If you don’t live in Massachusetts, you may not know that same-sex marriage is not a settled issue here. The state legislature continues to struggle with the issue, in the form of a proposed constitutional amendment to ban the marriages that have been legal here for three years. The lobbying is intense: Tight Vote Looms on Same-Sex Marriage.
Of course opinions are heated, with one side insisting that citizens be given a chance to vote on the amendment (“Don’t deny me my right to vote”), and the other side insisting that civil rights shouldn’t be subject to popular opinion (“We don’t vote on civil rights”).
I side whole-heartedly with the same-sex marriage supporters. If fifty years ago, we had put racial civil rights to a popular vote, they would have lost. Do we think now that we should have let the populace deny blacks the rights we now take for granted? This is one case where we should protect rights from the tyranny of the majority.
If the amendment does end up on next year’s ballot, it will be a very ugly election season, with enormous forces flowing into the state to sway the vote. The battle today in Massachusetts will come down to lobbying and parliamentary maneuvering, which is unfortunate, but many noble causes have been won with such ignoble tactics.