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05/22/2008

Like a far-right bat signal, CA ruling brings Rick back into play

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 27-8Want a reason why former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum was voted out of office? Well, in a new commentary he has written in reaction to the CA marriage ruling, he gives us at least three of them:

1. "Let's put aside the tired argument that the people should have a say in the laws of their government. That is so 18th-century white-male drivel. Thank goodness we have unaccountable judicial elites to make decisions for us bigots."

WE SAY: Oh really, Rick? You, one who has reached the upper echelons of public service, don't realize that the people of California have had a say in the matter, via the elected representatives who've twice approved marriage legislation? And you also don't realize that the people's will has to fit within the realm of the law, and that statutory laws like Prop 22 must not overstep the constitutional bounds? And you don't realize that these baseless partisan attacks against one of the branches of government (complete with grossly unfair, ad hominem "elite" claim) is thoroughly un-American? You just think that the rights of a minority should be determined by a vote of the people, which is to stand for all perpetuity without being open to legal challenge? Interesting.

2. "Is anyone saying same-sex couples can't love each other? I love my children. I love my friends, my brother. Heck, I even love my mother-in-law. Should we call these relationships marriage, too? Marriage is and always has been more than the acknowledgment of the love between two people."

WE SAY: Yea, Rick? You think same-sex unions have more in common with children, friend, sibling, and in-law love than they do with their logical counterpart: heterosexual unions? Even though gay couples have all of those other forms of love as well? You think that in simply extending marital rights so that they encompass both John & Sue and their neighbors Steve & Joe -- both of whom share a monogamous coupling complete with mortgages, taxes, and children -- the government is recognizing some wacky new form of love? Even in conservative circles, we can't see how that argument holds any water.

3. "What about the constitutional right to equal protection under the law? Marriage is not an inalienable right; it is a privilege, a license granted by government conferring certain governmental benefits."

WE SAY: Yea, Rick? Ever heard of Loving v. Virginia? This part in particular:

"Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State."

Even if you don't agree that race and sexual orientation deserve direct comparison, it's pretty clear that we've passed the point where marriage recognition is to be viewed as merely a "privilege."

But welcome back into the spotlight, R.S. After all, since you were so prominent in the earlier days of the 21st century marriage debate, it's only proper that you be in the public spectrum when the "pro-family" house of cards that you helped build completely collapses.

The Elephant in the Room: A wake-up call on gay marriage after '03 alarm went unheeded [Phil Inquirer]

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Your thoughts

So many politicians are Glenn Close getting out of the bathtub in Fatal Attraction these days I can't keep up.

*cough* Hillary.

Also, Alan Keyes is an abortion.

Posted by: Evan | May 22, 2008 4:24:24 PM

"Heck, I even love my mother-in-law. Should we call these relationships marriage, too?"

The pastor of one of my mom's former churches did marry his daughter-in-law (after she divorced his son) . . . so, if Rick wants to, and he and his mother-in-law are into doin’-the-deed, and are both unencumbered by other spouses, then they certainly could get married; would probably be equally as freaky as my mom’s pastor’s situation was though.

But then that really doesn’t have anything to do with same-sex marriage . . . does it?

Posted by: Dick Mills | May 22, 2008 4:40:45 PM

Wait don't let Santorum get away with this one. "Unaccountable judicial elites!" That is a much over-used phrase by the right wing like Dobson's "unelected judges." The Supreme Court Judges are elected to office as well in California and are voted on by the people according to the California Consitution. They are just as accountable as any other elected politician.

Of course the whole "activist judge" thing makes me angry as they didn't write law, but merely struck down existing unconstitutional law which is fully in their purview.

Posted by: Daimeon | May 22, 2008 5:04:02 PM

I can't stand when they (the far right) use terms like "activist judges" and "unelected", which is misleading at best.
However it should be pointed out that the Supreme Court justices are, in fact, appointed by the governor in the state of California. The reason that the term "unelected" is misleading is that the voters of California must confirm the justices in order for the justices to retain their seat on the court. And, it should also be pointed out, that all seven justices were confirmed with at least 69% or more.

Posted by: Jon-Marc | May 22, 2008 7:20:14 PM

Jon-Marc:

The results of a vote that is simply the rubber-stamping of what has been decided in the state capital is not a good measure of public opinion.

Whether judges are appointed or elected, they can be held accountable because they can be removed from office. The trouble in this country is we seldom (if ever) remove a judge even when sincerely believing he has exceeded his authority. So judges come to be seen as unaccountable. We really have only ourselves to blame for this.

Posted by: David | May 23, 2008 3:37:59 PM

Jeremy:

1) This post, as with all your others, assumes that Proposition 22 really did overstep the bounds that California's constitution places on legislation. I have mentioned this repeatedly elsewhere on this site and will say no more about it here.

I do, however, want to note that the Califonia legislature's approval of same-sex marriages is not relevant to a constitutional review of Prop 22. Santorum was not concerning himself with a fight between the people and the legislature; he was only talking about the rights of the people versus judicial power.

2) Santorum is probably concerned with the main social function of marriage, setting up a basis for responsible procreation. From that perspective, a homosexual couple's love is more like that of parent-child, siblings, etc.

3) The quote from Loving v. Virginia is interesting. It shows the Court overstepping its bounds even when ruling correctly! We do not have courts to tell us what the "basic civil rights of man" are. Even if such philosophical matters were proper for a law court, it would have been improperly deciding an unnecessary question in this case. Denying the right to chew gum -- hardly any basic human right -- on the basis of race would have been equally unconstitutional.

All that aside, this quote doesn't bolster your case any, Jeremy. When the court refered to marriage as "fundamental to our very existence and survival" it was clearly referring to marriage as linked to procreation.

Posted by: David | May 23, 2008 4:12:17 PM

Standard response to all comments from 'David' of 'Stop The Tyrants' (above):

After engaging/indulging David for over a year, I finally wised up and realized that every last dialogue we have shared has been completely fruitless. And not in just a "we disagree" way -- I enjoy engaging in reasoned dissent, which can be both fun and even educational. David, however, is simply not open to any exchange of ideas. I have gone over every comment he has ever made on here: The aggressively closed-off tone is the one consistent. His mind is made up, and any attempt at discourse with him will fall on the deafest of ears.

So I will no longer dignify, or really even read his reliably self-aggrandizing, non-productive, school marm-like comments. It might be in everyone's best interest to do the same.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 23, 2008 4:15:03 PM

"Marriage is and always has been more than the acknowledgment of the love between two people."

That's a lie.

Hetero marriage in this day and age is pretty much 90% an acknowledgedment of the love between ONE person, and the other person's wallet, dick, cooter, vehicle, social status, or their face.

Posted by: Scott | May 23, 2008 4:42:04 PM

Scott, that is the most cynical and hilarious thing I have read all day! Bravo! I happen to be a big fan of the cynically hilarious.

Posted by: Dick Mills | May 23, 2008 8:25:22 PM

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