New Jersey’s still a step or two ahead of Texas

Of course the legislative victories in favor of same-sex marriage in Washington, New Jersey, and Maryland are extremely encouraging. However, New Jersey governor Chris Christie has already vetoed his state’s legislation, stating his wish for a referendum on same-sex marriage. The voters of the state of Maryland may also have to weigh in before marriage equality becomes law.

Andrew Sullivan, noting that the goalposts have been moved, rightly objects:

I am not afraid of referendums in New Jersey or Maryland. Let’s do all we can to win them. The polls are now increasingly on our side. But the way in which a tiny 2- 3 percent minority seeking basic civil equality has been forced now to be subject to state referendums, even after winning legislative victories, strikes me as revealing. It’s basically an attack on representative government, a resort to the forms of decision-making which maximize the potential for anonymous bigotry and minimize the importance of representative government, a core achievement of Anglo-American democracy, that can help enhance reason of the accountable against the sometimes raw prejudice of the majority.

In Texas, not only does legislation specifically prohibit the recognition of any same-sex union, but Texas later added a measure to its constitution reaffirming the prohibition, presumably as a bulwark against the judiciary doing its job. Amendments to the Texas constitution are voted on in statewide general elections, so a similar election would be required to repeal the anti-equality amendment. So whatever setbacks may occur in New Jersey or Maryland, those states are at worst a step ahead of where Texas will be for the foreseeable future.

February 19, 2012Permalink Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>