about that.

One of the best comments I’ve read in the coverage of the CA ruling comes from Mildred Loving, who was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case in 1967 that overturned laws banning inter-racial marriage:

“Not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, and how much it meant to me to have the freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the ‘wrong kind of person’ for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry.”

She was a black woman who wanted to marry a white man in the era when that was a punishable crime, and she fought for her right to be with the person she loved. (The quote actually comes from a speech last summer, but was mentioned in an article about the CA decision. You can read the rest of her speech here.) I think most people would agree, 40 years later, that there is no question a person should be allowed to marry a person of a different race. It’s interesting to realize that similar arguments used against inter-racial marriage at the time are being used against gay marriage now. I can only hope that eventually we will see the same outcome, from courts or legislative bodies or courageous individual politicans (or a combination of all those things, which is more likely) – and even if it takes a while I think that most people will come to see that there is no threat at all to them or their “traditional” marriages by permitting gay people to marry and care for each other.

Anyone who is scared of gay marriage should consider the case of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon who have been together for over 50 years. How many straight couples can say that? Why shouldn’t these two be allowed to leave their house, which they have lived in together for most of their lives, to each other??

And lastly, if you haven’t seen Ellen’s announcement, you should watch it here. I hope they are very happy!