Monday, November 13, 2006

Why are the Boston Globe Editors Silent Now?

The Legislature disposed of the voter initiative on the definition of marriage last Thursday, yet the Boston Globe editorials have said absolutely nothing about it since then (unless my travel has caused me to miss something).

Why have they become so silent? Isn’t the disposal of this matter the final triumph for the Globe’s position?

I try to avoid attributing motive to others, but I have to wonder why the Globe Editorial board has nothing to say about this. Could it be (and here I go off attributing motive) that the manner in which the petition was defeated is both utterly anti-democratic and unconstitutional, so that the only possible support for such action is an “end justifies the means” argument?

Instead, the advocates (militants, I would call them) supporting same-sex marriage posit their own preferences in marriage law as a question of fundamental civil rights. Yet this is patently absurd. Doesn't our law does as it exists today still violate the fundamental civil rights of people whose preference is for plural marriage rather than monogamous marriage? There are as many of these in the world (likely far more) than there are homosexuals. And the reason that their preferred form of marriage is beyond their rights and intolerable to our law is…what?

And how is it obvious that our law of marriage must tolerate the practice of same-sex marriage to avoid a violation of fundamental civil rights, yet can be completely intolerant of plural marriages when plural marriage has been common practice through so much of history and law?

I foolishly hoped the Globe editors would explain their view on this question. I’d enjoy seeing them take a position as awkward as any teenager in game of “Twister”.

James Carroll provides his own answer in his off-the-wall Op Ed column today. Carroll’s answer is exactly the opposite of what the same-sex marriage militants said (at least until last week):

The human race is undergoing a massive cultural mutation. The meaning of sexuality is being transformed as biology revolutionizes reproduction. Women are demanding equality across the globe. Men are being forced to reimagine[sic] their familial and social roles. Gays and lesbians are at the center of these changes. Their refusal to be silent and invisible is one of the era's great resources, a magnificent sign of hope.

To Carroll, legalization of gay marriage is just one step in this “massive cultural mutation”. But where Carroll sees a “magnificent sign of hope”, those who are not as sanguine about humanity’s ability to improve our own reproduction through the haphazard application of contemporary culture see instead a slippery slope that threatens to further disturb a struggling institution that is both socially and biologically crucial. This is reason enough to scrupulously observe the processes of law when making decisions about such a question. Yet sidestepping the requirements of law was exactly what our legislature did last Thursday.

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