Thursday, July 23, 2015

Justice Kennedy did not settle the marriage debate

(My new American Thinker post)

As we saw with Roe v Wade, the 1973 decision that created a federal right to an abortion, did not settle the issue.  On the contrary, Roe v Wade poisoned the political arena in ways that no one could have foreseen in 1973. 
As David Brooks wrote in 2005:  
When Blackmun wrote the Roe decision, it took the abortion issue out of the legislatures and put it into the courts. If it had remained in the legislatures, we would have seen a series of state-by-state compromises reflecting the views of the centrist majority that's always existed on this issue. These legislative compromises wouldn't have pleased everyone, but would have been regarded as legitimate.  Instead, Blackmun and his concurring colleagues invented a right to abortion, and imposed a solution more extreme than the policies of just about any other comparable nation.
Are we starting to see the same anger over same sex marriage?  It's early but some polling data suggests that Americans are not happy: 
"Liberals have won a string of victories on gay marriage and health care reform this year, but a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds a large majority of Americans are unhappy with where the nation is headed on social issues.  
Sixty three percent of people say they are uncomfortable with the country's overall direction on social issues these days; four in 10 feel "strongly" uncomfortable about the nation's changes.
The poll did not ask it but I feel that a lot of Americans are upset that 5 Justices have once again decided something that had no business being decided by judges.   
One way, or another, the issue was being debated in state legislatures and Americans were headed to a solution.    The American people would have eventually arrived at a point of their own choosing rather than having 5 Justices change an institution that goes back centuries.  And all of the unintended consequences!
What does it mean for 2016?  It means that there is an opening for a candidate who crafts a message that evokes what we used to call family values.  
Also, some of those values, according to the poll, are shared by minority voters: 
Fifty-one percent of non-whites, a growing group of Democratic supporters, say they are uncomfortable with the pace of social change. Two-thirds of women also say they are uncomfortable, as are 50 percent of adults under age 30.
 The Democrats may want to listen to what "non-white voters" are saying in this poll.   In retrospect, maybe this is why President Obama never came out and called for same sex marriage when he was a candidate.

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