Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Breaking News

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
  • Free Rick Perry |It tells you much about the laughable indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry that it has made him a figure of bipartisan sympathy. Perry was indicted recently for the offense of vetoing an appropriations bill. Not vetoing an appropriations bill in exch

    August 21, 2014

  • Icy heads and warm hearts |Internet fads come and go. Most of them are ridiculous, pointless and often dangerous like the cinnamon challenge, planking and Justin Bieber. Normally the fads involve a lot of people who want to be seen and heard. The new fad, however, is the ice

    August 21, 2014

  • Trick or treating already? |So there I was, wheeling my cart merrily through the grocery store, whistling while I went on a search for enchilada sauce, when I rounded a turn at the end of an aisle and found myself face-to-face with … A wall of candy. Halloween candy. In Augu

    August 18, 2014

  • Trick or treating already? |So there I was, wheeling my cart merrily through the grocery store, whistling while I went on a search for enchilada sauce, when I rounded a turn at the end of an aisle and found myself face-to-face with … A wall of candy. Halloween candy. In Augu

    August 18, 2014

  • The Ferguson melodrama |Even if the police in Ferguson, Mo., are the brutal occupying force alleged by the protesters there, what do local shop owners have to do with it? In the wake of the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in disputed circumstances, rioters bur

    August 18, 2014

  • The Ferguson melodrama |Even if the police in Ferguson, Mo., are the brutal occupying force alleged by the protesters there, what do local shop owners have to do with it? In the wake of the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in disputed circumstances, rioters bur

    August 18, 2014

  • Debate filled with 'hate' gives Hamas a pass |One of the worst things about our “divisive” political culture is that we’re wearing out words. We use some of them so constantly that they’ve lost their power. To paraphrase Nigel Tufnel of “This is Spinal Tap,” we’ve turned them up to 11 and kept

    August 18, 2014

  • The seven Facebook friends everyone has |Recently, I was told that I’m behind the times because I’m still on Facebook. Just five years ago, I was told I was behind the times because I wasn’t on Facebook. The new “it” social media apps are Instagram, Twitter and a thousand other apps that I

    August 14, 2014

  • A hell of a diplomatic foray |If an Israeli high-level official were caught on a hot mic candidly commenting on Secretary of State John Kerry's ill-fated act of Israel-Hamas peacemaking, he might call it "a hell of a diplomatic foray." Kerry was caught sarcastically describing t

    July 30, 2014

  • 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

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

Are you worried about the violence in Ferguson, Mo., spreading across the country?

Yes
No
Not concerned one way or the other
     View Results
AP Video
Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Raw: Egypt Bus Crash Kills at Least 33 Two Bodies Found in Adjacent Yards Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Rescue Efforts Suspended at Japan Landslide Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Raw: Smaller Marches in Ferguson Marathon Suspect's Friend Pleads Guilty Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer Ky. Firefighters Hurt in Ice Bucket Challenge Federal Investigation Will Look at Use of Force Community Deals With Michael Brown Aftermath US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists Ferguson Teachers Training to Deal With Trauma Jon Hamm on the Unrest in Ferguson Tit for Tat? McDonald's Shuttered in Moscow Life on the Professional Video Game Circuit
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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