Oregon Anti Gay Marriage Forces Run to the Courts

Written by scott on January 4th, 2008

We’ve heard it again and again from the opponents of gay marriage.

Activist judges are rewriting the laws of the country.
Gay marriage supporters run to the courts when they can’t get their way at the ballot box. 
There’s nothing more important than the will of the people when it comes to important social issues like gay marriage.
Yeah, right.
Did you hear the latest news out of Oregon?  Oregon recently passed a domestic partners registry,  a halfway-step that would guarantee registered partners the right to visit each other in the hospital, file joint state taxes, and take sick leave to take care of their partners, among other rights.
Unfortunately, a group called the Alliance Defense Fund didn’t like the idea of extending these rights to gay couples, because, you know, it’d be uncomfortably close to marriage.  Even though the word marriage doesn’t appear anywhere in the new law.  And even though the few rights granted by the registry, as important as they are, represent a small fraction of the rights and responsibilities automatically granted to straight couples when they marry.  Just goes to show what good, Christian hearts these folks have.
But fair enough – you disagree with the law, you work to change it.  So they did what they’re always telling us to do – they took the fight to the people.  They organized a ballot drive to put a measure before the Oregon people to block the new registry.  Unfortunately for the ADF, they were unable to get enough valid signatures to get their measure on the ballot.  Democracy 101 in action.
So did they follow their own rhetoric?  Did they respect the will of the people of Oregon and drop the matter once and for all?
Well, not exactly.  See, what I’ve learned about these people is this – they stop at nothing to impose their will on everyone around them.  So forget all the blah blah blah about the will of the people.  And all the malarkey about the evils of changing the law from the bench.
The ADF took their case to a Federal Judge, who, like the Grinch before Christmas, put the new law on hold just days before it was to take effect on January 1st, pending a hearing next month.  And if the appeals go on, don’t expect to see the law take effect any time soon.
In the meantime, our hearts go out to the couples who now have to wait to have hospital visitation rights and sick leave benefits, and who once again have been cast in the role of second-hand citizens.
In the end, the registry will come to pass.  It’s the way of the future, and the ADF and their ilk are fighting a desperate rearguard action to slow it down, but they won’t be able to stop it.  Not forever.  The numbers of people opposed to gay marriage are steadily dropping across the board, as more and more folks get to know gay and lesbian couples, and the numbers in support are rising steadily too.  In 1996, 68% of Americans were opposed to gay marriage, and only 27% supported it.  By 2004, that had changed to 61% opposed and 33% in favor.  And in 2007, only 53% opposed it, vs. 46% in favor.  That’s a huge change in just 11 years.
So we take comfort in the fact that it’s just a matter of time.
And we can wait.
–Scott
 

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