Friday, June 26, 2015

Gay Marriage Legal Across the U.S.

Today the Supreme Court struck down states' bans of gay marriage. There are those who argue that the states should be allowed to ban gay marriage because democracy. Of course, democratic majorities could also be in favor of Jim Crow laws, anti-miscegenation laws, and any number of other laws that are now odious to most people, but were not once upon a time. Was it right for there to be legislation passed to eliminate Jim Crow laws in states in which a majority favored their presence? After all, democracy.

The purpose of the Bill of Rights, and several amendments that followed (most notably the 14th), is to restrict the power of democracy. There are and ought to be some things that are out of reach for democracies. Oppressing minority groups of any kind is one of them. Denying a minority group something granted the majority group is another. Thus, while libertarians and anarchists ought to generally oppose government actions, they ought to support the Supreme Court any time it universalizes rights and privileges. There are those who argue the government ought not be in the marriage business in the first place -- something about which I may agree -- but so long as it is, it ought to be open and available to everyone. There are "second best" options about which libertarians and anarchists ought to be happy.

Basically, the federal government, through the Supreme Court, made a certain kind of legislation illegal. Fantastic. I don't care where it comes from -- I'm always happy when a kind of legislation is made illegal. That only means greater freedom for all.

Personally, I'm more impressed when the Supreme Court goes against the majority in favor of freedom. But that's not what happened here. Here we saw the same kind of cowardice we saw in the Democratic party, which suddenly favored gay marriage when over 50% of the population favored it. All we saw was the Supreme Court confirming the will of the national majority over local majorities. It is the same kind of cowardice that drives the Supreme Court to tend to find whatever the Congress passes to be Constitutional. But even cowards can do the right thing, eventually.

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