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03/16/2012

The war on the fairly-elected legislature's fairly-passed bills: Washington edition

by Jeremy Hooper

It's bad enough (rabidly awful, actually) that some of our fellow citizens continue to work so hard to put our civil rights onto a direct ballot. But there's something extra unsavory in the undercurrent of these kinds of campaigns, where fundamental misrepresentation of the American system always plays a key role.

Jbackholm No Background1317082757 Thumb-1This time the subject is Washington state and the speaker is the director of the local Family Policy Institute:

[Joseph] Backholm is confident they will obtain the needed signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

"Of course the other side will be hopeful that this does not get on the ballot, because they would like to see no vote take place," explains the family advocate. "But it is true that I think that there are a lot of people who understand that this is something that the public should be voting on -- because it's really not the legislature's institution."
Marriage defenders optimistic in Wash. [ONN]

Okay, first off: I don't think any state legislator thought he or she was voting on only his or her own marriage. I'm pretty sure that lawmakers on both sides of this issue knew that this was a matter affecting a great many. Which is pretty much always the case with legislative business, Screen Shot 2012-03-16 At 10.00.57 Amsince these are the people who are elected to do the people's business. It's kind of what they do.

But that's the thing with the whole "let us vote" meme that the anti-equality crowd holds so dear. Even though they (presumably) weighed in at the polls on prior election days regarding whether these particular men and women should hold office, and even though they know that the victors then proceed to perform their roles, as those roles have always been understood, on any number of legislative matters, when it comes to this particular conversation of marriage (in)equality, people like Joseph Backholm act as if the legislature was required to bring every Washingtonian through a cattle call line and let him or her cast a statehouse-set "aye" or "nay" before moving further. When a marriage vote goes against their wishes, the "protect marriage" crowd acts as if the legislative process doesn't matter. Like it's a mere suggestion. A scrimmage. The provincial opinion of a band of rebels who were created by liberal think tanks, not elected by the citizenry.

It's dangerous to same-sex couples (current of potential), most obviously. But don't be fooled, everyone else: It's deeply dangerous to our country as well.

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