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Gay Marriage and Rights vs. Democracy

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that the rights of homosexuals can be violated by majority vote. This Reuters piece reports that a popular vote on the issue of gay marriage could occur in 2008. Such a vote would place the rights of Massachusetts homosexuals at the mercy of their neighbors.

One such neighbor, Kristian Mineau of the Massachusetts Family Institute, is “elated” about the opportunity and hopeful that the public referendum will result in the banning of gay marriage. As stated on the Institute’s website, “The [Court] finally made the right call when it comes to allowing the people have a voice in our democracy.” In this case, having “a voice in our democracy” means that a religiously influenced majority will dictate the kinds of contracts into which consenting adults can enter.

There are no facts of reality to support a prohibition on homosexual marriage. Opposition to it derives principally from the anti-homosexual fiction of religious texts like the Bible, which offers such guidance as this:

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. (Leviticus, 20:13)

The Founding Fathers ignored thousands of pages of such religious hogwash and instead founded the United States on the idea that each man has a right to pursue his own happiness. In order to protect this right from the whims of other men—whether such men consist of a select group of rulers or of a democratic majority of citizens—the founders based our government on the principle of individual rights.

As long as an individual does not violate anyone’s rights, there cannot properly be any limitation on how he chooses to achieve his happiness. Homosexual marriage does not violate anyone’s rights, thus there is no basis for prohibiting it. By putting the legality of gay marriage up for vote, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is shirking its responsibility to uphold the principle of individual rights. Instead, it is promoting democracy—the dangerous, anti-American idea that rights should be violated if the majority says so.

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