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Gay Groups Cheer Defeat of Proposal to Allow Referendum on Gay Marriage in Mass

A few days ago, I was planning a post on how, even under new leadership, Log Cabin seems to follow in lock-step to the lead of left-leaning gay organizations. Its leaders lack imagination and support the exact same policies on gay issues as do those groups who have shown a penchant for backing Democratic politicians and left-wing policies. Instead of seeking small government solutions to gay issues, Log Cabin supports legislation which expand the size and scope of the federal government.

And today, we see Log Cabin once again echoing the attitudes of the gay left leadership. No sooner do I receive a press release from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) heralding the defeat of a measure which would have allowed a popular vote on a constitutional amendment barring gay marriage in the Bay State, overturning the state Supreme Judicial Court’s 2003 Goodridge decision mandating that institution than I receive a similar release from Log Cabin, with a most disingenuous headline, praising the “Defeat of Marriage Ban in Massachusetts.” (Will provide link when available.)

Once again, in both the releases of HRC and Log Cabin, we have the same overblown rhetoric about the victory of equality and fairness and the defeat of attempts to “write discrimination into the constitution.” This time, what was defeated was not a ban on gay marriage, but a chance for the citizens of the Bay State to vote on the issue.

And given that gay groups repeatedly tout polls showing that those citizens favor gay marriage, I wonder why gay activists are so afraid of a vote. Perhaps, it’s their unwillingness to argue this issue on the merits for it seems they would rather demonize the opponents of gay marriage than engage them in a serious discussion of the meaning of this ancient institution — and why they believe the state should extend its privileges to same-sex couples.

It’s unfortunate that Log Cabin has joined the other gay groups in trotting out the same tired tropes when discussing gay marriage.

For my part, I think it’s unfortunate that Massachusetts voters won’t get a chance to consider this proposal. It would not necessarily have meant a marriage ban (as Log Cabin’s headline suggests). Instead, it would have provided an opportunity to open a public dialogue on the meaning — and importance — of marriage. And how it could benefit gay people.

The defeat of the referendum at the ballot box would not only show how people’s opinions are shifting on gay marriage issue, but could have added legitimacy to the Bay State’s policy. And perhaps offered momentum for other states to consider extending the privileges of marriage to same-sex couples.

Once again, we see gay groups eager to dodge a debate which could promote better understanding of the real lives of gay people. And we see Log Cabin unwilling to offer a conservative — or even a moderately different perspective — on gay issues, ever eager to repeat HRC’s talking points.

It would be nice if we could have a real conversation on the meaning of gay marriage. But, these latest releases show that gay groups are all too eager to dodge that debate. And instead of adapting conservative ideas on the value of traditional marriage to the discussion of gay marriage, Log Cabin would rather ape the rhetoric of those who see marriage as just another right, rather than a responsibility — as well as an ancient and honorable institution, worth preserving and modifying.

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26 Comments

  1. The ideal of a”real conversation on the meaning of gay marriage”, in other words a serious debate, requires that both sides in the debate approach it with an open mind, willing to listen to and consider the viewpoints of each other. But therein is the rub. As you so often point out, many gay activists don’t want that real conversation; but it is likewise true that many of the opposite side (mainly, the fundamentalist christians) don’t want sincere, real conversation. To many of the fundamentalist christians the whole issue is “the Bible says”…end of conversation. In such a reality, a popular vote is only going to confirm the predjuice of one side or the other. That is one reason why our founding fathers did not set up a government where everything would be settled by popular vote, but chose instead to set up a representative republic where elected officials could debate and come to a consensus on matters of law. Debate is fine, but the general population should never be able to, by popular vote, determine the standing of any minority group of citizens. If this not be true, then we should do away with the Bill Of Rights. Further, if everytime citizens disagree, we put it to a popular vote, we shall all live in the voting booth with no time for anything else.

    Comment by Cecil — June 14, 2007 @ 6:14 pm - June 14, 2007

  2. …an opportunity to open a public dialogue on the meaning — and importance — of marriage. And how it could benefit gay people…

    Good start. But I notice that no one seems to be asking: How will gay marriage benefit society? For example, will gay men finally settle down and stop being such great vectors for the spread of super-gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV?

    I say this as a marriage supporter (gay or otherwise). Marriage is a social institution, resting on broad consent and support from the rest of society. To win that support and consent across America, and make our opponents’ arguments truly false, we need to show “what’s in it for society”.

    The more gay marriage advocates talk about “fairness” and “justice”, the more they strike the pose of complainers – i.e., of little kids who don’t understand the grown-up obligation and burden of marriage. No wonder much of America is skeptical.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — June 14, 2007 @ 6:14 pm - June 14, 2007

  3. What is your position? That gay groups should cede ground and spend tens of millions of dollars in a general election fight, just to prove a point? Why do that when you can defeat the amendment in the legislature?

    Mind you, all supporters of the amendment had to do was get 25% of the legislature to support their ballot question. If they cant get TWENTY FIVE PERCENT, then the will of the majority is already undoubtedly being served.

    It seems to me that you guys hate to see any victory for gay rights because you don’t like liberals and most gays are liberals.

    Comment by Chase — June 14, 2007 @ 7:42 pm - June 14, 2007

  4. …the will of the majority is already undoubtedly being served…

    How do you know? We’ll never know, will we? That’s the sad point. And what courts giveth, courts can always taketh away.

    …you guys hate to see any victory for gay rights because you don’t like liberals…

    Classic “little kid” thinking.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — June 14, 2007 @ 8:11 pm - June 14, 2007

  5. Chase, perhaps my views would be different were the press releases not filled with the pablum we have come to expect from the gay groups on gay marriage. They seem to be gloating in the fact that the citizens are denied a vote on this important issue. And that to me is sad.

    As to your last paragraph, please note how often I have praised states for passing civil unions — without being prompted by state courts.

    The issue is who decides these things.

    Please note the title of the post. It deals with the reactions of the gay groups. And my persistent perplexity at their unwillingness to discuss this issue.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — June 14, 2007 @ 8:13 pm - June 14, 2007

  6. They seem to be gloating in the fact that the citizens are denied a vote on this important issue.

    That is what is becoming more of an issue to me. The ramming through of societal change. Not trusting the people to do the right thing. Not every little issue has to be brought up for a general vote. But big issues, like Gay Marriage would be much better served if they had the support of the public.

    One of the reasons abortion is such a hot topic, is as ILc says:

    And what courts giveth, courts can always taketh away.

    And the same will be true of Gay marriage.

    My only hope is, that there will be more gay couples, who with or without the sanction of this bill, take upon themselves to commit to ‘marriage’. and by doing so show their friends, neighbors and co-workers, that they are deserving of society recognizing their commitment on an equal footing with their hetero neighbors.

    Comment by Leah — June 14, 2007 @ 8:32 pm - June 14, 2007

  7. Dan, GPW, civil rights issues should never be put to a vote of the people. If left to the popular will, we’d probably still have bans on interracial marriage and would likely still have racially-segregated public schools.

    Comment by Ashley Hunter — June 14, 2007 @ 10:35 pm - June 14, 2007

  8. I have to disagree with you somewhat on this one, Dan. While it would have been better for gay marriage in Mass. to come from a vote of the people, I have to agree that civil rights matters are not properly decided by popular vote. Either this is a civil rights matter or it isn’t. To me some kind of legal union is.

    The issue is who decides these things.

    The People through their elected representatives. We still are a Republic and not a democracy the last time I checked. Since Mass. has ballot initiative, the People have the option of voting out enough state legislators to force a vote. Until that happens, the People have decided.

    Comment by John — June 14, 2007 @ 10:52 pm - June 14, 2007

  9. How do you know? We’ll never know, will we? That’s the sad point.

    We will when the next election happens and enough legislators who lean one way or the other win office.

    And what courts giveth, courts can always taketh away.

    Too true, yet historical precedents on civil rights issues are rarely overturned.

    Comment by John — June 14, 2007 @ 10:56 pm - June 14, 2007

  10. I almos forgot: as gay marriage becomes more enshringed in Mass. law it will become that much harder to overturn it by the courts.

    Comment by John — June 14, 2007 @ 10:56 pm - June 14, 2007

  11. Couple of points:

    (1) I don’t support SSM and would probably have voted for the proposed referendum as written.

    (2) The Commonwealth of Massachusetts as all other states, is not a democracy but a republic. The very existence of initiative proceeses is somewhat bizarre in a republic, yet we have them as a result of self-styled “progressive” political movements a century ago. Frankly, a vote like the one the legislature made is what elections are for. If the people of Massachusetts are this wound-up over gay marriage, then they should vote for representatives that will permit the referendum. If not, then not. “Activist” judiciaries like that of Massachusetts aside, if one supports conservative forms of government certain consequences flow from that, and votes like the one today are such a consequence. If I lived in Massachusetts, I probably would more likely than not vote for conservative loser candidates for the state legislature even though it would likely make no difference.

    (3) I really wonder if certain residents of Masschustts like Amherst professor Hadley Arkes of the infamous “First Things” symposium or the “Mass Resistance” kooks will now start advocating the violent overthrow of the Massachusetts state government. To do so, by the way, is potentially a federal criminal offense.

    Comment by Patrick Rothwell — June 14, 2007 @ 11:19 pm - June 14, 2007

  12. I guess my big difference with many of the commenters here is that I don’t see marriage as a civil rights issue. If marriage is a right, we already have it as we are free to get married. The issue is state recognition and benefits.

    I actually have mixed feelings on the vote in the Massachusetts legislature which I will address in a subsequent post.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — June 15, 2007 @ 12:49 am - June 15, 2007

  13. “Tired tropes”? This post is the same post you post all the time. Talk about tired.

    Comment by sean — June 15, 2007 @ 2:26 am - June 15, 2007

  14. fair point, Sean, but, I’m just responding to the same press releases that HRC (and Log Cabin) release all the time.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — June 15, 2007 @ 2:33 am - June 15, 2007

  15. #13 – “Talk about tired.”

    Pot, meet kettle.

    We are tired of your TIRED inane commentaries, seantard. Dan doesn’t post “the same post” all the time. But on those rare occasions that he does, you are the first one in line to bash him.

    Grow up.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — June 15, 2007 @ 9:35 am - June 15, 2007

  16. We will [know that the people of MA support gay marriage] when the next election happens and enough legislators who lean one way or the other win office.

    No John, we still won’t. Because a zillion other issues come into play then. Elections of a representative are rarely about one issue even for a single representative, and never for a whole slate.

    The MA legislature had a chance to say, “We’ll let the people vote on this. Under the MA constitutional procedure, we cannot vote on this – but we can still let the people.” They punted. They voted against democracy.

    They (and those of us who wanted them to) have now effectively pitted gay rights against voting rights. That is why stupid backlashes like the FMA gain traction. Bad, bad strategy.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — June 15, 2007 @ 11:13 am - June 15, 2007

  17. “Debate is fine, but the general population should never be able to, by popular vote, determine the standing of any minority group of citizens.”

    A straw man, since this has nothing to do with determining “the standing” of anyone.

    Comment by rightwingprof — June 15, 2007 @ 1:40 pm - June 15, 2007

  18. Further: In the real world, we use popular vote to determine the standing of minority groups all the time.

    Take murderers. They’re a group. Hopefully a minority. Popular vote (or legislative process) determined their standing, i.e., that they should be deprived of rights and sent to prison.

    Want a more innocent group? Take our soldiers in Iraq. Popular vote (or legislative process) determines their standing, i.e., whether they are adequately funded and whether their work is about to be thrown away in a Cut-and-Run. (Thus, what their prestige – or lack thereof – will be when they come back.)

    I could go on. Basically, any conceivable action of government will elevate or denigrate some minority group of people, in some fashion.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — June 15, 2007 @ 1:51 pm - June 15, 2007

  19. …and if such actions aren’t arising from popular vote / legislative process… then… we’re living under a dictatorship.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — June 15, 2007 @ 2:05 pm - June 15, 2007

  20. The homo-fascists have won again. It really sickens me how much influence these sexual perverts have on our country. It’s time for the Republican Party to get rid of politically correct liberal RINOS like McCain and Rudy McRomney and boast a real conservatve in the general election that will tell the truth about the moral collapse of America as a result of the acceptance of sexual perversion (i.e. homosexuality) as a legitimite lifestyle. Anyone with the balls to do that will win a sweeping election the way Reagan did after he and Buchanan (who has since gone off the deep end) told the truth about homosexuals. These people prey on children and hate America, they are extremely promiscuous and spread HIV, as well as sexualize kids in public schools with their disgusting agenda.

    Will the GOP finally wake up to the threat from within? I think D’Souza was utterly correct. It’s because of these sick, twisted freaks that we are so reviled in the Muslim world to begin with. Moderate Muslims (of which there were very, very few) have to know that we don’t stand for these things, that’s not our culture. Homosexuality, abortion, etc… – these are things that stand in stark contrast to American values and traditionalism. Once the GOP finally clears itself of RINO and fields a candidate willing to support traditional values, from limiting abortion to reanacting sodomy laws designed to protect the public from perverts, the GOP will regain its footing politically and decimate the Democrat party.

    [GP Ed. Note - I nearly "spammed" this comment. But it is important to see this kind of belief stated. Many Americans -- not just conservatives but many liberals -- feel this way for whatever reasons. It is something our community has to grapple with -- and hasn't done a good job doing.]

    Comment by Jacob — June 15, 2007 @ 3:06 pm - June 15, 2007

  21. The will of the people has been served through their democratically elected representatives. In the last election, a few of the supporters of the ban were defeated at the polls, then some more changed their mind and that’s why it didn’t get the required votes to pass this time. Ballot referendum is not the only way to have legitimacy on an issue. When you get 75% of the legislature to support any position, that’s damn near a consensus. It’s just counterproductive to argue against the strategy here. This was not some 101-99 vote. It was somewhat close for the threshold they needed to receive, but when you can’t 25% of the legislature to support your issue, you don’t deserve a ballot referendum! Please.

    Comment by Chase — June 15, 2007 @ 5:29 pm - June 15, 2007

  22. “Further: In the real world, we use popular vote to determine the standing of minority groups all the time….Take murderers. They’re a group. Hopefully a minority. Popular vote (or legislative process)… determined their standing….Take our soldiers in Iraq. Popular vote (or legislative process) determines their standing…”

    To prove your point, ILoveCapitalism, you equate popular vote with legislative process. Is it not true, that this issue in MA was decided by legislative process? By legislative process we determine the standing of murderers. By legislative process we determine the standing of our soldiers in Iraq. And by legislative process MA has determined the issue of gay marriage will not be on their 2008 ballot. Where then is the dictatorship?

    Comment by Cecil — June 15, 2007 @ 7:07 pm - June 15, 2007

  23. Jacob is right except for one thing: the “homofascists” are in the DNC.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — June 16, 2007 @ 3:56 pm - June 16, 2007

  24. My Gay Pride…

    Are we supposed to be proud of our “victory” in Massachusetts, a so-called “victory” that looks an awful lot like defeat for the democratic process? Are we supposed to be proud that the gay community’s leaders would rather force same-sex marriage …

    Trackback by Reality Mugged Me — June 16, 2007 @ 6:40 pm - June 16, 2007

  25. The MA legislature had a chance to say, “We’ll let the people vote on this. Under the MA constitutional procedure, we cannot vote on this – but we can still let the people.” They punted. They voted against democracy.

    In one sense: good. This country isn’t a democracy and never has been. I doubt you or I would truly like what the results would be if the USA really were a democracy. No, this is a Republic and it is through our legislatures that the wishes of the People are expressed, with the Courts there to put a stop to the majority running roughshod in all things over the minority. Is our system perfect? Absolutely not. It’s quite messy, contradictory, maddening at times, etc. Look at another recent example: the immigration bill. Many people here, myself included, were quite pleased that a minority of Senators were able to block its passage (for now at least). This was done not by a vote, or even the expressed desire of the People (unless you want to give polls more credibility than conservatives usually do), by by a parliamentary procedure in the rules. Should we be equally outraged by this and condemn those Senators which have blocked “democracy”?

    Comment by John — June 17, 2007 @ 4:46 pm - June 17, 2007

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    Comment by ADDINFENE — October 8, 2007 @ 2:26 am - October 8, 2007

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