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Gay Group Deploys Celebrities in Same-Sex Marriage Debate, Sidelines Judicial Activism

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Posted on September 15 2010 9:00 am
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
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When U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker struck down California’s Proposition 8, the subsequent hubbub centered primarily around whether the decision was an example of judicial activism. Whether Walker, or any federal judge, is within their jurisdiction to rule on a state’s constitution is an entirely separate argument from whether the institution of marriage ought to be redefined.

No matter which side of the latter issue you support, it is of greater importance to the integrity of our republican jurisprudence that we all embrace the correct answer to the former. It is the purview of the states to craft family law, not federal judges.

To that end, a curious development has manifested in the state of New York, an effort to sway public opinion and affect a plurality in favor of gay marriage.

Advocates for same-sex marriage in New York, in a major departure from their strategy of lobbying political insiders, will begin making a direct appeal to ordinary voters in a series of commercials featuring Hollywood actors, fashion designers and civic leaders.

The videos, to be released starting this week, are the most vivid attempt yet to persuade the state’s lawmakers to legalize gay marriage, which the Legislature voted down last year, despite polling that showed a slight majority of New York voters supported it.

In the aftermath of that defeat, many grumbled that the backers of same-sex marriage had failed to rally ordinary residents behind the bill or to humanize the issue outside of Albany — the explicit aim of the new ads.

In them, celebrities like Julianne Moore and Kyra Sedgwick and leaders like Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Rev. Al Sharpton will speak in strikingly personal ways about their support for gay marriage.

While I stand opposed to “gay marriage” for the several reasons masterfully articulated by my NRB colleague Calvin Freiburger in the wake of the Prop 8 decision, I applaud this new strategy on the part of the Human Rights Campaign, the gay rights organization that has sponsored theses ads. While I would prefer they fail, since I find the attempt to redefine marriage as “a union between two people who love each other” antithetical to the institution’s historic and essential purpose, I recognize that – as a Minnesotan – I have little to say about the family law affecting New Yorkers. It is heartening to see advocates for a change in social policy making their case to the people in their state, rather than attempting to circumvent the body politic through judicial activism.

Future ads will feature, among others, Kevin Bacon, Whoopi Goldberg, Fran Drescher, Tom Colicchio, the chef, and Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, the widow of Arthur Ashe.

It’s important, in this era of fundamental transformation, that we applaud our opponents when they pursue a tact which respects the rule of law. It’s tempting to scoff and say no one deserves accolades for doing things the way they are supposed to be done. However, the incentive of social acceptance is a powerful tool, and encouraging our opponents to deal openly through public discourse rather than a tyrannical judiciary hurts no one.

Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota’s North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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