Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Democracy and the religious right

I noted in my last post that in response to the passage of a bill to allow same-sex marriage by the elected California legislature, the Governator adopts the curious tactic of saying that the matter is for the courts to decide, not the legislature, neatly reversing the usual rhetoric about "activist judges." This isn't completely stupid, in that the constitutionality of Proposition 22 is still working its way through the courts and it's not clear that the legislature can constitutionally overturn a voter-approved proposition.

But this is:
"Engaging in social experimentation with our children is not the role of the legislature," said Assemblyman Ray Haynes, a Republican from Southern California.
It's clear what the religious right is moving toward: one day when gay marriage is approved by a majority of voters in a referendum, they'll have worked through the progressive defenses of "activist judges" and "activist legislators," and will eventually have to denounce the "activist voters." Because what they really mean is that "engaging in social experimentation with our children" is not the role of anyone. This nice little slip into denouncing democratically elected legislatures reveals what the religious right really thinks: that no power on earth has the legitimacy to legalize same-sex marriage, not even "the people." Remember that the next time they say "we should let the voters decide."

Update, 8 September: Scott Lemieux has more, specifically the idea that conservative ressentiment is very flexible and can be targeted at anyone. One more point - if California ever approves gay marriage through a voter-approved proposition, you can also bet the national religious right will blast "the voters of California" for "imposing their radical social agenda on the rest of the country."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, it just goes to show how unprincipled people actually are. They are fine letting the voters, the legislature, or the courts decide anything as long as it agrees with their position.

9/08/2005 02:02:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Indeed - someone pointed to a quote on the comment thread of the Obsidian Wings post:

"I heard on NPR this morning that Schwarzenegger said this was a matter for the courts, not the legislatures, to decide. But then when courts rule in favor of gay marriage, it becomes a matter best left to the legislatures.

"The moral: the gay marriage decisions must remain in the hands of those who oppose it."

9/08/2005 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger driftwood said...

[Because what they really mean is that "engaging in social experimentation with our children" is not the role of anyone.]

Expanding on the above comments, I doubt they even believe this. That is, they would gladly engage in social experimentation with our kids—not just their own—on behalf of some religious project they have.

9/09/2005 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Yes, that's a good point - what I was getting at was that "engaging in social experimentation" is not the role of any earthly power (i.e., judges, legislators, not even "the people") as in their minds it is reserved only for God. So they'd be happy to muck around with society to better conform to God's commandments.

9/10/2005 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger driftwood said...


That is how they would put it, isn't it? Ducking the hypocrisy charge by claiming that they are doing god's will instead of opposing it?

It is good to get these tactics exposed.

9/10/2005 05:46:00 PM  
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