TCU Daily Skiff Thursday, February 12, 2004
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Landmark ruling poisons politics

Tyler Fultz
is a freshman history and political science major from Indianapolis, Ind.

The recent ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Court in favor of gay marriages has sparked controversy across the nation. In a 4-3 decision the court decided to completely redefine marriage, without the consent of Massachusetts’s voters or the state legislature. The prevailing view of marriage through most of history was cast aside and marriage redefined as either a heterosexual or homosexual couple.

In few instances have such sweeping changes in the nature of our society been made by a court. At the heart of this issue is the arrogance of the court and the uncompromising nature of gay lobbyists involved.

Until the recent ruling, the compromise option of civil unions (where gays could receive the legal benefits of marriage such as hospital visitation and joint tax filing) was open to Massachusetts. Now the court’s decision has forced the issue into the forefront of national politics where it never needed to be, and structured the ruling so that the only option available was to ratify the court’s decision. The legislature was ordered to act within 180 days, which is too little time for an amendment to the state’s constitution. In Hawaii and Alaska, courts have ruled in favor of gay marriage, but they made no such attempt to hamstring the state legislature, and in both cases the voters of those states approved constitutional amendments limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.

This situation is very reminiscent of the Roe v. Wade ruling where liberal judges made a controversial ruling with little constitutional cover and sparked 30 years of social turmoil. These kinds of one-sided rulings make compromise impossible and short-circuit debate on the issue.

Why do judges do this? One reason is “Landmarkism.” Judicial rulings generally are only celebrated when some far-reaching supposedly progressive ruling is made. No judge is admired simply for interpreting the constitution normally. There’s no glamour in that. So they create outlandish rulings based on far-left opinions and attempt to use the power of the judicial branch to impose their will on the states that appointed them. This is what has occurred in Massachusetts.

So just like Roe v. Wade, this decision will likely force Americans into opposite political camps and polarize an already divided nation. With time, I believe Americans will come to see the value and humanity of civil unions, but the Massachusetts Supreme Court has morphed the issue from a solvable legal decision into a heated social issue. The far left has hijacked homosexual politics, which is good for no one, and the media will continue to paint a simplistic picture of right-wing bigots vs. valiant attempts to free an oppressed social group.

Regardless of your personal opinion, it should be obvious that liberal judges have overstepped their bounds in an effort to enforce their will on the American people. I call on all Americans to recognize this and work together to diffuse this issue. Civil unions are the option best suited for this social controversy; they would allow gays to live together in a free society while preserving the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. America doesn’t need another Roe v. Wade to divide us.
TCU Daily Skiff ©2004
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