Friday, July 07, 2006


I was pleasantly surprised by the recent ruling by the New York State Court of Appeals on the issue of same-sex marriage. Unlike the 2003 decision by the Massachussetts Supreme Judicial Court, this decision was actually based on law, rather than some esoteric concept of "fairness." From today's Albany Times Union:
ALBANY -- There will be no wedding bells in
New York for lesbian and gay couples after
the state's highest court ruled Thursday that
same-sex marriage is not legal and it is up
to lawmakers to decide whether it should be.

"New York's statutory law clearly limits
marriage to opposite-sex couples," which
is consistent with the state constitution,
Court of Appeals Associate Judge Robert S.
Smith wrote.

"Whether such marriages should be recognized
is a question to be addressed by the
Legislature," Smith added.

(emphasis mine)

Regardless of how you feel on the issue of same-sex marriage, there is no reasonable argument that courts should be allowed to unilaterally change the definitions of words. Marriage has had a specific meaning since the founding of this country, and for centuries, even millenia, before that. If a word that defines the basic building block of our society is going to take on new meaning, it should be up to the people to decide what that meaning should be, not a small group of judges. Once judges are allowed to change the definitions of words at will, any law passed by the legislature, even the Constitution itself, become meaningless.

Court: No to gay marriage

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