The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, May 23, 2004

Has Massachusetts gone mad?

In perhaps the greatest act of judicial onanism since Dred Scott, the Massachusetts Supreme Court in Goodridge v Department of Public Health decided that they were sixteen again, and that, with the grown-ups out of town, the Bay State would have a party.

Most days, I manage to catch a segment or two of the morning news programme from WBUR in Boston, which has, from what I've heard, treated this lunacy with barely suppressed juvenile enthusiasm. (The decision of various apparatchiks to issue wedding forms to out-of-state couples appeared to elicit the approval of the hacks at the station.)

And, in the Boston Globe today, a bewilderingly sophomoric effusion from Thomas Oliphant bewailing John Kerry's refusal to drink deep of the Kool-Aid, but rating his crime against Drutherhood less than the Chief Cracker's. A morsel:
The fact is that Bush's endorsement of the constitutional amendment strategy of antigay activists on the right has at least a substantive validity. Without it, the status quo confronting gay people in the United States is flagrantly unconstitutional: It is literally a denial of equal protection to one group of Americans that even the current, conservative court might not be able to support if challenged. Those of us who are civil rights purists would also argue there is no way amendments to state constitutions that violate the federal Constitution can stand either.

This is why, among other reasons, the gay and lesbian community is giving Kerry's position a pass politically. In the end, one might wish Kerry could simply support leaving alone people who want to get married. But also in the end, his opposition to the proposed amendment to the US Constitution is more than adequate to allow the movement to move forward.

A blast of the fanaticism that drove the pro-slavery and abolitionists, and the Saloon Bar Leaguers after them.

Now, the homo-marriage amendment, like the Clinton impeachment, is a non-starter, with a Grand Canyon of a margin. Kerry has the advantage of supporting the common-sense position on the issue.

What, I dredge from the mental closet, about full faith and credit? Surely Massachusetts' judicial moral imbeciles can't inflict their fantasies on the other 49 states?

I've not looked properly: one has the Federal Defence of Marriage Act of 1996; this piece - it's a right-wing site - refers to the part of Article IV ยง1 which says that
the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records, and Proceedings shall be proved and the Effect thereof.
And says that DOMA is such a general law. (Even disregarding DOMA, it cites Allstate Insurance Co v Hague as permitting refusal to recognise by a second state where
that choice of its law is neither arbitrary nor fundamentally unfair.
More research required, obviously.)

Now, the Globe is notoriously a Kerry-loathing rag. No idea why. But I'm sure they'll be endorsing him (if they haven't already); so, for the paper and other Kerry supporters, laying off an issue like homo-marriage - which jacks off the base but turns off the swing voter - would be a good idea. In their own time...

WaPo today fronts a story that Kerry himself is looking to cultivate those swing voters. One Dem is quoted as saying that
There is a lot of space for Kerry to find his own voice without having to worry about massive disaffection [on the left].

To leave his left flank unguarded, Kerry naturally needs the assurance that Nader (not namechecked in the piece) is a busted flush. But also to minimise the effect of puncturing childishly ballooned expectations of the likes of the massed Mass queers and their friends on the man-hours put in, and enthusiasm generated amongst, those vital workers on the ground.


More comfort on full faith and credit - from Yale Law School, no less!

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