Add Gary Marx, executive director of Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, to the long list of right wingers who think they support the constitution but clearly don’t understand it. Like the rest of them, he pretends that judicial review that overturns laws is the end of democracy — as long as he supports the law that was overturned.
No component of American liberty or democracy is inherently safe if, as it did earlier this summer, the highest court in our land is permitted to trump Constitutional principles and the political will of the American people with a progressive political and social agenda rooted in neither.
Consider first the broad political support that brought DOMA to law and then sustained it as law these past 17 years. Too seldom mentioned in the post-ruling analysis, DOMA was a modest, uncontroversial piece of legislation that merely codified multiple existing federal laws defining (for the purpose of federal spousal benefits) marriage as being between a man and a woman.
The legislation passed both Houses of Congress with broad, bipartisan support, was signed into law by Democrat Bill Clinton and has been largely politically uncontested since. Importantly, DOMA solidified a broadly held view of the American people, held since our nation’s founding and still today, that marriage is a critical societal institution that cannot be harmfully redefined to suit the agenda of special interest political causes.
Oh, of course. So then, you’re also going to protest the ruling from just two days earlier that struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act, which passed the Senate unanimously and has been reauthorized by nearly unanimous votes in both houses of Congress multiple times over nearly 50 years. Right? Oh, you’re not? So then all this stuff about democratic consensus is just special pleading to be applied only when you support the law that was overturned? Yeah, that’s what I thought.