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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 16, 2006 / 25 Mar-Cheshvan 5767

Democracy and same-sex marriage

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Matt Foreman, the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, was celebrating Arizona's defeat of a proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.


"It is always wrong to put basic rights up for a popular vote," he said, "and it is nearly impossible for any minority to protect itself when that happens. But today in Arizona the impossible happened."


Constitutional democracy is incompatible with the rights of minorities? That would have come as news to champions of American liberty from John Adams to Martin Luther King. They would have been even more taken aback, to use no stronger term, by the suggestion that there is a "basic right" to homosexual marriage, something American law has never permitted.


Once, Americans who considered themselves progressive had faith in the collective wisdom of the citizenry and fought to extend the franchise to more people (e.g., women) and more decisions (e.g., the election of US senators). Their democratic confidence reflected a civic conviction as old as American independence itself -- that "governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."


But don't talk to advocates of same-sex marriage about the consent of the governed. They appear to regard democracy as a snare to be avoided. Hence their preference for securing gay marriage by judicial command, as in Massachusetts and New Jersey. And hence their aversion to letting voters decide whether the definition of marriage should be changed.


"History is replete with examples of advances in civil rights that would not have been tolerated had they been put to a popular vote," wrote Kathleen O'Connor, president of the Women's Bar Association, about the petition by 170,000 Massachusetts voters for a constitutional amendment defining marriage. "If our Bill of Rights were today submitted for voter approval, it would be defeated as too radical."


Even more scornful of democracy was the Berkshire Eagle. "If civil rights were a matter for the ballot box," the largest newspaper in western Massachusetts editorialized on Nov. 8, "blacks would undoubtedly still be drinking from separate water coolers and riding in the back of buses." When the Massachusetts Legislature corruptly avoided voting on the petitioners' amendment, ducking the vote required by the state constitution, the paper cheered its lawlessness. "Civil rights should never be determined by a majority of voters," it declared. "Ballot questions are blunt instruments, lacking the delicacy of legislation."


It is hard to say which is sadder: the contempt for ordinary Americans that such comments reflect, or the ignorance of American history underlying them.


To begin with, it wasn't through "blunt" ballot measures that Southern buses and water fountains were segregated. It took the "delicacy of legislation" to write something so abominable into law.


Nor was it by means of a judicial bolt from the blue that segregation was finally crushed. It was through the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 -- a legislative milestone that would never have been reached if not for the fact that a majority of white Americans supported it.


To be sure, there were court cases, such as Brown v. Board of Education, that played a role in extending civil rights to citizens of every race. But those rulings didn't conjure newfangled "rights" out of thin air. They restored rights that had been created democratically and were already supposed to be the law of the land. The 14th Amendment -- approved by Congress and ratified by three-fourths of the states in 1868 -- had guaranteed equality and due process to blacks and whites alike. The Civil Rights Act of 1875 had barred discrimination in public accommodations. But the Supreme Court had gutted those protections -- for example in 1896, when it authorized streetcar segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson. It wasn't democracy that failed black Americans during the long decades of Jim Crow. It was a judiciary unwilling to protect the equality that the democratic process had guaranteed.


The republican form of government to which all Americans are entitled makes them the source of the constitution(s) under which they live. The only valid civil rights are those that have the consent of the governed. Their legitimacy comes from the democratic process, not from judicial fiat or political correctness.


"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves," Thomas Jefferson said, "and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion." Same-sex marriage will never be a civil right until the people in their discretion make it one.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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