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28 January 2012

FollowUp 3: NJ Democrats Call for Marriage Equality

The New Jersey Star Ledger's editorial board wrote about Governor Christie's call for a state referendum on marriage equality.
The governor’s plan is not serious. It is a political dodge. He is trying to provide a safe haven to shelter his obedient Republican legislators. The idea is they could safely vote against gay marriage, saying they only want the people to decide.
They go on to make the obvious correlation that if marriage equality for "inter-racial" marriage had to wait to pass a referendum, the 1967 Loving v Virginia decision of the Supreme Court would have had to wait at least three more decades to become law.  I would argue that it would have taken even longer because changing the law to allow Blacks and Whites to wed sped the change in societal attitude.
The point is that minority rights should not be subjected to majority vote. That misses the gist of constitutional rights.
As James Madison put it in Federalist Paper 51: “It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. If a majority can be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure.”
Exactly why many of us are saying that human rights and civil rights should not be dependent upon a vote of the people.  Rights should be guaranteed and protected by the Constitution.
It’s nothing but sad that the governor is playing this political game. He is ambitious for national office and knows that Republicans won’t abide a candidate on the ticket who supports gay marriage. On the other hand, he wants to contain the damage in New Jersey, where polls show most voters support marriage equality.
Our sense is that New Jersey is ready to vote for gay marriage — 52 percent favored it in a recent Quinnipiac poll. But one never knows. A low turnout and a big infusion of right-wing money could change that in a flash.
It is good that the Star Ledger's editorial board understands what is happening.  I suspect that Governor Christie understands very well what his referendum proposal means, both for the state of New Jersey and for his own aspirations for national office.

9 January 2012, Original Pedantic Political Ponderings post.

25 January 2012, FollowUp 1.

26 January 2012, FollowUp 2.

30 January 2012, FollowUp 4.

31 January 2012, FollowUp 5.

3 February 2012, FollowUp 6.

10 February 2012, FollowUp 7.

13 February 2012, FollowUp 8.

18 February 2012, FollowUp 9.

21 February 2012, FollowUp 10.

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