The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Common Sense on Marriage

with 4 comments

The story is told of a law professor assigning his constitutional law students the reading of The Federalist Papers. The students reacted as all students do to homework, with groans and other protestations.  One bold student told the professor that the seminal work of our democratic republic was much too difficult to read for a humble first-year law student.

The sagely professor replied, “I understand.  This book was not written for someone of your educational level; this book was written for the common, average, upstate New York farmer of 1787.”

It seems that whatever is the modern equivalent of that New York farmer is rising again.  In town hall meetings across America, citizens are voicing their opposition to the carefully crafted political spin their politicians seem to be throwing at them in vain.

The same is true in West Virginia.  Regardless of the constant pooh-poohing by the ACLU or Fairness West Virginia that the redefinition of marriage could never come to West Virginia, the people are seeing through these feeble attempts to thwart the democratic process.

Intrinsically, the people of West Virginia remember that West Virginia’s constitution belongs to them – not the judges who are supposed to interpret it or the politicians they elected to safeguard the rights outlined within it.  They know there is no legitimate reason not to let voters settle under which definition of marriage they will consent to be governed and are growing weary of being told to sit down and let the professionals handle things.

They know that the recent experience of several states has closed the debate as to whether or not there’s a nationwide effort to redefine marriage.  They saw what happened in courtrooms in Connecticut and Iowa.  They heard how legislators entirely ignored their constituents and redefined marriage in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Washington, D.C.

West Virginians are smart enough to know that when the ACLU says in one place that West Virginia’s laws on marriage are strong and in another that those same laws are unconstitutional, that it is just a matter of when, not if, the ACLU of WV will try to intimidate a judge into redefining marriage.

It’s not too hard for West Virginians to understand that Fairness West Virginia is coordinating its fight against your right to vote on the definition of marriage – or as they call it, “bigotry” – with the Human Rights Council and the Equality Federation.

And people from Jefferson to Monongalia to Kanawha Counties know that their politicians are being given campaign contributions by such groups with the understanding that those politicians will, in turn, prevent any exercise in democracy that goes beyond their reelection.

The fact of the matter is that every legislator has a duty to protect your right to vote on the definition of marriage.  Representative democracy means nothing if it does not mean listening when one’s constituents ask to govern themselves.

As Clinton Rossitor remarked, “The message of the Federalist [Papers] reads: no happiness without liberty, no liberty without self-government, no self-government without constitutionalism, no constitutionalism without morality – and none of these great goods without stability and order.”

This commentary first appeared in the Charleston Gazette’s September 9, 2009 edition.  To read it on the Gazette’s website, click here.

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Written by Jeremy Dys

September 9, 2009 at 4:15 am

4 Responses

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  1. […] The Engage Family Blog of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia: Regardless of the constant pooh-poohing by the ACLU or Fairness West Virginia that the redefinition of marriage could never come to West Virginia, the people are seeing through these feeble attempts to thwart the democratic process. Intrinsically, the people of West Virginia remember that West Virginia’s constitution belongs to them – not the judges who are supposed to interpret it or the politicians they elected to safeguard the rights outlined within it.” […]

  2. My wife & I are both WV natives, We lived in CA from 82 – 01, Living in the central valley, not too far from San Francisco. We were involved in the 1st def of marriage bill, but had ret’d to WV between times.
    The only way the issue was ever brought to a vote in CA was when we the people forced it onto the ballot by the initiative (petition)process. The legislature there tried from the beginning to ignore the will of the people. Sounds like our legislature, doesn’t it.
    A more benficial first step to the fight would be to amend the state constitution to allow the people to force things to the ballot by initiative. the legislature will continue to ignore the will of the people on this issue. I don’t recall “the people” redefining marriage anywhere, judiciary & legislative, yes, but not the people.

    Larry Kapp

    September 10, 2009 at 9:35 am

  3. We live in a republic, not a democracy. The people get to vote every two years in November, not on every social issue where you might be defeated in the legislature.

    You also fail utterly in explaining why the civilizing effects of marriage are good for society when enjoyed by straights, but but for society if enjoyed by Gay / Lesbian couples.

    gary47290

    September 10, 2009 at 12:01 pm

  4. Also: Courts and Legistlture are part of the democratic aspects of our republic.

    gary47290

    September 10, 2009 at 12:03 pm


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