Christian apologist Frank Turek has a column at Townhall full of the same old tiresome arguments about marriage equality, with the added bonus of a really bad states’ rights argument. For instance, he trots out the same ridiculous argument used against interracial marriage:
Last week, one unelected judge, overturned the will of 1,317,178 North Carolinians when he declared North Carolina’s definition of marriage in violation of the United States constitution. Judge Max Cogburn, appointed by President Obama, said that the definition 61 percent of voters approved just two years ago violated the “equal protection” clause of the 14th Amendment—the same rationale used by judges elsewhere to violate the expressed will of the people. This is beyond absurd.
It’s absurd rationally because everyone already has equal marriage rights. Every person has the same equal right to marry someone of the opposite sex.
This is exactly the same argument made by the state of Virginia in defending its ban on interracial marriage: Blacks and whites are equally free to marry someone of the same race. Voila, no equal protection problem! But just as the Supreme Court unanimously rejected that argument in Loving, it shouldn’t take it any more seriously now.
These rulings are also absurd constitutionally. The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was passed in 1868 to prevent states from discriminating against newly freed slaves. At that time blacks and women didn’t even have the right to vote, yet no one ever thought a court could use the “equal protection” clause to change state voting laws. So why do courts think they can use it now to change state marriage laws? Are we to believe that “equal protection” does not guarantee a woman’s right to vote but does guarantee a woman’s right to marry another woman? What planet are these judges ruling from?
No, actually the Equal Protection Clause should have been used to enforce the right to vote for women and blacks. Turek makes the mistake of thinking that the meaning of a constitutional provision is determined by the “original expected application” of the people who wrote it. But if he believes that, he would have to agree that Loving v Virginia was wrongly decided because those who wrote and ratified the 14th Amendment explicitly said that it would not overturn state anti-miscegenation laws. Do you think he would apply his reasoning consistently? I highly doubt it.
Anyone who wants to change laws should convince their fellow citizens to do so at the ballot box, not through unelected judges. Unfortunately, activist judges won’t honor the ballot box. 41,020,568 people across more than half the states have voted to recognize marriage for what nature’s design says it is—the union of one man and one women. Yet just 23 unelected judges have overturned those 41 million people across about 20 states! I don’t care where you stand on the marriage issue: when 23 people substitute their personal policy preferences to overrule those of 41 million Americans, we are no longer free or equal.
Of the approximately 30 states that now have same-sex marriage (it changes every day), only one state has done it through popular vote (Maine). The people of Maryland and Washington narrowly voted not to overrule the same-sex marriage provisions their legislatures had approved. Eight laws were changed by state legislatures without popular input.
Wait, what? The Maryland and Washington legislatures passed laws legalizing same-sex marriage and voters then endorsed those laws in a referendum that was designed to overturn them. And what on earth does it mean to claim that eight state legislatures passed such laws “without popular input”? Does he think legislatures didn’t care what people thought? That opponents of same-sex marriage didn’t flood their offices with letters, emails, phone calls and petitions? That there wasn’t a vigorous public debate over it? That’s all nonsense. He seems to think that only a direct vote of the people makes a law democratic, and then only if he agrees with the outcome. If it was a law that he agreed with that was passed and opponents claimed that the law was passed by legislators “without popular input,” he would surely find such a claim laughable. But again, he won’t apply his own reasoning consistently.
As unwise as I think changing the institution of marriage is, I can at least respect the process when it is done democratically. For all their talk about equality, the other side does not respect democracy unless the vote comes out their way.
Pot, meet kettle. And why does he think that democracy and equality are the same thing? Democracy is often the enemy of equality. This is all just meaningless blather.