20 February 2004

Judicial Activism

<SARCASM> Yeah, the gay marriage issue is all the fault of activist liberal judges. </SARCASM> So, then, does that make Bull Connor an activist reactionary elected official? Or Richard M. Daley an activist anything?

What I find most disturbing about the whole "gay marriage" argument is what it reveals about the priorities of those who are up in arms about it. On the one hand, those most adamantly opposed want to waste the government's time and effort on opposing perhaps the most victimless of imaginable victimless crimes: the marriage of individuals not involving themselves (or even, necessarily, their families). Leaving aside the obvious parallels to miscegenation, the torrent of sound and fury on gay marriage contrasts rather starkly with the silence on, for example, the greatly increased propensity to commit (or at least be convicted of committing) violent crime associated with grossly inadequate inner-city school systems. The irony that many educators think that family involvement is the single greatest determinant of educational success, and the Disloyal Opposition is trying to prevent family formation while simultaneously blocking every effective effort at reform and improvement because it would cost too much, itself points to a problem with priorities. What that crowd really seems to want is not respect for, but universal conformity with, their preconceived notions of morality. If that really is their priority, that's their business; but trying to pretend that the priority itself is content-neutral is not.

On the other hand, the most rabid pro-gay-marriage forces can be just as bigoted as their opponents. Again, this is most apparent in an absence of respect for alternative viewpoints. A strongly held moral belief that gay marriage is wrong is not a sure indicator of someone who supports summary execution of gays—but that is the rhetoric one hears all too often. Similarly, "marriage" is hardly the most critical issue confronting the GLB community, even in the narrower sense of civil rights.

I think I am expecting far too much honesty from politicians again. For that is what this is about: it is not religion, or morality, or concern for future generations of children; it is about raw, naked power. That some of the individuals on each side are operating from any of those concerns does not change the nature of the entire debate, nor the reprehensible bigotry (on both sides) of most of the major public leaders.