Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Arch DC Blog: Same-Sex Marriage Vote and Pita on a Stick Procession

Two disparate items from the blog of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. which I've just run across.

First, the DC Catholic Conference (a conference of 1?) responds to a decision by a two-member elections board forbidding a referendum on same-sex marriage:
DC Catholic Conference Statement on DC Marriage Referendum Rejection

The residents of the District of Columbia deserve to be heard, particularly on an issue as important as redefining marriage. Last month, the District of Columbia City Council voted to recognize same-sex marriages in the nation’s capital in an amendment process that prevented constituents from having a voice.

Today’s announcement by the DC Board of Elections and Ethics to deny a referendum on this issue has once again disenfranchised the residents of our city. The DC Catholic Conference is deeply disappointed by the decision to deny voters a voice.

Civil governments have recognized marriage throughout time as between a man and woman because of its unique purpose: to form a stable unit where children are created and raised with the complementary gifts of father and mother. This stability for children in turn forms a stable foundation for society.

As part of an organization that serves thousands of children and families throughout this city, it would be our hope that residents be given an opportunity to be heard on an issue with widespread implications for children and families. The DC Catholic Conference will continue to strongly advocate for the long-standing and proper definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

The poster, Monsignor Charles Pope, pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian and the blog's most prolific contributor, adds his own comment, excerpt:
. . .last month the DC Council railroaded this measure through and refused to allow citizens to testify in a significant matter before the City Council. Now the DC Board of elections has once again refused the general populace a chance to be heard. . .

Advocates of the “new morality” will likely cheer this decision but they should examine their cheerfulness. They have long marched under the banners of tolerance and freedom. Now many of them wish merely to impose their views by judicial fiat and will not tolerate dissent or even discussion. Whatever the motives of the members of the Board elections were I do not know. But no one should cheer a silencing of the voice of the people in this matter whether it is by refusing to hold hearings or refusing a referendum.

Elsehwhere, at America, Michael Sean Winters makes a similar point, excerpt:
Whatever you think of the issue of gay marriage on the merits – and I am opposed – pursuing political objectives by circumventing democratic norms in favor of the courts is a recipe for further political polarization. Some people who might be disposed towards the issue on the merits are turned off when told that they shall have no say in the matter.

Worse, recourse to the courts and invoking abstract notions of rights guarantees that the debate play to the extremes. This happened after Roe and it is happening over gay marriage. Going through the cumbersome legislative process, where negotiations and deals and compromises are the order of the day, you end up with something that approximates the ambivalence many people feel on these issues. When you go through the courts, you get more of an all-or-nothing result.

Here's another item posted at the DC blog. Look at the still in this video, then go see Msgr. Pope's post to see what's going on.

We do it a little differently in Kansas City.