The Daily Beast’s David Frum writes:
Maryland will settle same-sex marriage the right way: at the ballot box. In November, Marylanders will vote on Question 6, an initiative to amend the state constitution to allow same-sex marriage.
I could not disagree more.
Equality, basic human rights and common sense should not be dependent on public opinion. The legislation of issues such as same-sex marriage should not rely upon voter turnout, television advertising, and campaign fundraising to decide the matter. It should be decided by a fair minded, politically neutral court comprised of men and women who have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States.
Actually, same-sex marriage should just be legal from a standpoint of basic human decency and common sense, the same way that kissing your grandmother, climbing a tree or hugging a friend did not require legislation in order to be legal. But absent this, the matter should not be reliant upon the whims of the electorate. Human beings live too damn long, are too narrow minded and are too likely to carry their bigotry to the grave with them. Reforms like the legalization of same-sex marriage often must be forced upon the citizenry, regardless of public opinion.
For example, interracial marriage was legalized in 1967 by the United States Supreme Court even though only 20% of Americans supported it and 73% expressed disapproval of interracial marriage at the time. Twenty-seven years after the Court legalized interracial marriage, a majority of Americans still opposed it, but public opinion did not matter. The Court had done the right thing, regardless of what the public believed or continued to believe more than two decades later.
In fact, it was not until 1997 that a majority of Americans expressed support for interracial marriage. Had the country allowed the ballot box to decide the issue, interracial couples would have been required to wait thirty additional years before being granted the same rights as intra-racial couples.
Public opinion should only go so far. When it comes to doing the right thing, do the right thing, regardless of what people think, any way you can.
Want to settle the same sex marriage debate the right way?
Just legalize it and tell the bigots to shut the hell up.