Saturday, February 25, 2006

Marks of the Inane

The legendary mark of Cain has a double counterpart in the marks of the spiteful and inane. The hallmarks of the legislators who have joined the anti-same-sex-marriage, anti-gay forces are:
  1. Abusing ballot initiatives to let the majority vote on civil rights of a minority.
  2. Attempting to subvert the government's separation of powers.
Those traits are so un-American that it seems most of us would dismiss them as both ignorant and hateful. Yet as we continue to see in Massachusetts and this week in Maryland, these are highly emotional issues. Fear can trump brains.

We can't play the dumb-Southerner card on this one. Our own benighted Rep. Emile Goguen still pretends that the General Court will hop on his bill of address to remove the four Supreme Judicial Court judges who ruled for same-sex marriage. You can read the entire set of addled rants from his supporters at two small groups at Article 8 Alliance and MassNews.

A psychologist friend of mine has noted that one can have the oddest obsessions. Yet no one will ship you off for treatment so long as you can function in your daily life.

Of course, we have the more crazed set pushing the effort for a 2008 vote to pass an amendment rescinding same-sex marriage. It is one thing for a celibate pope thousands of miles (and centuries) away from here to express his theological opposition to same-sex marriage. It is quite another for anti-rights groups, pandering legislators and local clerics to combine in efforts to replace civil contract laws with their religious beliefs.

Now, in Baltimore, their version of Goguen is braying his nastiness. Delegate Donald H. Dwyer Jr. (right), a Republican (shock) will file a resolution to impeach a judge who ruled unconstitutional the marriage definition in that state.

Baltimore Circuit Judge M. Brooke Murdock "must be removed from office for misbehavior in office, [willful] neglect of duty, and incompetency," Dwyer announced.

His filing would need the support of two-thirds of both houses. One other Maryland judge was removed, during the Civil War. He met the legal requirement of not being able to perform his duties by falling asleep and being drunk in court.

Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Rowe said, "There does have to be come cause. They can't just not like you."

Not surprisingly, Dwyer is a sponsor of the current effort to get a DoMA amendment on top of the state's definition of marriage as one man and one woman. He can't wait for the appeal of Murodck's ruling. He has control issues. He fears the judicial system. In short, he is unamerican in not liking our form of government. This is the second mark of the inane.

Not everyone interested in the case is as irrational and emotional as Dwyer. An ACLU attorney there, David Rocah, noted that there is "a tendency, especially lately among legislators, to think that judges who disagree with them have committed some wrongdoing, and the solution is either, therefore, to take issues away from the judiciary or get rid of the judges, and that's a profound threat to the rule of law in this state and around the country."

On the plus side, such fear-mongering and abuse of the public crosses the edge for most of us. These are the forces that push the pendulum back to the side of fairness and the old American love of liberty.

The Dwyers and his counterparts here initially get praise from the lowbrows in their districts. While this understandably encourages and emboldens them, they can't seem to check themselves once they get hysterical. When most voters hear the rants and see how far these clowns would go to strip rights from fellow citizens, it's, "Whoa, you jackasses!"

Pulling the reins can't come soon enough.

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