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04/19/2010

No taxation without [the ability to tyrannically thwart certain taxpayers' marriages]!

by Jeremy Hooper

Sometimes you have to wonder why the "pro-family" crowd won't just back off and understand that their personal faith opinions cannot be used to trample the CIVIL rights of others. But other times, judging by the willful logic leaps that come forth from anti-equality mouths, you really have to wonder if this organized movement even understands the way American government is designed to work.

Consider this, from the Family Research Council's Tom McClusky. In a new piece, he talks about the push for District of Columbia voting rights:

President Obama voiced his support for DC to have a vote in the House of Representatives today at the same time Senator
Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has vowed to filibuster (subscription needed) any bill that allowed for that, even after supporting it the first time around.
[Source]

Now, whether or not you agree or disagree with D.C. residents having congressional voting representation, this matter at hand has everything to do with the way we the people are represented in this representative democracy/constitutional republic that we call America. And in the two subsequent lines that follow the above quip, the FRC writer stays on topic, proceeding to give a few facts and opinions abut this one issue. Fair enough. It's a worthwhile discussion.

But then McClusky does something completely illogical, parlaying the D.C. voting rights matter into an attack on local residents' inability to directly weigh in on gay people's ring fingers. Then he paints the president's differing opinions on these two completely differing matters as somehow incongruous. Of the supposed "right" to vote on unions and President Obama's supposed "hypocrisy," McClusky says:

...the President has been relatively silent on allowing DC residents a chance to vote on protecting marriage. The DC government has continuously trampled the rights of its citizens by knocking down efforts by DC voters to be able to decide for themselves how marriage should be defined. During the 2008 election when California was facing a vote on the marriage amendment the President opposed that effort as well. [Source]

So now he has completely shifted the subject to revolve around direct democracy, specifically the usage of the initiative process. He has taken the conversation to a completely different place. Whereas the D.C. representation matter revolves primarily around whether a highly populated (more populated than Wyoming) and highly influential non-state Tom-McCluskylike the District deserves a measure of representation similar to other masses of U.S. soil, McClusky's new issue revolves around whether or not a majority of voters have the right to gather signatures and place a ballot initiative at the polls so that a bare majority of voters can overturn a certain form of civil fairness as it pertains to their LGB neighbors. The former discussion is fully in line with the Constitutional Framers' prevailing intent: The latter is in direct contradiction to it! The only real connection is that they both involve the words "vote" and "D.C."

The fact is that the D.C. Board of Elections' has quite clearly stated that this sort of anti-marriage equality vote would be discriminatory against same-sex couples (which is where the constitutional republic part of our representative democracy comes into play, tempering majority rule when it comes to minority rights), and two different courts have already agreed with that view. That's because that is the viewpoint that is in line with the governance of this nation. It is not "hypocrisy" for President Obama to support a reasoned conversation around the matter of D.C. representation, yet reject any unprincipled chatter pertaining to the misuse of the initiative/referendum process for misrepresentative purposes. What's hypocritical is the way folks like Tom McClusky loudly and indefatigably position the social conservatives as being the "true Americans" who want to "take back" this country, when they are so willing to deny, overlook, or deliberately obfuscate a principle as basic to the well-being of our republic as protecting this nation's most vulnerable citizens!

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