The recent news cycle is replete with celebrations of the SCOTUS rulings on same-sex marriage. Activists on both sides of this very personal and contentious issue are either joyous or despondent depending on which side of the issue they find themselves.

I myself am sorrowed – but not for the reasons you might think. I see the frothing activists and sign-waving chanting protestors screaming at each other on the steps of the Supreme Court and wonder what has happened to this country. We have abandoned the legislative process for social change and replaced it with an ad-hoc random judicial circus which places the most important legal, social, and cultural issues of our times in the hands of nine unelected jurists. Four of them lean conservative. Four of them lean liberal. One man – Anthony Kennedy  – decides for a nation of 300 million people.

Yeah. That’s a recipe for disaster right there.

If you listen to the MSM, you’ll learn that the Supremes handed down two major rulings on same sex marriage yesterday. On one hand, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed by Congress and signed by none other than President William Jefferson Clinton, was declared invalid on its face. Fine. That’s very cut and dried. I’ll skip the news of Clinton celebrating the judicial invalidation of a law he signed because I’m simply tired of hypocrisy today.

The second ruling had to do with the very contentious amendment to the Constitution of the State of California known as Proposition 8. This ballot initiative was passed on the same ballot that elected Barack Obama to the Big Chair in 2008. 52% of California’s voters followed the law as laid out in the State Constitution and defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Thus the State Constitution was legally and lawfully amended by the citizens of that state.

You may not like that process. You may find those people who voted for that proposition to be bigots and homophobes and you may resent the enshrinement of what you consider to be bigotry in the State Constitution. You may believe you have the overwhelming majority of public opinion behind you in your belief. Fine. The bottom line is, in America the only poll that matters in defining the law is the one take on Election Day and when the votes were legally and lawfully counted your opinion was outnumbered.

Them’s the breaks. If you don’t like that, it’s up to you to garner enough votes to change the law with which you disagree.

That’s the way America works. Spare me the lectures on fairness, equality, and justice. The whole “Equal Justice Under Law” concepts applies to everybody – including those who hold an opinion different than yours. Under the Rule of Law this is how it works.

Unless you’re Arnold Schwarzenegger and “Moonbeam” Jerry Brown in 2010. When the Anti-Prop 8 crowd brought the much anticipated lawsuit against the implementation of Prop 8, Arnold and Jerry made the decision that the State of California would not defend the legally and lawfully passed amendment to the State Constitution. In other words, they simply up and decided to abdicate their constitutional duty to defend their State Constitution because they personally disagreed with the voice of the people.

Lest you doubt my reasoning in accusing Arnold of violating his oath of office, here’s what he swore to do when he ascended to California’s Big Chair:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.” (Emphasis Added)

The Governor is the State’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer. It is his job to enforce all the laws of the state – even those with which he personally disagrees. This duty is what separates our society from the arbitrary-ness associated with two-bit dictatorships everywhere else in the world. Arnold’s duty was to defend the law regardless of his personal opinion. Even people accused of the most heinous of crimes are afforded a competent defense by counsel at their trial. By abdicating this duty, Arnold put the 52% of California voters beneath even the lowest of criminals.

Because Arnold abdicated his constitutional duty, citizens of the State of California banded together to defend the legally and lawfully passed ballot initiative. When SCOTUS ruled on Proposition 8 yesterday, it did not decide the constitutionality of the issue. SCOTUS simply ruled that the citizens group did not have “standing” to defend the case. That duty, they said, is the exclusive domain of the state government.

This sets in quickly drying concrete a dangerous precedent – and where SCOTUS is concerned, precedent is important. While you may applaud the ruling on its face value, the devil is always in the details. Now a chief executive can simply decide for him/herself what laws they will choose to enforce and defend. Imagine for a moment a right leaning governor of a fictional state who – after reading this decision – decides that he will no longer enforce the legislative under-pinnings  of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision simply because he finds it unconstitutional. You may scoff at such a possibility but I bring it up only to illustrate the unforeseen penalties related to the Law of Unintended Consequences.

For the time being, proponents of same sex marriage are going to take their victory lap. I’m sure many a wedding will be planned and tens of thousands of ugly dresses will be purchased with promises that they can be tailored to fit any shape and of course can be re-used as evening wear next summer. Horrifically overpriced flowers will adorn inedible cakes and the Wedding Industrial Complex will get its own version of a custom made economic stimulus package. Go forth. Be happy. Good luck with all that.

Just remember that, in the end, how you get what you want is oft times more important that getting it. The newly blazed trail can, and most likely will, be used by someone else whose goals and objectives are diametrically opposed to your own. The next time a governor or state attorney general decides – in an arbitrary or capricious manner – to ignore the law of the land based solely on his personal beliefs, that law may well be one that personally affects you. The shoe will then be on the other proverbial foot as will all the other proverbs associated with that metaphor.

In the mean-time, cheers to the happy couples. Enjoy your cake and finger sandwiches.

Here endeth the lesson.

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