The Corner

A Question For Andrew Sullivan

Everyone knows he’s for gay marriage. How should we get there? Sullivan has said that he would prefer for the decision to be made by legislatures, not courts. He regularly says that it should be made state by state, not nationally. So, in short, the ideal decisionmakers would be state legislatures and the least ideal one would be the federal Supreme Court. What I’m wondering is whether he is actually against a Supreme Court resolution of the issue–and if so, on what grounds.

Sullivan writes today: “Courts are supposed to interpret the Constitution. If the Constitution guarantees equal rights for all, and marriage is one of the most basic civil rights there is, and gay couples can and do fulfill every requirement that straight couples can, what leeway does any Court have? I’m constantly amazed by these claims of judicial ‘tyranny.’ Was Brown v Board of Education tyranny? It’s exactly the same principle as operates here: separate but equal won’t do.”

If Sullivan’s argument is correct, what possible reason could there be for the Supreme Court not to rule in favor of gay marriage? What reason could he have for not wanting it to?

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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