August 31, 2007

The Insanity - and Inanity - of Judge-Ordered Same-Sex Marriage - UPDATED

Hatched by Dafydd

UPDATE: See below.

Today, a lowly, puny county judge in Iowa gave the finger to the entire Iowa state legislature, overturned a nine-year old Iowa law, went against the opinion of a majority of Iowans, and set up a confrontation that can only end one way: a state constitutional amendment.

Why? Because he felt sorry for gays.

Dennis Prager is fond of remarking that compassion is one of the greatest virtues -- when practiced by individuals. But when practiced by government, compassion is more often one of the vilest vices. That is because the way governments practice "compassion" is to compassionate Paul by dissing Peter... in this case, telling everyone involved in the difficult decision of which relationships should be recognized as "marriage" that they can all go to hell, because Judge Robert Hanson's heart bled for a handful of people who sued to be able to wed same-sex partners.

Assuming AP is more or less accurate:

Hanson ruled that the state law allowing marriage only between a man and a woman violates the constitutional rights of due process and equal protection.

"Couples, such as plaintiffs, who are otherwise qualified to marry one another may not be denied licenses to marry or certificates of marriage or in any other way prevented from entering into a civil marriage ... by reason of the fact that both person comprising such a couple are of the same sex," he said.

Naturally, Hanson is wildly inconsistent: He feels "compassion" for gays who cannot wed, but he has no compassion for similarly situated siblings or cousins, nor for threesomes who all want to wed each other. His "ick" factor rises to overwhelm his compassion in those cases... but not in the case before him.

What was Hanson's argument? That couples who obey marriage rules 1 through 3 are allowed to violate rule 4 and still get married. Of course, the next judge might say that couples who obey rules 1, 2, and 4 can get married, even if they violate 3; everybody is entitled to his opinion, right?

But when those opinions become law simply because the opinion-monger wears a robe to work, you have a prescription for disaster: Judge Hanson says if you're not too closely related and you're only a couple, then you can blow off that bit about being of opposite sexes. But the next fellow says No... if you're only a couple and you're of opposite sexes, then you can get married even if you're brother and sister. Why not? What is the difference?

The end state of this chain reaction is that all rules get thrown out, exploding the very concept of marriage: Any group of people who say "we're married" must be considered married, with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto... allowing, for example, all the members of a gang to "marry" each other in a big group ceremony; and thereafter, none can ever be called as a witness against any other, even if he wants to testify. It's the Law of Unintended Consequences in action.

Unintended consequences is why such core definitions of a civilization cannot be resolved by individual judges substituting their own vision for an electoral process that gives everyone a say: It's much more difficult to change so basic an institution as marriage if you must do so by a majority vote of the people, rather than a majority vote among the neurons of one, solitary bench-warmer.

Did the judge consider the damage to the state of Iowa by expanding the definition of marriage to include two men or two women? Did he consider the possibility of a slippery slope? Did he consider how chipping merrily away at one of the legs of Western Civilization might cause the entire ediface to collapse?

Who knows? He's just one guy. He might have simply looked into the big, brown eyes of a plaintiff, a tear wells up, and the judge is immediately carried away by the desire to bring those particular two men together, and damn the larger consequences! The point is, we'll never know -- because it's only one guy. There is no "paper trail" of one guy's thought processes, as there is for the lengthy debate and eventual vote of a legislature or a citizen initiative.

The arrogance of Judge Hanson is breathtakingly colossal: He says, in essence, that he, the Anointed with the Vision (as Thomas Sowell puts it), is wiser than the combined wisdom of all the state legislators, the voters who elected them, and all previous judges who never found a "right" to same-sex marriage (or any other specific definition of marriage) in a state constitution that doubtless doesn't even mention such a definition.

The only good thing about this weepy, thoughtless ruling is that it will surely lead to a quick constitutional amendment in the state, an amendment that I suspect will be strongly supported among both Democrat and Republican Iowans:

House Minority Leader Christopher Rants, R-Sioux City, said the ruling illustrates the need for a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

"I can't believe this is happening in Iowa," he said. "I guarantee you there will be a vote on this issue come January," when the Legislature convenes.

I swear, I'm beginning to believe that living in a state with judges is hazardous to your culture.

UPDATE 3:45 pm: Same-sex marriage was legal in Iowa -- for less than one day; at that point, Judge Hanson acceded to a motion to stay his ruling filed by County attorney John Sarcone.

However, in that one day (and just two hours before the stay of execution), one couple managed to apply for a license, get a license, and actually get married, despite earlier reporting that it would take three days to receive the license:

Two men sealed the state's first legal same-sex marriage with a kiss Friday morning, less than 24 hours after a judge threw out Iowa's ban on gay marriage and about two hours before he put that ruling on hold.

It was a narrow window of opportunity.

And how did they buck the three-day waiting period? (I was tempted to go all gun-control on you and call it a "three day cooling-off period," but that would be snarky.) Easy: They paid a $5 gratuity:

The marriage license approval process normally takes three business days, but Fritz and McQuillan took advantage of a loophole that allows couples to skip the waiting period if they pay a $5 fee and get a judge to sign a waiver.

Friday morning, the Rev. Mark Stringer declared the two legally married in a wedding on [the] Unitarian minister's front lawn in Des Moines.

So let's see what happens in state appellate court and with the Iowa Supreme Court. But in order to forestall this sort of ruling occurring over and over again, whenever some county judge gets a wild hair, Iowans need to start the ball roaming on a state constitutional amendment.

I'm not sure whether that's done by the state legislature or by the voters themselves by petition... but whoever's in charge, get cracking.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 31, 2007, at the time of 5:20 AM

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Comments

The following hissed in response by: LarryD

I don't know if Iowa has recall for judges, or what other mechanism there is for removing judges, but Judge Hanson merits removal. For judicial overreach, and the poor judgment displayed, etc.

I also think that the full faith and credit clause in the Constitution needs a little tweaking, so no state can impose an institution on another (slavery, same sex marriage, etc).

The above hissed in response by: LarryD [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 31, 2007 6:27 AM

The following hissed in response by: BarbaraS

Did he consider how chipping merrily away at one of the legs of Western Civilization might cause the entire ediface to collapse?

Please understand that this is the liberal dream. They are chipping merrily away at other legs of WC like the media, education, etc. Tear down the basic structures and you get chaos...then socialism can get a foothold.

The above hissed in response by: BarbaraS [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 31, 2007 7:58 AM

The following hissed in response by: Marty

Cynical, but it needs to be asked:

Did the republican party bribe Judge Hansen into making this ruling, to sabotage the democrats in the Iowa Caucus?

Or was it just a gift, served up on a silver platter?

The above hissed in response by: Marty [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 31, 2007 8:20 AM

The following hissed in response by: Big D

This is why liberals love judges. Because they secretly love tyranny and hate freedom. Listen to liberals for awhile and it usually comes down to "...we should make them do...." Never "persuade" them. Never "convince" them.

How hard is it to boot a judge in Iowa?

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 31, 2007 8:37 AM

The following hissed in response by: David M

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 08/31/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

The above hissed in response by: David M [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 31, 2007 9:32 AM

The following hissed in response by: Da Coyote

I believe there is an old quote to the effect of, "The law is an ass." I disagree. It is not the law, but a percentage of those who practice it that are the asses. I'm wondering when we will get to the point where a significant portion of society chooses to disregard the law...oops, already been done...by dhimmicrats.

The above hissed in response by: Da Coyote [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 31, 2007 11:03 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman

So let's see what happens in state appellate court and with the Iowa Supreme Court. But in order to forestall this sort of ruling occurring over and over again, whenever some county judge gets a wild hair, Iowans need to start the ball roaming on a state constitutional amendment

I think that if the Iowa Supreme Court upholds the Constitutionality of that Law it will be settled without recourse to an Amendment

The above hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 3, 2007 12:23 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Dan Kauffman:

I think that if the Iowa Supreme Court upholds the Constitutionality of that Law it will be settled without recourse to an Amendment.

Until a couple of justices retire...

An amendment is best, because it's awfully hard for a judge, even a state Supreme Court justice, to rule that the state constitution violates the state constitution.

A liberal judge could try to rule it violates the U.S. Constitution; but that's a tough sell, given that the USSC has already upheld the federal DOMA. Rather, the federal judiciary would eventually overturn the state judge's finding, though it may take a few years.

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 3, 2007 1:29 AM

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