February 12, 2004
ruling poisons politics
Tyler Fultz is a freshman history and political science
major from Indianapolis, Ind.
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 Massachusettss
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 courts 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 courts
decision. The legislature was ordered to act within 180
days, which is too little time for an amendment to the
states 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
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. Theres 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 doesnt
need another Roe v. Wade to divide us.