Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

April 5, 2013

Juriprudence by the polls

(Continued)

Supporters of gay marriage always cite the shifting polls, as if they are relevant to a deliberation over whether gay marriage is mandated by the Constitution. The Republican supporters of gay marriage are no better than the liberals. On MSNBC's "Morning Joe," former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt, a signatory on a Republican pro-gay marriage brief, confidently predicted that a gay-marriage referendum would pass in California "in a presidential election year." Can't we wait to have the court impose gay marriage until we're certain a referendum would pass in an off-year election too?

His former McCain campaign colleague and fellow signatory Nicolle Wallace appeared on "Fox News Sunday." "More than 60 percent of all Americans, everyone, supports marriage equality," she said. Wallace was apparently referring to an ABC News/Washington Post poll that showed 58 percent support for gay marriage, which technically is not more, but less than 60 percent.

This happens to be the best result in any of the recent polls for gay marriage. Her point would have been considerably attenuated if she had said, "The most recent Pew poll has 49-44 percent favor gay marriage and the Fox poll 49-46 percent support, slim pluralities that mean ... the court ... must ... act ... now."

The most telling moment in the argument over Proposition 8 prohibiting the official recognition of gay marriage in California came when Justice Antonin Scalia asked pro-gay-marriage lawyer Ted Olson when it became unconstitutional not to recognize gay marriage. Olson couldn't answer without appearing ridiculous, either by saying our marriage laws have been unconstitutional since the passage of the 14th Amendment in 1868 or by picking some arbitrary contemporary date.

Olson responded that it became unconstitutional not to officially recognize gay marriages as part of "an evolutionary cycle." As a matter of constitutional law, this answer is completely inadequate. Constitutional rights don't evolve with public opinion. As a reply to the political question of when gay marriage began to get traction, it is apt. In this context, you can indeed just look at the polls.

But they have nothing to do with the Supreme Court and everything to do with the political process, even if its supporters would prefer not to be bothered.

(c) 2013 by King Features Syndicate

Text Only
Commentary
  • Adopting Indiana? Or a 'deadbeat parent'? This past week we’ve learned that the State of Indiana has essentially stiffed 1,400 families who have adopted special needs children. The subsidies they were promised to raise kids in the state’s foster child program have been denied, prompting one

    July 12, 2014

  • Chicago's shooting spree |For most of the country, July Fourth weekend means hot dogs, fireworks and relaxing time with family. In certain neighborhoods in Chicago, it means something very different. For the second year running, Chicago saw a spate of violence over the long

    July 10, 2014

  • Financial hardships mount for military families |Days before the July 4th holiday, Holly Petraeus stood on the steps of the imposing Indiana War Memorial, in front of a bank of cameras, and made a plea to military families: Don’t let pride stand in the way of asking for help. It was a striking mes

    July 7, 2014

  • Science is science, but math is math |For people who use the word "science" as a bludgeon and trumpet their strict commitment to fact and reason, the Obama administration and its supporters are strangely incapable of rational analysis of new climate-change regulations. President Barack

    June 19, 2014

  • A throne by any other name … |“It’s time to get serious about what happens in the bathroom.” Have you heard this commercial? It always irritates me. Nobody gets that serious about their toilet paper, do they? I didn’t think so, but we’ve lived in our current house for nearly 20

    June 19, 2014

  • The 'swift-boating' of Bowe Bergdahl |As the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner swap has curdled from presumed triumph to public-relations nightmare, the White House and its defenders have cast about for excuses why the administration's negotiating brilliance has gone unappreciated. White House sta

    June 11, 2014

  • Letters to the editor |To the Editor: In 1977 as we planned to move here, I listened to and studied Jay Foonberg, a California criminal and tax lawyer, on how to build your own law practice. He said there are 10 things you must know that you do not about the American pub

    June 11, 2014

  • Don't celebrate Bergdahl's release President Barack Obama marked the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with a Rose Garden event with the captive soldier's parents and triumphant assurances that "the United States of America does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind." When wa

    June 11, 2014

  • The hashtag idiocy It takes a nearly impenetrable obtuseness to conclude that the most salient thing to know about University of California Santa Barbara killer Elliot Rodger is that he was a white male who didn't like women. Yet many liberal commentators have managed

    June 7, 2014

  • Letter to the Editor To the Editor: I continue in amazement at the rehashing of the tired arguments put forth regarding the need to further control guns as put forth in Brian Howey's column. In Howey's "report," he sets forth that guns are responsible for the deaths they

    June 7, 2014

House Ads
Hendricks County Marquee
Email News Sign Up
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

Should the government continue to use military bases to house illegal immigrant children?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Must Read