On the radio this morning I heard that there are new polls out indicating how voters are reacting to President Obama's and Governor Romney's positions on gay marriage. I then read an article in the Boston Globe describing how Romney, despite his speech at Liberty University this past weekend, was soft pedaling his anti gay marriage/civil union's stance. The article suggested that it will hurt Romney to trumpet this position.
Both the article and the story suggested that the election might be a referendum of sorts on this issue of gay marriage.
I contend that in a democracy such as ours, the controversy over gay marriage may be a philosophical issue but cannot be a political issue. This is not to argue that philosophical issues have not, in the past, become political ones. The point is that in a democracy, perspectives on this issue have no legitimacy in an election.
The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, with different words, assert that individuals have inalienable rights and that one population of citizens has no inherent rights that another population does not have. This is a, if not the, fundamental plank in our country's value system. Person A and Person B have no government granted advantages. Any advantages are earned or the result of good fortune, not of political decree.
Therefore, a president or congress cannot with any legitimacy run on a platform that deprives someone civil rights. Of course politicians have done this throughout our history, yet such planks are incontrovertibly counter to our articulated principles.
So for President Obama to support gay marriage is almost meaningless in the sense that to not support gay marriage is to support inequality. And no citizen has the right to not support civil rights as long as those civil rights do not interfere with another's civil rights. For Governor Romney to reject the concept and concurrently to trumpet democratic values is nonsensical. Americans do not have the right to vote for equality. We can't have a referendum to decide on whether one sex can vote, or whether one race can eat in restaurants, or one religion can attend school.