Maine marriage referendum betrays small “r” republican principles

The Constitution guarantees states a “republican” form of government. Republics make law via legislatures, not by judicial fiat or the mob rule of pure democracy.

Conservatives like me, applauded California’s referenda reversing its Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage creation.

We admonished same-sex marriage supporters to exercise their free speech rights in the arena of ideas. They did so in Maine, successfully lobbying the Pine Tree State into enacting a same-sex marriage law, only to be rebuffed by a public referenda law that strips the constitutional republican bark off Maine’s pine tree.

This conservative supports traditional marriage as the exclusive version, but I also love the rule of law and the finality necessary for it to be respected. Maine’s referenda as veto invites legislatures to abdicate their accountability and prevents legal finality, much like Roe v. Wade’s judicial fiat.

[This column originally appeared as part of a “Pro & Con” feature on page A11 of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday, November 8, 2009. If a link becomes available, it will provided here.]

Mike DeVine’s Charlotte Observer and Minority Report columns

“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson

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