Can’t Blame Gays for Prop H8ing

William McGurn in the Wall Street Journal has an opinion column out today that is…if I may use a euphemism…interesting?

This column is RIDDLED with arguments that make NO sense to me, in any way. So I figured I would just go down the line. I mean, I can respect Conservative thought, but this is social conservative ideological trash.

First, he is pissed at all of the hate mail and threats the Mormon church is receiving from pro-gay rights groups now that Proposition 8 passed.

And it’s interesting that all those so outraged by the alleged disrespect toward the Quran shown by Guantanamo prison guards (the most sensational report was later retracted by Newsweek) appear unperturbed by the ugliness directed against our Mormon brothers and sisters.

I can appreciate that this is a paradox, and I don’t personally advocate violence or even threats. I think it IS stooping to a low level. In fact is is stooping to the same level of the Mormon church itself in trying to get Proposition 8 passed, which makes me COMPLETELY non-sympathetic to Mormons in their current predicament. 


What we have in America is less a culture war than a constitutional war. And if we could just straighten out the latter, we’d go a long way toward diffusing the former.

This is a comment I can fairly agree with. I think there is a constitutional issue here. I personally think that from a legal standpoint this is a states’ rights issue, but I would like to have some closure on it either way.

But it REALLY pisses me off when he says…

In California, gay Americans have marriage in all but name — which many Americans might think a pretty reasonable compromise.

Who the hell is compromising? A compromise, according to Webster, is


  • settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions


So explain to me what straight Americans have conceded. Explain to me what they sacrificed to meet us in the middle. Gay Americans are not asking for straight Americans to concede anything. This isn’t an issue of compromise, its an issue of extending the affirmation of the right to marriage. There is no catch, and no cost.

Then he clearly demonstrates his skewed vision of how American government works:

The great achievement of our system was to create a political order where these great moral disputes, as a matter of policy, are left to the people — with allowance for differences according to region and locale. Moral agents have a role to play, generally by shaping the larger culture in which these decisions are framed and debated. But the outcome is left to the people acting through their elected representatives, a process that inevitably involves compromise, trade-offs and messy accommodations.

First, he says that the decisions are left to “the people,” and then ends up saying that they belong to “elected representatives.” PICK ONE. The founders were wary of Democracy and the notion of “the people” as being a political unit. Only one of the above interpretations is accurate in reference to the way our government was designed, and it is that elected representatives should be making these decisions.

Clearly, though, Mr. McGurn thinks the first analysis is appropriate. And wrongly so, as evidenced by his closing remarks…

How much healthier our politics would be if those so convinced of the rightness of their views would have equal faith in the decency of their fellow Americans — and their openness to being persuaded by clear, fair and honest argument.

Mr. McGurn, I suggest you read Federalist 10. This notion of “decency of fellow Americans” and “openness to being persuaded” has no basis. Majorities are repressive toward minorities. They always have been, always will be, and it was THIS VERY REASON that American government is centered around a system of representatives – to better protect the rights of minorities. So when you put the rights of minorities up to vote among the majority, its almost always a foregone conclusion what the result will be. One has to wonder what we even pay representatives for, and one DEFINITELY has to wonder what the Wall Street Journal is paying William McGurn for…


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