Saturday, July 10, 2004

Orrin G. Hatch on The Federal Marriage Amendment

In a long article, Republican Senator Orrin G. Hatch lays out the conservative justification for the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would outlaw same-sex marriage. His basic point is (as usual) that the possibility that "a handful of liberal judges [may] force this radical change [the possibility of same-sex marriage] on the entire nation is wholly inconsistent with the right of people to govern themselves." He complains
"In California, even though 60 percent of voters recently approved a statewide ballot initiative to maintain traditional marriage, the California supreme court is now considering the constitutionality of that democratic action. In Nebraska, the American Civil Liberties Union has challenged a duly passed state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Second, there will likely be a federal court challenge to state marriage laws, similar to the challenges that have eliminated state laws against certain sexual activity.

Third, a federal lawsuit in Florida is challenging DOMA's traditional definition of marriage for purposes of federal benefits."
Senator Hatch is an intelligent man, and he understands our constitutional system. Yet he ignores the fact that it is precisely the job of the judiciary to strike down laws that are inconsistent with the rights guaranteed to us by our constitution.

When our government was created the Founding Fathers were aware that we are not always wise enough to govern ourselves with tolerance and respect. That's why certain rights were written into the constitution and why courts were authorized to strike down laws that abridged those rights.

Recently we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education, the ruling that struck down segregation in the public schools. Does Hatch really think it was a bad idea for a handful of judges to have imposed such a radical change on the entire nation? I haven't researched his position on it. Perhaps he does.

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