The Corner


Alright, I’ve said it in as clear and measured a manner as I can. Now let me say it again-this time more bluntly. As best I can tell, Andrew Sullivan has endorsed a deliberate and systematic attempt by gay marriage activists to achieve their ends by violating the law. The mayor of San Francisco, and gay marriage activists, are intentionally flouting the overwhelming and unambiguous results of a democratic and legally binding referendum on marriage in the state of California. Even the opponents of California’s ban of racial preferences have not been so bold as to openly violate the law in this manner. What would happen if city officials were to violate California’s ban on concealed weapons by issuing illegal gun licenses? Would the country, the press, or state officials tolerate that?

Unless and until Andrew Sullivan repudiates what is happening in San Francisco, it seems to me he has lost all credibility with conservatives on the gay marriage issue. Why should we believe a single one of Sullivan’s endless assurance that DOMA, or Massachusetts law-or anything else-will suffice to prevent the nationalization of gay marriage when Sullivan himself is actively endorsing a campaign that makes a mockery of California law? If Sullivan can take such a stand, how can we expect respect for the law from other, less conservative activists-or judges?

By the way, Sullivan refers to a Massachusetts law curbing marriages that would be illegal in other states. Note that this law must be enforced by town clerks. If Sullivan supports mayors and city officials who systematically and intentionally violate the law in San Francisco, how can he assure us that clerks will obey and enforce the law in Massachusetts? Note also that to become a legal resident of Massachusetts for purposes of marriage, there is no requirement to have lived in Massachusetts for any length of time. All you have to do to be married as a full and legal state resident is show intent to take up abode in Massachusetts. Exactly how severely do you think Massachusetts town clerks will be vetting those expressions of intent? I’d say, about as severely as Sullivan is insisting on lawful behavior by government officials in San Francisco.

I do not believe that the analogy between the gay marriage movement and the civil rights movement of the sixties holds. But if you believe it does, then you cannot invoke federalism. If this is a matter best resolved by civil disobedience, then stop making arguments about federalism and start openly demanding nationalization on equal protection grounds. Or, if this is really a legitimate matter for federalism, stop abusing the civil rights analogy and demand respect for the law. You cannot have it both ways. Whoever cannot repudiate the systematic violation of law, and deliberate nullification of democracy, now taking place in the state of California has no business making arguments to conservatives about federalism. Repudiate San Francisco, or lose all credibility.


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