Marriage Equality
April 7, 2009


Justin Sullivan (Getty), courtesy of Andrew Sullivan's blog

photo by Justin Sullivan (Getty), courtesy of Andrew Sullivan's blog (unrelated)

For decades now, social conservatives have railed against liberal “activist judges” imposing by judicial fiat their coastal elite values on ordinary Americans. In my opinion, this was one of the most compelling arguments against gay marriage – that, as it has social and/or religious implications, it was something that should be decided by the will of the people instead of the will of judges. I don’t quite find it compelling enough to agree, however: under our system of checks and balances, the (unelected) judiciary is supposed to serve as protector of oppressed minorities against the “tyranny of the majority” inherent in the legislative and executive branches (which is what eventually happened with things like “separate but equal” laws). But still, I will grant that it’s better for legislatures to legalize gay marriage than for judges to declare it legal.