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You Can’t Trust The People

As the continual backlash from California’s Proposition 8 continues to unfold, the issue of gay marriage is being argued in other states across the nation. And New Hampshire is no different.

Back in 2006, the Democrats had their greatest successes ever in the Granite State. Democrats not only held on to the governorship, but also took majorities in the State House of Representatives, the State Senate, the Governor’s Council, and both U.S. House seats.  The Republicans held on to the two U.S. Senate seats, but only because neither was up for election. (John E. Sununu lost his seat last month, and Judd Gregg is considered to be in serious trouble for 2010, when his term is up.)

The Democrats wasted no time in pushing through their agenda. Oddly enough, though, their priorities were completely divorced from the issues they ran on. In one particular case, they passed almost immediately a Civil Unions law that not a single candidate had defended before the election, and it became effective last January.

Less than a year into the civil unions, though, there’s another push to expand that into gay marriage. State Representative Jim Splaine  (a leading Democrat) has filed a bill to change the wording of the civil union law to use the “m-word.” 

On the surface, it’s radically different from the California case, where the courts decided that bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional. In New Hampshire, it was done more properly — with a vote by the state’s elected representatives, and signed by the governor.

But below the surface, there is a common theme here — and it is a troubling one. In both cases, the pro-gay marriage forces acted in a way to minimize public participation.

In California, the advocates tried to win at the ballots, and lost — repeatedly. So they did an end run around the democratic process, shut the general public out of the whole affair, and try to win by fiat — at which point they hoped to present the matter as a fait accompli to the people.

In New Hampshire, they didn’t quite have the chutzpah to go that route. They passed the law immediately after the elections, so they would have the most time to get the public used to the concept before they could be held accountable by the voters. And now, not even two months after the election (and 22 months before the next one), they’re going for the next step — going beyond civil unions and granting gay couples the right to call themselves “married.” If they follow the same pattern, the bill will be signed into law within a few months, become effective January 1, 2010, and be brushed off as “old news” the next time the people of New Hampshire get to vote in November of 2012.

When the general public is asked its opinion on gay marriage, they usually say no — and in decisive numbers. So the advocates appear to have given up on the whole democratic process and  dedicated themselves to achieving their goals without going anywhere near the ballot box — instead of trying to convince the general populace that their cause is the right one, they want to shut the people out of the decision process.

There are some very good arguments to be made in favor of gay marriage. (Personally, I’ve made a lot of them.) But the cause of gay marriage is not so essential that it needs to be brought about by scrapping the fundamental precepts of a democracy.

And it speaks volumes about the nature of the most vocal advocates of gay marriage that they consider the issue too important to allow the people to have their say.



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