There is pending a referendum drive to add a gay marriage ban to California’s constitution. Thus, there’s no chance the issue will go away this year.
John McCain’s speech deploring lack of judicial restraint has been pooh-poohed by liberal commentators as merely an attempt to provide “red-meat” to conservative voters skeptical of the candidate’s ideological bona fides. Just yesterday Ruth Marcus accused McCain of promoting a “high court caricature.” For purposes of this election season, the liberal mantra is “judicial activism? what judicial activism?”
Today’s decision suggests that this disingenuous line may not fool many members of its target audience. The decision also suggests that complaints about judges as makers of socially “enlightened” policy don’t just provide “red meat” for conservatives. I suspect that there are plenty of non-conservative voters, including voters in key states, who will find little to like in the California decision.
When asked about this decision, Obama’s response will probably be (1) that it’s a matter for Californians to decide, and (2) that he approves of civil unions, essentially marriages-lite, but not necessarily of gay marriage itself. He may add that the issue is a distraction and that we should stop focusing on what divides us, etc. I pretty sure he will not pledge, as McCain has done, to nominate judges who can resist the sort of policy-making we witnessed today.
As my friend Bill Otis says, Obama’s response will end the matter as far as the MSM is concerned. Whether it will satisfy swing voters in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania remains to be seen.
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