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11/26/2014

No, you really don't seem to know what tyranny is, Jerry Cox

by Jeremy Hooper

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 At 12.20.00 PmResponding to yesterday's ruling in favor of marriage equality in his state, Arkansas Family Council head Jerry Cox writes:

“This is another example of judicial tyranny. Arkansans voted overwhelmingly to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Their elected officials voted for that definition when they passed Arkansas’ Defense of Marriage Act. By issuing this ruling, one federal judge is saying seventy-five percent of Arkansas voters and lawmakers do not matter. If that isn’t tyranny, I don’t know what is.” [SOURCE]

That last line is the key: "If that isn’t tyranny, I don’t know what is.

Tyranny is cruel, unreasonable, and oppressive government. When the Arkansas legislature chose to waste time passing a bill that did nothing more than restrict the rights of a certain class of taxpayer, that was a cruel act. When the electorate showed up to vote against their gay and lesbian residents, that was an oppressive act. When loving couples had to fight and jump through extra legal hoops just to protect their families, secure basic rights and benefits in both life and death, or even be with their loved ones in the hospital, that was unreasonable treatment. If the word "tyranny" is going to come in play here, it much more ably applies to the tyranny of the crude and cruel marriage ban that has haunted this and so many other states for far too long.

The judiciary, on the other hand, is in place precisely to protect citizens from such cruel and unreasonable and oppressive treatment. Just because a legislature thinks up a law and a majority of citizens treat a minority population's rights like a popularity contest, it does not mean that the law is constitutional. And when laws are not constitutional, they sometimes find themselves overturned. That is not tyranny. It's the opposite, in fact.

Social conservatives understand this when it comes to laws that they themselves disfavor. But whenever we're talking about our basic rights and judges who understand their proper roles in this conversation, they automatically jump on words like "tyranny" and "judicial activism." Because language is another area in which they've imposed (or at least tried to impose) their chosen tyranny.

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