Saturday, April 04, 2009

One Vermonter's Creepy Feeling

In these years of mob rule at the ballot and let-the-people-vote cries, many have lost sight of representative democracy. Vermont gets the big lesson on this, likely Tuesday.

Overwhelmingly in their Senate (26-4) and strongly in the House (94-52), the elected lawmakers passed same-sex marriage into law, or almost into law, last week. When the senators get the reps' slightly tweaked version Monday afternoon or evening, they'll certainly concur and pass the bill along to Gov. Jim Douglas. He swore to veto it.

He only has the emotional/faith claims to support that huge slap of voters and lawmakers. "...I believe that marriage should remain between a man and a woman." To the devil with reason, right or the will of the state! Law by emotion, I believe, falls in the profile of despots.

Assuming that occurs, the legislature will try to override. Both pro and con sides agree that will be damned close. The phones and door bells of House members will surely ring all weekend.

The Free Press puts it:
“We’re either going to win by three or lose by three,” predicted Rep. Joe Baker, R-Rutland, an opponent of the bill who plans to support the governor’s veto.“I think we’ll have the votes,” predicted House Speaker Shap Smith, D-Morristown, who supports the bill and is pushing House Democrats to override the veto. Both men conceded, however, that they don’t know how all the votes will fall.
Before he vetoes, Douglas would be wise (not his major attribute) to review the Iowa Supreme Court case mandating same-sex marriage. The justices were dealing with overturning a ban on SSM and not an upgrade from civil unions. However, they jumped right into the implied feeling/faith factor.

Their decision noted that religious people disagree on legal treatment of SSM and homosexuals. "This contrast of opinions in our society largely explains the absence of any religion-based rationale to test the constitutionality of Iowa's same-sex marriage ban." Also, they concluded, "In the final analysis, we give respect to the views of all Iowans on the issue of same-sex marriage—religious or otherwise—by giving respect to our constitutional principles. These principles require that the state recognize both opposite-sex and same-sex civil marriage. Religious doctrine and views contrary to this principle of law are unaffected, and people can continue to associate with the religion that best reflects their views."

Jimbo will apparently play the feeling game while the law and rights of his citizens founder. He needs his own slap to the head, a powerful override with help from lawmakers who don't appreciate his toying with them and the voters.

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3 comments:

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

I'm chomping at the bit to talk about this on Blogtalk radio with you, but it will have to wait until April 14.

What you have to say here is not opinion, it's fact. There seems to be religious marriage, civil marriage, and now this bastardization "traditional" marriage where people are trying to pass off as a hybrid of the two.

It is no more real than the jackalope, yet lawmakers that are as uninformed as the public are as easily fooled.

What is at stake is the fundemental idea of equality afforded all from the Constitution of the United States, nothing less.

massmarrier said...

Just so, John, and I love the jackalope allusion.

Moreover, despite the drama-queen screeching of the anti-equality folk, we have repeatedly heard from timid and passive judges, not activist ones. Certainly, the Goodridge decision avoided much.

Yet it seems each subsequent case deciding on equal protection shows a bit more courage. The Iowa court's inclusion of the unvoiced, but everpresent, religious theme should be a clear signal to other states' high courts. Have your damned religion, but, as the expression goes, for God's sake don't try to legislate it for everyone.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

I agree, and bear in mind we are seeing this sooner than we all imagined. Perhaps "The Dream" is closer than we knew.

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