As reluctant as I am to agree with a Wall Street Journal editorial about anything, they’re right about the California Supreme Court’s ruling on the gay marriage initiative. It’s been bizarre to hear liberals suggest that the judiciary has any right to reverse the democratically expressed will of the people. If the California court had overturned Prop 8, it would have made a mockery of the entire initiative system. If we’re going to have initiatives at all — and I’m strongly in favor of them, for all the awful propositions I’ve voted against — we’d better stick by their results until the next election, or start waiting for the state courts to jump on the results of every progressive decision from here on out.
The best way to legalize same-sex marriage is to allow the people to make up their own minds on a state-by-state basis. Imposing it on the entire nation by “judicial fiat,” as the WSJ puts it, would be as self-defeating as banning it by fiat. Unfortunately, this strategy means that same-sex marriage isn’t going to pass for some time in a lot of states. But it’s only a matter of time. Society is moving fairly rapidly in the direction of total acceptance of the notion of same-sex marriage — right-wing urgency on the issue doesn’t mean that liberals are on the verge of forcing gay marriage on an unwilling electorate, but that the electorate is on the verge of turning its back on a right-wing policy.