Don't force Sulu to divorce

SCREENCAP: George Takei as Sulu on Star Trek

George Takei, a.k.a. Sulu, plans to “wed his longtime partner and business manager, Brad Altman, now that the California Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage,” according to the AP.

Good for Sulu. Marriage can have a profound impact on your life. William McGurn, former chief Bush speechwriter, recently noted:

First, who you marry is far more important than what career you choose. Over the course of a life that has taken me across three continents, I have met many accomplished men and women. And I have always been astonished by the number who give more thought to choosing the job they may hold for a couple of years than to choosing the spouse to whom they will pledge – before God and their friends – to remain with until death they do part.

Good words. It would indeed be a step in the right direction for people to put more thought into who they are going to marry.

It’s too bad McGurn worked for and supported the man who sought a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages in the name of “protecting marriage.” Maybe McGurn would caution gays to focus more on their careers than personal relationships?

And there is still no word on when McGurn and Bush will both support laws that would make it harder to get a divorce, a measure that would protect the “institution of marriage” far more than discrimination. But that might effect them and their constitutents. It’s a lot easier to trade on anti-gay bigotry for votes than do anything real about “protecting marriage.”

I wonder if the Right really wants to see all these folks California, like Sulu, get a divorce in just a few months. Would that be compassionate conservatism? Either way, they always manage to get all worked up about the supposedly “activist judges.” What a crock:

Another cost is that slow drip-by-drip accretion of power to courts, that steady undermining of the right of people to govern themselves. In California, the deprivation of that right is exquisitely on display, for the compromise the court upset involved decades of negotiation and movement. The nucleus of California’s domestic partnership law dates from the late 1970s. Over time, it has grown more generous, by 2006 including all of the rights and obligations of marriage. In 2000, however, the people of California voted overwhelmingly to limit marriage itself to opposite-sex unions. The legislature has twice voted to extend marriage to gay couples – and Governor Schwarzenegger has twice vetoed the bill. The current arrangement, in short, reflects a series of evolving compromises set against the backdrop of a quickly developing social consensus concerning the value and honor of same-sex relationships – a process that the court treated as just so much bother on the way to a self-evident truth. Once upon a time, this bother had a name. We called it democracy.

What ever happened to protecting the minorities from the tyranny of the majority? Should we go back and revisit Brown v. The Board?

As Glenn Greenwald says:

The duty – the central obligation – of judges faithfully applying the law and fulfilling their core duties is to strike down laws that violate the Constitution, without regard to what percentage of the population supports that law, and without regard to whether it would be “better” in some political sense if democratic majorities some day got around to changing their minds about it.

Speak it brotha!

Oh, and don’t try to make Sulu divorce. Or he’ll stab you.

8 Comments

  1. Ian

    I don’t think its judges undermining democracy at all, thats just scapegoating. The judges can only work from the state and federal constitutions that exist, so if a given law conflicts with that, you can’t blame the judges if they strike it down. If there is any wiggle room in the wording of those constitutions that allows a judge to be “activist”, change the constitutions to take out that wiggle room.

    That said, I hope the constitutions aren’t changed like that. Denying gays the right to marry is blatant discrimination and making them call it “civil union” is just separate-but-equal all over again. You can’t even make the “undermining the institution of marriage” argument without sounding like a total crock. That argument has no way of really being made in court, only public opinion.

  2. Chris

    Ian,
    You’re totally right.

    I think there are two things that make gay marriage an inevitable reality in all 50 states.

    1) It’s become a civil rights issue

    2) The states that legalized gay marriage didn’t fall into anarchy

  3. Ian

    I agree with you as long as the state and federal constitutions remain unchanged. I sincerely hope we never have an amendment added to make marriage only between a man and a woman, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did someday make it in there. Theres a lot of people against gay marriage in this country.

  4. Chris

    I think the federal constitutional amendment thing is just a threat. It’d be far too difficult to get something like that passed IMO.

    Like I said. It’s a way for Republicans to make political hay without having to actually do anything.

  5. Ian

    I think its really unfortunate that you know this legalization thing in CA is going to brought up as a topic in the upcoming general election and it will be used to galvanize the right behind McCain.

  6. Chris

    It’s going to be brought up, but I don’t think it will matter.

    Just a hunch, but the people that won’t vote for Obama because of gay rights issues probably wouldn’t vote for him because he’s black.

  7. Ian

    Good point.

  8. Cameron

    Sulu has such a silky voice. I wish I could listen to it every day… in some other format than Howard Stern’s show.