By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

A depressing setback for marriage

At this point, it’s just depressing. Voters in Maine last night overturned their state’s same-sex-marriage law by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent.

The very idea that we should have the right to vote on whether our neighbors are fully human is offensive. The fact that the latest expression of “no, they’re not” comes from live-and-let-live Maine only makes it worse.

“God has given us this victory,” the Rev. Bob Emrich is quoted as saying in the Bangor Daily News. Perhaps KnowThyNeighbor.org will tell us how much cash the Big Guy ponied up.

Better news from Washington State.

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63 Comments

  1. lkcape

    I am a firm believer that Government should not intrude into the lives of its citizens.

    And while Massachusetts has many problems and rocky future, it is NOT because of same-sex marriage.

    Maine voters have taken a step backwards.

  2. Steve Stein

    The very idea that we should have the right to vote on whether our neighbors are fully human is offensive.

    My sentiments exactly. Depressing indeed.

  3. JeffC

    So the fact that other people, in 31 (out of 31) states, have a different view of marriage than you is depressing?

    Wow, that’s some kind of open mind you have there.

    Liberalism: Where dissent can not be tolerated.

  4. mike_b1

    Yo, lkcape, that’s what government does. And if it didn’t, we’d still have slavery.

  5. Steve Stein

    Here is a hopeful view of how support for same-sex marriage has grown, and continues to grow, over time.

    It is worth remembering that although Loving v Virginia was decided in 1967, mixed race marriage continued to be unpopular with the majority of citizens in many states until some time in the 90s. What’s different, of course, is that the majority of opinion was not allowed to trump a civil right.

  6. Rich

    It has nothing to do with voting on whether someone is “fully human”. It’s simply defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

    And don’t you love this quote:

    “In a defiant speech to several hundred lingering supporters, No on 1 campaign manager Jesse Connolly pledged that his side “will not quit until we know where every single one of these votes lives.”

    And once they know where they live, then what?

  7. Dan Kennedy

    JeffC: If you don’t believe in same-sex marriage, then don’t marry someone of the same sex. Problem solved.

  8. Craig

    Agree with Rich. I dont believe the vote was a referendum on whether gay people are “fully human” at all. Dan, the fact that you paint the vote this way says more about you than it does about those of us against gay marriage. We see gay people as “fully human” but are reluctant to redefine the family unit which is at the core of our civilization. Your refusal to see how profound a change gay marriage is, and your tendency to paint us all as bigots and instantly discredit our opinions with one-line comebacks reveals you are a Liberal ideologue when it comes to sexual issues.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Keep dreaming, Craig. Imposing your opposition to same-sex marriage on others helps no one, but does huge harm to gay and lesbian couples.

  9. mike_b1

    Craig, “at the core of our civilization? Really? In the scope of human history, marriage is a relatively new proposition. You right-wingers want it both ways: You want government to stay out of the business of the individual, but you as an individual want the power to decide what rights other individuals should have. The contradictions and hypocrisy abound!

  10. Craig

    Dan, I guess I am not buying the “huge harm” argument. Tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual couples has increased dramatically and profoundly in a very short timespan. This is wonderful. Shouldnt that be the main goal? Shouldn’t we celebrate the progress in this area? The only “harm” I can perceive is that certain gay peoples’ (recently discovered) urge to redefine the traditional family unit is being stymied. So I guess the “harm” you refer to is psychological. I guess you mean gay couples will suffer a very damaging inferiority complex unless we expand the meaning of marriage. Unfortunately, none of the gay couples I know actually suffer from this inferiority complex. Furthermore, people who want to preserve the traditional meaning of marriage are genuinely disturbed by the social change in equal measure. Sorry, Dan. You can say “keeep dreaming” but painting the majority of Americans as hateful bigots is ideology, pure and simple.

  11. MarkB

    So democracy is an imposition? Craig obviously does believe that his opposition to same-sex marriage does help someone. But you apparently think that you should get to decide, not him. Where did you come by your superiority?

  12. lkcape

    So if I get your drift, then Mr. B1, government interfering with the rights of individuals to associate is fine with you?

  13. Craig

    BTW, Mike, I am not a “right winger” in ANY sense of the word. Conservative by temperament on a few social issues? Yes. Lefty on a wide swath of issues? YES.

  14. Dan has increasinly made it quite evident that he supports the choice of the people, but only when he agrees with their choice. The ballot asked which way to you feel on this issue, and each person answered according to their feeling and beliefs on that issue. That wasn’t a depressing setback for marriage, just a depressing setback for your position on marriage. Go ahead, slice me up with all your “splainin”. BTW, I think I personally lean towards allowing anyone who wants to get married to get married. But that’s not my point.. which is what distinguishes my position from yours.

  15. Oh my gosh, you guys. Seriously, it’s as simple as this: If legalizing same-sex marriage doesn’t hurt anybody (and nobody can make any rational argument that it does), then those who oppose making it legal are doing so out of fear, prejudice, or disgust. Plain and simple, these emotions betray a deep belief that gays are not, or should not be considered, fully human.

    I’m with Dan all the way on this one.

  16. mike_b1

    lkcape, you most certainly don’t have my “drift.”

    Instead of “government interfering with the rights of individuals to associate,” government is actually protecting the rights individuals to associate. And I’m all for that.

  17. Rich

    So Jenna, can I marry my sister as long as we don’t have kids? (the whole birth defect thing wouldn’t be an issue then). I don’t think I would be hurting anyone, right? It’s maybe an absurd example of your point, but maybe not so absurd? Society needs rules, doesn’t it…

    • Dan Kennedy

      So Jenna, can I marry my sister as long as we don’t have kids?

      I’m thinking we should start a pool to guess who’ll be the first to inject bestiality into the discussion. I say 4:17 p.m.

  18. charles pierce

    For all the “I’m Not Bigoted” tap-dancing, the idea of putting fundamental human rights up to a plebisicite ought to scare the piss out of anyone, left or right.

  19. lkcape

    You did, Dan, you did!

    As for Mike_B1’s stunning self-contradictions, I’m not surprised.

    Read what Bob Fontaine has written, my friend, and look into thyself.

  20. mike_b1

    Rich, did you forget that Woody Allen married his stepdaughter?

    The mass relocation of Jews during WWII has most certainly led to relatives unknowingly marrying each other.

    UK citizens may marry their cousins. In certain Eastern and Middle-Eastern states, interfamily marriage is not infrequent.

    Bible believers would have to accept that God created Adam and Eve, and as such all their offspring must have engaged in incest in order to procreate. (Talk about original sin!)

    Society does need rules. Why that is the one it needs seems completely arbitrary.

  21. Rich

    So Mike, your answer to my question would be yes?

    Dan, last I checked an animal would not qualify in a phrase referencing “two people”.

  22. if bestiality does rear its head here, I’m going home and taking my ideas with me.

  23. shoot–that’s twice now that bestiality has reared its head. I guess it’s time to head home double-time.

  24. Craig

    I am not buying the “fundamental human rights” argument either. No one is debating the right to associate, choose sexual partners, speak, participate in the democracy, make a living, be free from physical harm or persecution, pursue happiness, etc, etc. We are only debating whether the special status historically accorded to heterosexual marriage and the traditional family unit should be done away with. In my opinion, it should not, at this time. If this makes me a bigot in your eyes, so be it. As far as I can tell, the epic historial struggle for gays to gain the right to marry began about 10 years ago. The exaggerated language and rhetoric of the supporters, and the constant accusations of bigotry, are wildly disproportionate and make civil discussion very difficult, IMO.

  25. BostonMediaWatch

    Craig says:
    November 4, 1849 at 11:50 am

    Dan, I guess I am not buying the “huge harm” argument. Tolerance and acceptance of Negroes has increased dramatically and profoundly in a very short timespan. This is wonderful. Shouldn’t that be the main goal? Shouldn’t we celebrate the progress in this area? The only “harm” I can perceive is that certain Negroes’ (recently discovered) urge to redefine the traditional master-slave relationship is being stymied. So I guess the “harm” you refer to is psychological. I guess you mean Negroes will suffer a very damaging inferiority complex unless we expand the meaning of “free”. Unfortunately, none of the Negroes I know actually suffer from this inferiority complex. Furthermore, people who want to preserve the traditional meaning of “free” are genuinely disturbed by the social change in equal measure. Sorry, Dan. You can say “keep dreaming” but painting the majority of Americans as hateful bigots is ideology, pure and simple.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Craig: Let me clarify. I did not mean to suggest that outlawing same-sex marriage would cause “huge harm” to you. I meant it would cause huge harm to others.

      You keep bringing up phrases like “hateful bigots,” which I have not used. I have never argued that opposition to same-sex marriage is a matter of hate; just that it’s misguided and wrong. I find it especially depressing that the Catholic Church insists on pushing its anti-marriage views, given that the First Amendment guarantees it would never have to marry same-sex couples. Church leaders should render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and leave us alone.

  26. Rich

    Craig, stop making sense, will ya’?

  27. Craig

    It is interesting how gay marriage supporters find the incest, pedophilia, polygamy, bestiality slippery-slope argument offensive, but find the parallels between the experience of blacks in America between 1500 and 1960 and that of gays between 2000 and the present to be perfectly proportional.

  28. You really think an option for two men to marry, or two woment to marry, with a license issued by a county; makes them complete people?

  29. mike_b1

    lckcape, you win: What, exactly, did Bob Fontaine write that has any bearing on what I wrote? Think for yourself for once!

    Craig and others: When you invoke the bestiality “issue,” you show a stunning disregard for intelligence of any kind (and Dan, for the record, you were off by 2 hours). As the age of consent laws attempt to define, the human brain continues to develop well into a person’s twenties. No individual can enter into a contract with a mentally incapacitated individual (I’ll let the lawyers present insert the proper legalese). Obviously, an animal is incapable of reason, thus rendering the decision of whether it would, if is could, marry a human utterly moot.

    Are we really having this debate?

  30. Craig

    For the record, I didnt intend to invoke the “incest, pedophilia, polygamy, bestiality slippery-slope argument” as a real line of reasoning. However, I find the comparison between the experience of gays and African Americans to be almost as outrageous.

    • Dan Kennedy

      I find the comparison between the experience of gays and African Americans to be almost as outrageous.

      Which begs the question … why? I’ll refrain from the great temptation I’m feeling to put words in your mouth, but I can count the reasons you would find that “outrageous” on one finger.

  31. Newshound

    This marriage stuff is not so simple. For example – you can’t marry your wife’s grandmother or stepmother (who would want to) or a whole slew of other non-blood relatives in Massachusetts.

    There already are numerous restrictions.

    Here’s the list:
    Section 1. No man shall marry his mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, stepmother, grandfather’s wife, grandson’s wife, wife’s mother, wife’s grandmother, wife’s daughter, wife’s granddaughter, brother’s daughter, sister’s daughter, father’s sister or mother’s sister.

    Section 2. No woman shall marry her father, grandfather, son, grandson, brother, stepfather, grandmother’s husband, daughter’s husband, granddaughter’s husband, husband’s grandfather, husband’s son, husband’s grandson, brother’s son, sister’s son, father’s brother or mother’s brother.

  32. charles pierce

    The fundamental rights in question include equal protection of the laws, all the laws. Arguing for state-sanctioned Marriage as some sort of primal institution that existed in a state of nature prior to the Constitution is just incoherent.

  33. Newshound

    So based on the preceding list of restrictions does that mean in Massachusetts a woman can marry her stepmother but if she were a man she would be restricted from such liberty?

  34. Craig

    People with black skins were systematically rounded up from their native countries, herded into slave ships, transported to America, treated no different from cattle, entirely dehumanized, and subjected to a life of abject torture and slavery for dozens of generations. This pattern of genocide and slavery was brought to a formal end but was followed by almost a hundred years of bitter, violent, civil rights struggles. Gay couples in our society have complete freedom, are subjected to little or no discrimination (I hope), enjoy an ever increasing sense of tolerance, acceptance, and encouragement from the society, and, most importantly, enjoy all civil rights. I dont consider marriage between an arbitrary set of two people to be a civil right. Maybe you do. But please admit that the drive for the right to marry is relatively new, and in no way comparable to the horrific and prolonged struggles of Blacks in America.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Craig: So you don’t think gays and lesbians have the moral standing to agitate for their civil rights. If only they would do the right thing and suffer more, perhaps you would change your mind.

  35. Newshound

    charles pierce – can’t exactly follow – are you saying a woman should or should not be able to marry her stepmother, for one example.

  36. Newshound

    Craig – I agree somewhat with many of your points made today. However, slavery did not exist for dozens of generations as I understand it. Maybe eight generations. Most people who can trace their ancestry to the Mayflower who are in their 40s to 60s are about 12th generation, more or less.

    We all agree today that slavery was wrong but some instances were hardly different than exploitation that has gone on with immigrants since the 13th Amendment.

    Even though in recent years people were not captured and brought over here chained in boats and committed to hard labor, we in this country have enjoyed a somewhat fictional economy based on the slave-like conditions used to manufacture goods sold in the USA. It is still slavery.

  37. Craig

    Dan, everyone should agitate for their own interests. That doesn’t prevent the rest of us to making comment when the rhetoric using during the agitation becomes ridiculous, and the historical comparisons outrageous.

  38. JeffC

    @Dan: My issue is not so much with gay marriage per-se, but with the visceral hatred gay activists seem to have for those of us who believe God blesses marriage for a reason. Why resort to the “bigotry” card so quickly?

    BTW: It is possible to have equal justice under the law without changing the fundamental definition of marriage. You just need to be open minded about it.

  39. Al

    I too, think the Maine vote is another shame in a string of them spreading across the country in the wake of legalization of gay marriage in various states. One question I do have concerns the offer of ‘civil unions’ in some states as an alternative to marriage, which would provide some of the legal benefits currently denied gay couples such as visitation rights in hospitals, and shared health insurance. My question is how does this really differ from the union that heterosexual couples can have at justices of the peace in town halls around the country? Those unions are called marriages, but I see no difference between them and ‘civil unions’ in any way but semantics and a stubborn refusal to call them a marriage. For all those faith based groups that are opposed to gay marriage, I don’t know if any law forces their religion to marry gays, it just allows it in a civil setting, so if the Catholic Church, for example, wants to maintain its position against gay marriage, it should be able to as I understand things. Continuing to oppose the laws if I understand things is just forcing their beliefs on everyone else.

  40. HadEnough

    This would be a good place to offer insight into how the anonymity (or psuedonymity) of online forums means that some people will write terrible, meanhearted and bigoted things that they would never dare to say to a person’s face–EXCEPT THAT in this case, the same bigoted (I’m not afraid to call them what they are) ideas that have been espoused in this forum are being said out loud, every day, all over the country. I’m gay, and I’m not necessarily interested in getting married. But I am interested in changing the laws, the rhetoric, and the social structures that make people feel free to not only pass judgment about me based on their prejudice but to utter those prejudices out loud and assert without even the slightest bit of irony or self-reflection that these stances are anything other than hateful, bigoted, and cruel.

  41. Newshound

    Like most of us I have had numerous friends and business associates of various diverse characteristics. Some are gay. That is for the most part an inconsequential characteristic similar to be being tall or short, athletic or not etc.

    I am 100% for the marriage of a man and a woman – the man wearing a tuxedo or a nice suit with a best man, the bride wearing a gown – a traditional cake and at minimum a modest reception, etc. I like weddings with some originality, too. Ice cream cake, for example.

    I like the idea that the word marriage is reserved solely for a man and a woman, and even best for a young couple who will grow together emotionally. Tradition has value.

    In respect to the natural laws of our society, I respect and support the freedoms of all citizens, even those that don’t easily fit into my fairytale ideals.

    I am opposed to gay marriage. Freedom overwhelms. It is not up to me to decide what other people prefer.

  42. I think this is a sad day for civil rights.

    Extending the benefits and protections of civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples harms no one. Expanding civil rights to groups that have historically been excluded benefits everyone.

    I’m sorry, but I just cannot think of my gay and lesbian friends who are in committed relationships as presenting a threat to anyone. These are good people, productive citizens, who contribute so much to my life and to the communities in which they live.

    How dare you say that they are not entitled to the full benefits of citizenship. How dare you. It’s unAmerican. And I agree with Dan, it’s offensive that we’re even voting on the humanity of our neighbors and coworkers.

    And you know what, they’re already forming families, with children. The only question is whether those families deserve protection. I believe they do.

    And please, don’t tell me how gay and lesbian couples getting married would ruin the traditional family structure that you say is so important. Seriously, that horse left the barn a long, long time ago.

    Heterosexual divorce, fathers abandoning their children, those are the threats to the “traditional family.” So, maybe we should make divorce illegal? Maybe we should stiffen the penalties for parents who don’t provide for their children?

    And while we’re at it, maybe we should ensure that people make a living wage, that no child lives in poverty or goes without health care. More funding for daycare and preschool would help, too.

    But the opponents of gay marriage aren’t really interested in having a discussion about how our society could truly protect “the traditional family.” No, they’re more interested in scapegoating a minority group by piling all of society’s ills on them.

    Our system is set up to protect the rights of minorities, not to impose the will of the majority.

    As a Jew, I look at the votes in Maine and California and think, “What if someone put my civil rights up for a popular vote next?” Jews are a tiny percentage of the U.S. population. We’d probably lose. I can just imagine the debate about whether I’m “fully human.”

  43. mike_b1

    Two key points in Newshound’s 7:06 post.

    1. “Tradition has value.” Certainly. Like it did for Indian women who threw themselves on the funeral pyres of their deceased husbands, an abhorrent social more that outlived laws banning the practice. Traditions — even religious ones — also change. So why not this one?

    2. “It is not up to me to decide what other people prefer.” Precisely the case gay marriage proponents are making. Yet many, many others want to dictate the rules. And most of those many, many others are the same people who claim to want government out of their lives. In fact, they want government out of their lives, but in the lives of everyone who isn’t ideologically identical to them.

  44. I dunno folks. But in my opinion, which I guess is what we’re really discussing – the collective right of our opinions resulting in the assumption that a consensus of at least the majority of those willing to express their opinion on a matter, is, that if the law allows two people of whatever sexual preference, nationality, religion or personal beliefs to love one another, then we’ve accopmlished something. Now, if were talking about “legal” rights to partner benefits, regardless of the afrementioned possible combination of elements that makes us simple and imperfect human beings, that is something else. However, when some insists that we additionaly and necessarily apply the term ‘marriage’ to define those relationships, that’s where I might take issue. So then we ask ourselves, on a state by state basis, if we then separate the moral (religous) “legal” (and often therefore financial)consequences from the equation, what is is that those in favor os same sex “marriage” and those against it are really arguing about? It is about what a legal “marriage” should be. So, being as that there is clearly a great divide among us as to what it “should” be, we allow the people to state how we feel by voting on it, as a democracy does best. Well the voters of Maine, cast their legal ballots, and gave you their answer. You may not like it, you may not agree, but, as I stated previously, it may be “depressing” that they see things differently than you do, but that does not make it a “depressing setback for marriage”, it really only means that more people in Maine, where you do not have a vote and are presumptious in degrading their perspecitve in favor of your own, who had the RIGHT to tell you how THEY feel about the issue, do not want marriage to be defined in that way that you want it defined. If you agree with it or not, if I agree with it or not, you ought to respect their opinions, because attempting to do otherwise only serves to violate the existing rights they hold, in favor of right they just voted not to grant.

  45. lafcadio mullarkey

    And thus another round of the ritualistic taking of offense.

    As long as we’re taking offense, the co-optation of an actual (black) civil rights struggle, described by Craig above, by gays, to describe their recent efforts to be able to “marry” instead of making do with civil union (oh the horror!) is an overreach of the language, and as such seems as offensive as anything else here.

    The taking of offense is such a common tactic now that it’s easy to overlook the fact that it doesn’t constitute an actual argument. Instead it’s all dudgeon–jockeying for victimhood cred. Behold, I have taken offense, and am therefore a victim! How dare you say such a thing! Your opinion is offensive, so it is we who are the greater victims!

    Just a thought, that resentment about this overwrought rhetorical approach might have more to do with the consistent rejection by popular vote, than bigotry per se.

  46. @newshound, you write: “Like most of us I have had numerous friends and business associates of various diverse characteristics. Some are gay. That is for the most part an inconsequential characteristic similar to be being tall or short, athletic or not etc.”

    Given this, would you also oppose marriage for short people and athletes?

  47. CAvard

    This isn’t over. The state supreme court of Maine will take the issue on eventually they’ll find this unconstitutional. I think it will happen. A friend of mine from Maine said this referendum “only delayed the inevitable.” I like that attitude.

  48. lafcadio mullarkey

    Oops, correction to my last sentence (even preview isn’t enough help sometimes!):

    Just a thought, that the consistent rejection by popular vote might have more to do with resentment about this overwrought rhetorical approach, than with bigotry per se.

    What’s the record now, 0 for 31? Surely this indicates something is wrong with the approach? Or is it just going to be more of the same old “we need protection from the bigoted citizenry” stuff.

  49. mike_b1

    Bob Fontaine, all that leaves out one critical concept: the US is a republic, not a democracy, and as such we delegate our rights to elected officials to decide. What the consensus opinion of the electorate on a given issue, then, is by design irrelevant. We vote, they decide.

    • Dan Kennedy

      Mike_b1: I’ll go one better, even though it applies more to other states than to Maine in this case. The courts are there to protect the rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority. Even a majority of elected legislators.

  50. lkcape

    Instead of using the loaded word “marriage” to describe what we are talking about, why not have the Congress legislate that hence forth it shall be called a radical new term that will take it out of all this truly unseemly semantic nitpicking.

    Let’s hear it for universal consortanfiddle!

  51. Newshound

    JennaMcWilliams – absolutely. If short people can’t get married the same should apply to gays. Tall people and athletes too.

    I don’t discriminate and our laws shouldn’t either. All of us are entitled to individual preferences.

  52. Brad Deltan

    Frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass who marries who or for what reason. The problem here is not marriage, the problem is the ridiculous amount of civil and legal rights that the state has associated with marriage.

    Property ownership, living wills, spousal privilege, differences in the tax code, parental rights…the list goes on and on. By denying marriage to gays, you deny an incredible range of social and civil benefits to them as well.

    Many of you ask some variation if we feel it “okay” if a man marries his sister. I put another question to you: is it okay if a woman raises a child from birth, for seventeen years, but then has all parental rights stripped away from her because cannot legally be married to the biological mother? Or what if the biological mother needs child support after separation? Whoops – too bad, your relationship had no legal standing.

    The argument lends itself to civil unions, true. And if civil unions truly were “marriage in all but name” then I wouldn’t mind…but that sounds an awful lot like “separate but equal”. Whether legal or not, there’s an awful lot of authority figures…police, doctors, clergy, judges…who will lend a hand when it’s your “spouse” but curl it into a fist when it’s your “domestic partner”. And that’s assuming it really is the same civil benefits, which once you cross state lines it usually isn’t…unlike marriage.

    Perhaps what gays should be pushing for is not so much for gay marriage, but instead for getting the government out the marriage business entirely. Give everything…gay or straight…a “civil union” and that’s all you get from the town clerk. If you want a “marriage”, too? Fine, go see your local religious official…but a marriage won’t mean anything in the eyes of the state.

    By the way, the anti-gay marriage crowd won the vote with ads that spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) like how some mythical “homosexual agenda” would be taught in pre-school or some crap like that. That’s not about the “sanctity of marriage” – that’s hate-mongering, pure and simple. That’s starting the base assumption that homosexuality is inherently evil and then shamelessly exploiting the concept of “protect the children” to whip people into a frenzy about it.

  53. tobe

    Wow. Talk about a hot button issue. Media Nation hasn’t had this many comments since you offered that free iPhone deal. Oh wait, no free iPhone deal? Then this must be the most commented on post ever.

  54. mike_b1

    Brad, your argument sounds a lot like Mike Kinsley’s essay in Slate years ago.

    Here’s the link: http://slate.msn.com/id/2085127/

    tobe, almost any time Dan invokes the Red Sox, he gets a huge response, too. We’re still several scores short of the “record.” Funny post, though.

  55. Newshound

    Brad Delton – I think you come very close to offering an acceptable solution to an impossible problem.

  56. Mike_B1, you suggest “What the consensus opinion of the electorate on a given issue, then, is by design irrelevant”. In this instance the voters were not choosing candidates who were to decide the issue, they were voting on the issue directly. While I have not fully formulated my opinion on that specific matter at hand, I do respect the will of the people, even when i dont agree with it. That said, I neither find the will of the people “offensive” as Dan stated, nor “irrelevant” as you suggest. I think it a much more dangerous circumstance when another, who’s voice should be no louder than my own, would characterize it as either irrelevant or offensive, than I do the possible injustice of not being defined by a “word”. We can’t even define “marriage”, but we pretty much know what it means when we are told that our opinion is irrelevant.

  57. mike_b1

    Bob, we’re arguing different things. The problem with a referendum is that it overcomes by events the intent of the framers. A referendum is a tool of democracy. The US, however, is a republic. Implicit in the Constitution is the notion that individual’s voices would be heard not directly but through their elected officials.

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