Anderson in NRO: Marriage, Democracy, and the Court


Ryan Anderson argues that it's unconstitutional for activist judges to settle the marriage debate:

A hallmark of democratic self-government is that the people should discuss, debate, and vote on important policy matters. And in America their votes should count, except when they clearly violate the people’s more settled will as expressed in the U.S. Constitution. Where the Constitution is silent, the task of a conscientious judge is to respect the constitutional authority of citizens and their elected officials.

American FlagThat’s what’s at stake in the two marriage cases on which the Supreme Court is expected to rule within the next week or so.

A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that “a solid majority of Americans opposes a broad national right to same-sex marriage.” Americans do not want the Supreme Court to redefine marriage for the entire nation.

And earlier this week, the Pew Research Center reported that media coverage has been overwhelmingly biased, by a factor of five to one, in favor of redefining marriage to include same-sex couples. Pew also found that ordinary Americans taking to social-media sites such as Twitter have been split more or less evenly.

That’s the reality of the discussion right now in America: We’re in the middle of a debate, with neither side’s position “inevitable.” This discussion is healthy for our democratic republic. And it would be wrong for the Supreme Court to shut down this conversation prematurely.