A Strict Constitutionalist…

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
November 25, 2012

In 2004, 59% of Michigan voters passed an amendment to the state constitution to ban gay marriage. Similar to the ballot proposals this year, I thought amending the constitution for this was a bad idea, and I drew some cartoons to that point. Some readers contacted me to tell me I was wrong. Most cited natural law and procreation and the history of marriage (at least as far as their recent memory) and an implied discomfort with two men kissing. But the closer argument for all was this: “This is what the people want. The majority rule. That’s how democracies work, you know. Too bad for you.”

Eight years later, a Michigan State University study shows that 56% of Michigan voters now support gay marriage. This seems entirely plausible considering Maine, Maryland, and Washington state all passed popular vote measures to legalize gay marriage, and Minnesota turned down a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Soooo… do the people still decide?


  1. Dave said,

    November 27, 2012 @ 7:43 am

    The people who say, “The majority rule. That’s how democracy works, you know” don’t know! They miss one of the major points of our constitution – it protects the rights of minorities. That would be the Bill of Rights.

  2. Mark said,

    November 27, 2012 @ 7:54 am

    Reality is very complicated. Those who are “right” and adopt a simplified reality in their minds invariably end up being hypocritical not by choice but as a side effect of putting a square peg in a multi-dimensional hole.

  3. Kris said,

    November 27, 2012 @ 9:49 am

    Legislation is not carved onto stone tablets (although often the time that is involved in the process does allow for it). I know it takes some people longer to evolve into understanding the fairness of marriage equality and I believe all states will eventually recognize it. In the mean time, the political discourse will provide future generations with the same sense of disbelief that my children have about segregation.

  4. Tyler-WA-State said,

    November 27, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

    My favorite comment I read about WA State this year is “It’s a grand day in WA state for gay pot leaves!” Proud to live in this state. 🙂

    Seriously though I am often times confused by folks who call for a government “ban on X” (pot, gay marriage, etc.), but in the same breath say the problem with our Country is too much government interference and laws. Which one is it? Oh that’s right, too many laws if I don’t like them; not enough laws if I personally (me, myself and I) see something I don’t like. 🙂

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