But what about the Feiler Faster thesis, of which you are the chief proponent? Wouldn't that predict less backlash for the NJ ruling than the Massachusetts ruling? After all, people have had two years--eons in Feiler time--to process gay marriage. I'd say that a majority of the country believes (believes, not desires) that gay marriage will be legalized within their lifetimes, something which seemed impossible only 5 years ago.
Excellent point. The Feiler Faster Thesis, remember, holds that voters now process information comfortably at what used to seem like "breathtaking speed." Why doesn't this apply to the gay marriage movement? Here are some possible answers: a) It does. Gay marriage, as A C-W (along with Andrew Sullivan) notes, is being accepted relatively rapidly. b) Just because you process information about new social trends rapidly doesn't mean you approve of them. Specifically, it doesn't mean you approve of judge-made social transformations. You can "process" that development by disapproving of it. Undemocratic judicial imposition of gay unions arguably retards their acceptance; c) One of the things voters might be scared of is precisely that some sort of Faster principle will be applied to speed up social change, with disastrous unanticipated consequences (the same way, Amy Sullivan claims, voters are scared of letting scientific research proceed willy nilly with cloning, etc. "without ever having a conversation as a society about the moral issues involved." Given that concern, framing the gay marriage debate as "law" and "logic" against prejudice is analogous to framing the stem cell debate as "science" and "progress" against faith-based Luddism. The framing itself is what's most alarming. ...
P.S.: See also Drum, and his commenters. ... Drum writes, in part:
Sullivan wrote "Here Comes the Groom," an article for the New Republic that defended gay marriage, in 1989. The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that the state needed to show a "compelling state interest" in order to continue denying gay people the right to marry. Vermont passed a civil union law in 2000 ...
Four years from a provocative Andrew Sullivan TNR cover story to the law of Hawaii? Yes, that's alarmingly fast. Especially for constitutional law, which can't be repealed by simply electing new leaders. Especially for a change in family structure. (How many years did it take monogamy to displace polygamy? You mean how many millenia.) ...
P.P.S.:Slate's Dahlia Lithwick joins Andrew Sullivan in declaring (and not just once!) that "there is nothing 'activist' about [the N.J.] decision." It's just as cracked when she says it. 11:37 A.M. link
The Suspect Halperin Jujitsu Effect: If I read it correctly, Wednesday's ABC Note came close to arguing that when the MSM chooses to emphasize and anti-GOP story line--a classic example is the NYT's clucking front-page placement of the GOP Ford/Playboy ad controversy--it actually helps the Republicans, because such stories
produce an Old Media reaction (pro-stem cell research, pro-Fox, pro-Hollywood, pro-Ford) that Republicans can use to go to the base and say, "Don't let the Old Media steal this election!"
Under this perverse-yet-plausible theory, if the MSM really wanted to destroy the Republicans they would produce nothing but anodyne, pro-GOP stories from now until Election Day. Then the Republican base would stay home and the Republicans would lose. It's an idea that goes against all the fight-back instincts of the Democrats' Kossack netroots, but that doesn't automatically make it right. I'm skeptical. ... 11:15 A.M. link
Wednesd ay, October 25, 2006
Dems Dodge Big Gay Bullet? It seems to me the New Jersey Supreme Court has--perhaps non-accidentally--denied Republicans the powerful base-mobilizing weapon that a ruling mandating gay marriage would have given them. Sure, New Jersey proponents of gay marriage have been more or less invited to return to court if the legislature doesn't call the equal package of rights it grants gay couples "marriage." But by kicking the nomenclature question to the legislature, and giving them 180 days to resolve it, the New Jersey justices avoided having the state instantly become, as the AP's pre-decision build-up put it, "the nation's gay wedding chapel." Unlike Massachusetts, AP's Mulvihill notes, New Jersey doesn't have a "law barring out-of- state couples from wedding there if their marriages would not be recognized in their home states."In other words, had the New Jersey Court gone all the way and required gay marriage, the next two weeks might have been filled with stories of happy gay couples from across the nation buying plane tickets to Atlantic City for their expected weddings. Only a Liberal Media Conspiracy of unprecedented self-repressive power could have kept the hype from driving cultural conservatives to the polls. But now court's decision will slide from national consciousness almost immediately, no? Unless Ken Mehlman wants to spring for the plane tickets. ... 11:03 P.M. link