Maddow: “Rights are not supposed to be open to popularity contests”

In arguing in support for same sex marriage, Rachel Maddow‘s blog (the post is actually written by Steve Benen) actually makes the case that The Government, and we’re looking at mostly elected Democrats, should back off on gun control

Rights are not supposed to be open to popularity contests. Throughout American history, if all contentious decisions over civil rights were left solely to popular will and the political process, progress would have been very slow, indeed. It’s precisely why Americans have turned to their last available option — the courts — as a way of ensuring their rights are protected.

What Benen’s referring to is Justice Samuel Alito’s “provocative” question on whether the Court should be ruling on same sex marriage, as there is no data on whether it is good or bad, since it is “newer than cell phones and the Internet.” Well, guns are a lot older than any of those, as is the Right as written in the Bill Of Rights, and the Right is not subject to a popularity contest into restricting that Right.

And, really, marriage of any form is not in the Constitution. One could look towards the Declaration of Independence to see “pursuit of happiness”. Now, I’ve always said that I support civil unions for same sex marriage: this is America, founded on the principles of Classic Liberalism, where if it isn’t harming you, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be legal. Why should people who love each other be denied the ability to be recognized as joined in the eyes of the law? Leave marriage, a religious institution, to the religious organizations.

That said, if gay marriage wins, will The Government require churches to perform them, an obvious violation of the 1st Amendment? Will churches, mosques, synagogues, pastors, priests, clerics, etc be held liable for criminal and/or civil penalties if they refuse to perform a gay marriage? Would one be charged with a “hate crime” if they refuse?

Second, if gay marriage is OK, why not polygamous/bigamous marriage? One of the main arguments for same sex marriage is that it denies the right of equality to same sex couples. Yet, those who want to voluntarily engage in a polygamous/bigamous marriage have been denied under law for hundreds of years. It is a felony to be married to more than one person at a time. What if these people love each other? Is it hurting anyone else? Where’s the equality? You may think that’s a specious argument, but, it shows that certain forms of marriage have been banned under the law.

BTW, Megan McCardle says same sex marriage opponents should understand that this is the best it’s going to get

…this is a landmark victory for the forces of staid, bourgeois sexual morality.  Once gays can marry, they’ll be expected to marry.  And to buy sensible, boring cars that are good for car seats.  I believe we’re witnessing the high water mark for “People should be able to do whatever they want, and it’s none of my business.”  You thought the fifties were conformist?  Wait until all those fabulous “confirmed bachelors” and maiden schoolteachers are expected to ditch their cute little one-bedrooms and join the rest of America in whining about crab grass, HOA restrictions, and the outrageous fees that schools want to charge for overnight soccer trips.

Oh, and keep your filthy hands off my guns: my rights are not open to polls and popularity contests.

Crossed at Right Wing News and Stop The ACLU.

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5 Responses to “Maddow: “Rights are not supposed to be open to popularity contests””

  1. bob sykes says:

    All marriages should be legal contracts submitted to the state for review and enforcement. No religious organization should be allowed to make legally binding marriages. Religious marriage rites should have no legal import. They should merely indicate the church’s recognition and endorsement of the union. That way, no church could be force to perform a “marriage” that violates it

  2. john says:

    Teach is it your position that “popular” laws like restricting ownership of RPGs is somehow a violation of the 2nd Amendment? Is it your position that all restrictions of the ownership of “arms” is inherently unconstitutional?

  3. david7134 says:

    John,
    Yes, that is why we have a constitution. It is meant to limit, I repeat limit, the government. Clearly our contract with the government included our ability to own guns and if you look at the Federalist papers (meant to explain the constitution) you will find that the purpose is to make sure the government stays in line. More to the point, why do you want to limit anything? Nothing would prevent the evil of mass killings.

    As to marriage, note that the issue before the Court is one of someone trying to use gay marriage to prevent paying their taxes. I thought in the liberal world, the desire to not pay taxes was the worst evil that existed.

  4. I notice that you’re coming after me, John, and not the writer, Steve Benen nor Rachel Maddow. Why is that? Is it because you only agree for one, but not the other?

  5. gitarcarver says:

    Once again john tries to distract from the issue of thr current debate on the Second Amendment as no one is talking about RPG’s.

    But since he asked, the Constitution was written in terms the common man could understand. It was not written to be only understood by academics. A common man with average intelligence can understand the Constitution.

    That being said john, what don’t you understand in “the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed?”

    Is that to ambigious for you? Is the wording too difficult for you?

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