Tuesday, February 17, 2004
...is calling for mass arrests in San Francisco. Andrew sees this as a huge opportunity for civil disobedience to transform itself into the law of the land. Now it's not that Sullivan wants to see Mayor Newsom and a gaggle of gay and lesbian (don't even get me started on the "transgendered") newlyweds arrested just for the sake of it, but he is being consistent in a Constitutionalist sort of way, which is a pleasant turn of events. Sullivan is correct in his conclusion that, as of now, the marriages have no legal standing in California law. Right now, the situation is in the hands of a superior court judge, who has put off taking any action.
The situation may end up in Governor Schwarzenegger's lap, however. I predict a manful straddle on the part of the Terminator. The Human Rights Campaign and other GLBT ("Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered") outfits have been wonderfully over-the-top in provoking a civil-disobedience contest with the help of an ambitious mayor. What will happen will be a judicial contest between the forces which passed a marriage law several years ago (with 61% of the vote, I might add) and reformers and Gay activists who look to the Courts to rule that its interpretation of the codicils of the California State Constitution override the mere will of the voters. Arnold will wisely stay out of the line of fire unless both sides in this dispute decide to take it to the California Assembly. Then he'll have to sign on to civil unions, at the very least, to maintain his bona fides with independent voters and Urban California. Such an action will play hell with the Republican base vote, and will be dicey with culturally conservative Mexican-Americans, however.
I consider the legislative route to be unlikely, however. As that is the case, matters are worse.
This is exactly what I was afraid of in the wake of the Massachusetts court ruling. The Gay Community is taking this to the Court instead of playing a long game, building coalitions, and winning in the State legislatures. There is no effort to form a consensus within the body politic: rather, there is a unilateral assertion of rights, an assertion that is not accepted by most of the population. It is apparent to me that the Gay community has yet to learn the lessons of Roe v. Wade.