February 16, 2004

I'M IN FAVOR OF GAY MARRIAGE, but nonetheless I think that Rod Dreher has a good point:

What I don't get is this: why was it wrong for Judge Roy Moore of Alabama to unilaterally declare federal law wrong, and defy it by installing a Ten Commandments monument in a courthouse rotunda ... but it's okay for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to unilaterally declare state law wrong in prohibiting same-sex marriage, and defy it by issuing marriage licenses to gay couples? I mean, I know why the media was outraged by the former episode of grandstanding and not the latter, but as a legal matter, what's the difference?

Newsom would deny others the right to violate a law he believes in, but feels free to violate the law himself when he chooses, even though his sole claim to legitimacy as a government official comes from the law.

It's not civil disobedience when it's done by someone who controls the machinery of government -- it's usurpation, even when it's in a cause I agree with.

UPDATE: David Codrea wonders when they'll start passing out gun licenses without worrying about the silly -- and undoubtedly prejudiced -- limitations imposed by California law. I've actually noted that leftish prejudice against guns is a lot like rightish prejudice against gays. I, of course, oppose both varieties of prejudice. I rather doubt, though, that we'll see "civil disobedience" by government officials in support of gun rights in San Francisco any time soon.