Sunday, February 16, 2014

Virginia Marriage Equality Decision Exposes Religious Right’s Hatred of America

We predicted it yesterday: Religious Right leaders would say in response to the Virginia marriage equality ruling that more rights somehow equals fewer rights, and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council (FRC) did not disappoint. It was Valentine’s Day so Perkins sent his love to Judge Arena L. Wright Allen, calling her, among other things, “arrogant” and an “activist judge” (that’s what Jesus said to do to your enemies, right? Lay some hate on ‘em?):

It appears that we have yet another example of an arrogant judge substituting her personal preferences for the judgment of the General Assembly and 57 percent of Virginia voters. Our nation’s judicial system has been infected by activist judges, which threaten the stability of our nation and the rule of law.

Actually, Judge Wright Allen substituted the Constitution for the judgment of 57 percent of Virginia voters. The Founding Fathers feared this – the tyranny of the majority – and wrote the Constitution to account for such “excesses of democracy” as they were called. As they knew – and as Judge Wright Allen knows, a majority doesn’t trump the law of the land, but they can trump right and wrong if the law does not protect the interests of the minority as well as the majority.

In the words of James Madison:

The lesson we are to draw from the whole is, that where a majority are united by a common sentiment, and have an opportunity, the rights of the minor party become insecure. In a republican government, the majority, if united, have always an opportunity. The only remedy is, to enlarge the sphere, and thereby divide the community into so great a number of interests and parties, that, in the first place, a majority will not be likely, at the same moment, to have a common interest separate from that of the whole, or of the minority; and in the second place, that in case they should have such an interest, they may not be so apt to unite in the pursuit of it. It was incumbent on us, then, to try this remedy, and, with that view, to frame a republican system on such a scale, and in such a form, as will control all the evils which have been experienced.

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