Letter: Rights should be decided by judges

Published:

 

Newt Gingrich calls for a vote on gay marriage. Rick Santorum calls for a constitutional amendment restricting same-sex marriage. What they have in common is contempt for civil liberties.

In our state, an initiative is being formed to allow a majority of voters to decide on the rights of a minority. In the present case, it’s Christians voting on the rights of homosexuals. But what could such a vote entail: Christians voting on the rights of Jews or Moslems? Whites voting on the rights of Blacks? Does any of that sound American to you?

This is purely a religious question. The First Amendment specifically prohibits the state from consulting religious doctrine in determining rights. Rights are adjudicated in the courts.

Gingrich warns against “having a handful of judges arbitrarily impose their will.” Arbitrarily? That’s their job. That’s why we have lawyers and judges. Otherwise, we’d only need guns, a rope and a strong tree branch. The voters don’t decide on issues of rights. That’s what judges do.

A referendum on rights might someday affect a member of your family -- or you. Don’t sign the petition for Referendum 74 to be put on the November ballot.

Joel Littauer

Vancouver