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03/04/2011

Maggie all like, 'Huh? What? You don't like us voting on your rights? How weird.'

by Jeremy Hooper

Of a certain Maryland Delegates support for a marriage referendum, Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart said this:

[Del. Sam Arora's] support for a voter referendum if the measure passes is unconscionable. Yes, a referendum is legal and will almost assuredly be approved in Maryland. But putting the civil rights of a minority up for a popular vote is never a good idea. In fact, it's wrong.
Sam Arora is now for and against marriage equality [WaPo, Post Partisan blog]

Which is a not uncommon position, of course. Pro-equality voices have been saying as much for years. And in the time since Prop 8's passage, it's a concept that's becoming more and more ingrained in the American vernacular. People are finally starting to realize that we don't directly vote on civil rights in this, a country with a system of representative democracy wherein we elect lawmakers for legislative matters, while at the same time valuing a little thing called a constitution, which protects certain inalienable rights of minorities.

But leave it to Maggie Gallagher to feign confusion. She asks of Capehart's claim:

Here's the weirdest position of all that pro-gay marriage advocates have settled on: it's okay for the legislature to vote on gay marriage, but "unconscionable" for the people to do so.

BY MAGGIE
WaPo Columnist: Supporting a Vote by the People is "Unconscionable" [NOM Blog]

Uh, yea Maggie -- it is! Because for one: The Maryland legislature is voting on a marriage equality bill, designed to remedy a short-sighted harm. This is not the same thing as a legislative marriage ban, which would also be unconscionable on merit, if not procedure. The bill on the table is designed to strengthen us as a people. To right a wrong. To shore up long-denied protections. It's more than okay for the legislature to vote on a marriage equality bill.

And then back to the practical element: That whole public voting thing. "The public" is getting a say, through the representatives that they sent to office via fair, interval elections. This is the way it works here in the land of the free, home of the brave. We do not go to ballot boxes for the expressed purpose of picking and choosing which tax-payers get a fair shake under the law. We don't launch largely faith-based, highly deceptive campaigns all about the supposed storm clouds that hover over certain people's heads. We don't limit human beings' potential based on personal whim. We don't deny deserved rights and/or benefits for sport. Or at least we shouldn't. Because doing so *is* unconscionable -- now, then, and always!

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