In Maine the voters have voted No to allow gay marriage in their state. "The question hanging over this is how to decide which questions are matters of right and which can be left to the democratic process?" Would equal rights have been afforded to the black minority in the southern states in the 1960s? Andrew B wrote this comment in response:
"There is a principled argument to the conclusion that civil rights should not be submitted to the democratic process. Rights protect citizens against a tyranny of the majority. In a democracy they are the only such protection. Even if the majority is willing to ratify a right at the time it’s asked, that does not grant sufficient protection. If the majority turns tyrannical later, it can simply repeal the law that once protected the right. And if the majority is tyrannically inclined when it’s first asked to vote on the right, then the vote places a veneer of democratic legitimacy over what is really tyranny.
The idea that there are rights which can override the democratic process is very widespread. It’s advocated by everyone from union busters to abortion rights advocates to the gun nuts, among many others.
Again "The question hanging over this is how to decide which questions are matters of right and which can be left to the democratic process?" Is one I ask you.
I also agree with Virago on the same post: “If voters in Maine had voted yes for gay marriage, would bringing civil rights to a vote been an okay idea?” — I would still say “no.” Allowing the majority to determine whether a minority is afforded its civil rights is grossly incongruous, and I can’t support it."
I say minorities should have them same rights as majorities - and neither should be able to restrict the rights of others. The problem is when you are inside a system benefiting from it you can rarely see the incongruity or unfairness of it - the "I'm all right" mentality is far too much of an opiate.