Larry Greenfield

Civil unions and domestic partnerships that codify civic legal rights and contracts for gays have not satisfied the same-sex marriage movement, which has attracted increasing support among younger citizens, who have noticed the high divorce and out-of-wedlock birth rates in our nation. Traditional marriage has long been fraying.

An obvious compromise has failed: Marriage for opposite sex couples, and Gay Marriage (call it “Garriage?”), for same-sex couples.

While religious authorities often sanctify the marital union, the states have long regulated marital age, duties, rights and benefits.

But who shall decide the laws of each state?

In California, we the people voted twice, enduring campaigns funded by the Mormon Church and the Hollywood Crowd, and featuring some nasty hate speech from the “tolerant” left.

This is messy, direct democracy. Its majority rule and self-governance in a competitive laboratory of democracy, not control by 9 unelected judges from Washington, D.C.

President Thomas Jefferson warned that an unelected judiciary might lead to judicial supremacy:

"It is a very dangerous doctrine to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions. It is one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy."

President Abraham Lincoln counseled in his First Inaugural Address:

"The candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government, upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court...the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having, to that extent, practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal."

Moral and political issues must not be removed from the democratic process, lest citizens lose the ability and interest to resolve complex issues and reach social consensus.

Making a federal case out of marriage again invokes an imperial judiciary, which has previously abused federalism by affirming slavery, imposing state taxes, federalizing criminal law, and nationalizing affirmative action, workplace rules, and abortion rights.

President Ronald Reagan agreed:

"The Founding Fathers were clear on this issue. For them, the question involved in judicial restraint was not -- as it is not -- will we have liberal courts or conservative courts? They knew that the courts, like the Constitution itself, must not be liberal or conservative. The question was and is, will we have government by the people?"

Larry Greenfield

Larry Greenfield is fellow in American studies at the Claremont Institute, and senior fellow of the American Freedom Alliance. He is founding executive director of the Reagan Legacy Foundation, and he served in the Armed Forces in U.S. Naval Intelligence (Res.). He holds degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and the Georgetown University Law Center.