Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Half-Way to Infamy

The Vote on Marriage folk claim that the combined total of church and paid gatherer signatures are almost half-way to the minimum needed. That is better than the quarter to third of the original estimates from Catholics alone after the one-day pew plea.

No one expects a problem in getting 66,000 valid signatures. However, it appeared that Archbishop Sean O'Malley has taken this personally and wants to show Catholic muscle.

To many in and out of his church, it seem odd and coercive to use the petitions from the pulpit. The effort is to put personal belief and faith into law, simultaneously affecting all citizens and taking existing rights away from a class of fellow citizens.

This may be very instructive to voters and citizens of the half of the states that permit ballot initiatives. Permitting the rights of any minority to be decided by plebiscite rather than legislation or courts is dangerous antithetical to American liberties.

As a nation, we have had a couple of chances to learn this civics lesson. The ballot-initiatives here, in Maine and elsewhere underscore this problem of people wanting to punish those of whom they do not approve or like.

One of the more cynical comments comes from former civil libertarian and ex-Boston mayor Ray Flynn. He said that church officials have an obligation to "speak out on important issues in the civic arena." Then he added, "The marriage petition is not against gays but for children. We believe that a loving family with a mother and a father is the best environment for children to be brought up in."

Right, Raybo. We can leave the children in orphanages...keep kids in homes with abusive parents...disdain the thousands of gay-led families with happy, healthy kids. Let's pretend that everything will be swell if there one mom and one dad in the building.

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