While the New Republic, like many left-of-center opinion outlets, frequently publishes angry anti-Bush pieces, I maintain an online subscription to the magazine because it occasionally offers thoughtful liberal critiques of the president and Administration — and unlike most of those on the Left today, puts forward numerous policy proposals.
In short, there is often substance to its criticisms and ideas in its articles.
And sometimes, it posts pieces with which I totally agree. Today, the magazine published a piece by Brookings Institution guest scholar Benjamin WIttes which echoed a point I made six days ago. Wittes, like me, favors placing an initiative on the Massachusetts ballot which could “overturn the same-sex marriage rights created by that state’s highest court in 2003.” (This article is available to New Republic subscribers only.)
While WIttes supports same-sex marriage, he thinks the referendum would be a good thing:
I may even have joined those who voted to advance the amendment, not out of any desire to see it pass, but out of deference to the right of the people to govern themselves–a right that has taken a beating over marriage in Massachusetts. Indeed, the fight for gay marriage in the Commonwealth has acquired a serious anti-democratic flavor–one that should disturb even those who support marriage equality. If gay marriage has a future, as I very much hope it does, denying opponents any democratic say in the matter cannot be it.
He has noted that while polls in the Bay State “are promising,” he acknowledges that defeat of this referendum is “far from a sure thing.” Still, he notes, “same-sex marriage proponents need to ask themselves how many layers of disregard for popular sovereignty they are willing to tolerate in order to preserve marriage rights.”
supporters of gay marriage have no choice in the long run but to persuade their fellow citizens. At some point, in other words, they have to start winning referenda. One of the country’s most liberal states, having had the benefit of several years of marriage equality to raise public comfort with it, is a good place to start. Pulling out the stops to prevent a popular vote in such a state is not a show of strength.
As this article is only available to New Republic subscribers, I can’t very well say read the whole thing, but can encourage you to subscribe to the magazine. While its politics may be left-of-center, they are often responsibly so.