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Ernest Istook Headshot

Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Reinforces National Backlash

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  • "The issue is not marriage. It's democracy."

When a court reverses the voters' decision, it reinforces the tidal wave of disgust at political elites who run roughshod over the will of the people.

Judge Vaughn Walker's same-sex marriage ruling will fan the already-torrid flames of discontent.

When a judge says there is no rational basis for what voters decide, he is calling the majority irrational people. It's akin to slinging around terms like "racist" or "ignorant" to describe people because they disagree with you. It insults the intelligence and values of the American people.

The decision demonstrates how our entire system of governance is broken. It bears too little resemblance to what our Founding Fathers created.

It's not about any single issue: Voters in Missouri -- a very purple state -- tried to send a message with their 71 percent rejection of Obamacare. A majority of Americans agree with Arizona's immigration laws -- but Obama launched a court attack anyway. A majority of Californians voted against same-sex marriage, to fix the first court legalization that disregarded an earlier popular vote. Now a second ruling again disenfranchises that second popular vote.

The specific issues may vary -- same-sex marriage, immigration, spending, health care, etc. -- but people are united by a common factor: They are outraged at political elites who disregard and overturn what the citizenry demands.

Moral issues are often decided by votes of the public or of elected officials: The relative penalties for different levels of offenses. Protections for minors. Decisions of how to balance environmental concerns with human concerns. The sanctity of life. And many more. Every law has a moral decision as a component. Judges should not assume moral superiority above those who make the laws, but should confine themselves to explicit constitutional principles that are clearly-enunciated, not fabricated by the courts.

Huge numbers of Americans believe the Left is rigging the system: If they cannot win a vote, they use bureaucracy or courts to get their way. Politicians who won't fix the system are inviting voters to throw them out wholesale in November.

The issue is not marriage. It's democracy.