Thursday, May 18, 2006


Judge Constance Russell ruled Tuesday that the gay marriage ban passed in 2004 violates the single-subject rule for ballot issues in Georgia, and therefore is unconstitutional (under the Georgia constitution). Sonny will try to get the Supreme Court to hear the appeal soon enough to put a revamped ban on the ballot in November if Judge Russell's ruling is upheld.

UGA's Charles Bullock's quoted assessment that the only group this is good for is the Republicans is right on. It's right in their wheelhouse on two issues: gay marriage and judicial activism. It doesn't matter what the actual merits of Judge Russell's decision was; she will be cast as an activist nullifying the will of the people (which is sometimes, you know, a judge's job...but I won't digress into a fullblown discussion on that right now). If the Supreme Court upholds the ruling, well, they're activists too. The Republicans are probably hoping for the ruling to be upheld, because as on many issues, they don't care about the actual policy. They just want an issue whereby they can get poor cultural conservatives to keep them in power. And if the Court upholds the ruling in time to get another ban on the ballot in November, the R's get to milk both issues (gayness and activism) all over again.

A further sign of where Georgia is as a state on this issue: both Cox and Taylor support the ban (despite Cox's "I actually was for it even while I was against it" misstep).


Ned said...

Hooray for unconstitutional wedge issues. They are the gift that keeps on giving. The haters will never stop hating and the ball is going to be set up nicely for them on the tee every election.

The government shouldn't be in the marriage business anyway. If it is a religious thing, then it shouldn't be a part of government. If it isn't, then anyone should be allowed to get married.

Patrick Armstrong said...

The thing is, marriage isn't solely a religious thing. It is also a tax thing, and inheritance thing, a visitation thing, a child custody thing, a court-mandated testimony against your spouse thing, a banking thing, a money thing, a property rights thing, an insurance thing, an employment thing, a financial liability thing, an alimony thing, a child support thing, a wronged party thing, and a whole lot of other things that are part of the fine print located on both the state mandated 'marriage liscense' thing and in the arcane halls of common law.

So the government is very much involved.

The idea should be to make it about all of those things: the boring and often un-thought about legal guarantees written into the marriage contract, rather than about sex and religion and morality. This is a civil rights issue because right now, married people have 'special rights' that are not reserved for other law abiding, tax paying citizens.

Democrats should not fear this fight, we just have to fight it on our terms.

Patrick Armstrong said...

Oh yeah, and a note on 'judicial activism,' and why Democrats are losing that one: we aren't even fighting it.

Support for judicial activism falls nicely into the Constitutional Constructionist philosophy. How? The Judiciary was created to be an independent cheque against mob rule and mass hysteria. That's not activism, that's exactly what the framers of the Constitution had in mind. They didn't just invent their power to declare laws Unconstitutional, that is their specific duty as outlined BY the Constitution of the United States of America.

Anonymous said...

To all candidates for Governor:
Right is Right, Wrong is Wrong.

Regardless of what the polls say and being cognizant of the influence of pandering to our lowest common denominater than most, I have to say that I’m much more than merely disappointed at your stance on the gay marriage amendment. When it is deemed necessary to legislate discrimination against any group of citizens in order to be elected, then it no longer matters who is elected. Why should Democrats put any effort into electing folks that are going to act just like Republicans?

Perhaps the popular press and pundits are correct when they say that Democrats don’t really stand for anything, any more. “Please don’t hurt me any more.” is not a platform that I can support.

Maybe you should consider offering to pay for this Special Legislative Session if, by some unfathomable logic, you think it will help your campaign.

At this point, I don’t have a candidate for Governor that I can support.

monticello_pres said...

Webster's Dictionary defines marriage as:
"The state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law."

Besids, philosopher and country musician Aaron Tippin says it best - "you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything".

Anonymous said...

monitcello - that's my point, precisely!

the Dem candidates for Governor don't seem to stand for anything. I'm not a "1-issue voter" but this thing speaks to character. If we aren't going to be for equal rights for all citizens then we might as well be Republicans.

hillary said...

Dude. Also, that's a load on the definition. I've got my own tattered Webster's Collegiate 10th open on my lap, and the definition of marriage consists of a 1a, 1b, 1c, 2, and 3. Some of these definitions involve men and women. Some don't. The dictionary is more focused on the term as meaning "to unite."

I'm very disappointed in both Taylor and Cox. I don't know if it'll shift me to a third-party candidate or not.

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

I'm not sure who anonymous meant when he/she said that he/she was disappointed in "your" stance on the gay marriage amendment, but assuming he/she meant the AthPo editors, let me clarify that I (and I'm pretty sure Publius as well) are strongly against the amendment. All I was saying is that no good is really going to come out of Judge Russell's decision (whether or not it was correct legally, which I would have to study further to intelligently comment on). If anonymous meant that he/she was disappointed in Cox/Taylor's position, well, I agree, but it just goes to show how strongly the state-at-large feels about the issue.

Anonymous said...

Dude! It was specifically addressed " To all candidates for Governor:" right at the top. Are the AthPo editors announced candidates for Governor? If so, you've got my vote.

Publius said...

"Are the AthPo editors announced candidates for Governor?"

They don't brew enough beer in the world...

DoubleDawgDareYa said...

Yep. It does. Skipped right over it. Apologies.

If I had three or four of those monstrosities we ordered the other night at the Shroom, I might give it some thought.

Anonymous said...

Statement from Congressman John Barrow on the State Court’s Decision to Strike Down Georgia's Same Sex Marriage Law
May 17, 2006

Washington, DC – 12th District Georgia Congressman John Barrow (D-Savannah) today issued the following statement in response to Fulton County Superior Court Judge Constance C. Russell’s decision to strike down the state’s voter-approved ban on same sex marriage:

“A year and a half ago, Georgia’s voters went to the polls and overwhelmingly voted to ensure that marriage remain solely a covenant between a man and a woman. It was a vote affirming strongly held values and beliefs of people all across Georgia. Unfortunately, the people’s will was overturned in state court yesterday on a legal technicality.

“I believe that any individual has the right to live his or her life as they please within the law, but I also believe that marriage should follow law and tradition and remain between a man and a woman.

“Like most Georgians, I hope that the Georgia Supreme Court will overturn yesterday’s ruling. But I’m not willing to stand by as the will of the people is cast aside on technicalities. That is why this morning I have cosponsored two bills that deal directly with same sex marriage: House Joint Resolution 39 and House Resolution 1100. Both bills would ensure that the will of voters in Georgia would not be overturned in the courts.”

Chuck said...

This is too funny - a judge actually ruling the Constitution unconstitutional!

Patrick Armstrong said...

Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk dat sho' is funny. Sound byte politics just make me wanna slap my knee and laugh out loud.

I was under the impression that it was the referendum that was ruled unconstitutional. I was under the impression that the Georgia constitution sets actual rules on how a referendum is conducted. And I was, finally, under the impression that the folks who orchestrated the referendum didn't follow those clearly stated rules, so the judge nullified said improper referendum.

Silly me and silly judge, I reckon, expecting folks to follow the rules and all.

Anonymous said...

that separation of powers thing is a real nuisance to Republicans!

Apparently, it's a problem for Democrats who think they have to be about 99% Republican in order to win, too.

GP said...

HR 1100 shows just how ignorant (or arrogant) lawmakers like Barrow are. He disgusts me.