Xark, as usual, is commenting on hot-button issues and asking all of us to take a position. His latest challenge asks readers to speak out in opposition to the South Carolina Marriage Amendment:
"Must Article XVII of the Constitution of this State be amended by
adding Section 15 so as to provide that in this State and its political
subdivisions, a marriage between one man and one woman is the only
lawful domestic union that shall be valid or recognized; that this
State and its political subdivisions shall not create, recognize, or
give effect to a legal status, right, or claim created by another
jurisdiction respecting any other domestic union, however denominated;
that this amendment shall not impair any right or benefit extended by
the State or its political subdivisions other than a right or benefit
arising from a domestic union that is not valid or recognized in this
State; and that this amendment shall not prohibit or limit the ability
of parties other than the State or its political subdivisions from
entering into contracts or other legal instruments?"
The issue, like Xark’s call to arms on the environment some months back, guarantees passionate belief on both sides of the issue. But, what is the issue? Is SC in the grip of conservative Neanderthals whose only goal is to keep the gay community suppressed, or is this a veiled attempt to attack all forms of social commitment outside of a legal definition of marriage, or is this another case of defending state’s rights in the face of judicial activism run amok? It is, apparently, another battle in the Cultural War, which almost guarantees that the partisans of either side will not accept anything less than total obeisance to their position, nor will they brook any dissent. And that’s too bad, because this really is a complicated matter, worthy of discussion without the introduction of shibboleths, bromides, and ad hominem attacks.
For a review of the status of similar legislation in our great country, go here . It is clear that our state is NOT leading the charge against gay marriage, or attempts to define marriage in a traditional sense. It is also true that, based on the action at the state level, a majority of citizens in a majority of states have voted "Yes" to their version of bills similar to this amendment. Clearly, a vocal, well organized, politically oriented Minority seeks to challenge the status quo of this issue. That portion of the Citizenry is exercising their rights, as provided for and protected by the Constitution. This is as it should be, and the voice of the People will be heard in November.
For additional perspective on the issue, Stephen Den Beste comments here. Please read his entire post, but here is an excerpt:
I support gay marriage. And I’m glad to see that a lot of states are
considering, or have already passed, amendments to their state constitutions
forbidding gay marriage. My position isn’t inconsistent, because there’s a
deeper issue involved.
What is the function of an electoral system? You can argue about that all
day, but it turns out that the deep purpose is to convince people to accept
that they’ve lost. We, as citizens of a republic, have made a compact with each
other that we will make certain decisions collectively through some combination
of voting and representation, and we know that inevitably the process will make
at least some decisions that we as individuals despise.
But our compact with one another is that if the process was reasonably honest
and if everyone participated, the losers will concede defeat. Of course, they
may try to work within the system to change those decisions, and that has
happened many times. But the compact is that such decisions change because the
majority agree with the change, and the activist minority will work to convince
the majority that change is needed, and will accept their defeat in the mean
Some activists in this country have been breaking this compact. It’s been a
particular problem with leftists over the last 35 years. Instead of trying to
convince the majority that certain things should change, they’ve been making an
end-run around the electoral system and getting those changes made via activist
Irrespective of the merits of individual decisions, the basic problem with
this is that it cheats the electorate by forbidding them from participating in
the process of collectively making those decisions. And the "losers" don’t
concede defeat, because they never got their chance to participate in the
Now, some could argue that his use of the word "leftist" is inappropriate, given that both sides have attempted to use the courts to further their agendas in the absence of legislative/citizen support, but his point is well considered. We live in a democracy. We have the right to vote on matters that are important. I will vote yes on the amendment, not because I oppose gay marriage, or common law marriage, or the denial of benefits to domestic partnerships; but because I support the right of the People to decide on the important issues of our time.