Some of you are going to think I'm being preposterously nuanced on this, but I'm in favor of gay marriage in Vermont but not in Massachusetts.
What's the difference? I defer to Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural address:
"(T)he candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the Government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal."
Lincoln was referring to the United States Supreme Court, and its disastrous decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. (How. 19) 393 (1857). But clearly the sentiment could apply as well to the decisions of state supreme courts.
Last week in Vermont, gay marriage became law thanks to the actions of legislators, the direct elected representatives of the people. But in Massachusetts, gay marriage is the law because of a four to three majority decision by the state's Supreme Judicial Court in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, 440 Mass. 309 (2003). In Massachusetts, the justices on their highest court are not direct elected representatives of the people; they are appointed by the Governor.
Massachusetts had been around for a colony and later a state for almost four hundred years when Goodridge was decided. I just personally think that when you have four hundred years of precedent that marriage can exist only between one man and one woman, that policy shouldn't be changed by the words of four out of seven judges. In America the judiciary serves the people, not the other way around.