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First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
By Orson Scott Card October 12, 2008

Upholding the Constitution

On one extreme, we have the idea that the Constitution is a written document that can only be altered by a deliberately time-consuming process of amendment.

On the other extreme, we have the idea that the Constitution means whatever a group of judges says it means.

The Constitution itself belongs to the first group -- it declares that it can only be changed through the amendment process.

But ever since Roe v. Wade in 1973, we have watched as, first the U.S. Supreme Court, and now state supreme courts in Massachusetts, California, and Connecticut, make new law by judicial decree, based on "ideas" purportedly found in the federal and state constitutions, but not based on the plain language of those documents.

No one in their right mind can possibly claim that when these constitutions were approved, there was the slightest intention to force abortion, and now gay marriage, on societies that had never been given a chance to vote on such morally portentous matters.

Roe v. Wade originally allowed abortions only in the first trimester of pregnancy. But through diktat after diktat, without any new law passed by constitutional process, the abortion "right" has come to allow killing a viable baby in mid-birth, or discarding a living baby when it was rude enough to be born breathing in the midst of an abortion.

Now various state courts are declaring that "marriage" must be redefined to include something that "marriage" has never meant in the history of the human race -- a reproductively and socially irrelevant "bond" between persons of the same sex.

As a science fiction writer, it has been my job to look at how the world works now, and then project into the future what might come next -- and, when I can, suggest how negative changes might be remedied.

Full Faith and Credit

Despite their contempt for the Constitution, you can be sure that the proponents of gay marriage will use Article IV of the Constitution to force recognition of gay marriage in states that have not yet had it forced on them by their courts.

Article IV says "Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof."

How does this work? For many years, when most states had tough divorce laws, people who wanted a divorce had to go to Nevada long enough to establish residency, and then get a divorce under Nevada's much easier law.

Then, when they returned to their home state, that Nevada divorce had to be recognized, even though such a divorce would never have been lawful under that state's own laws.

Congress has passed a law declaring that no state has to accept a gay marriage authorized in another state -- but this sort of declaration seems to me likely to be ruled as beyond the scope of what Article IV allows.

Congress can set a standard of proof, but it is hard to imagine the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Congress can simply negate the plain language of Article IV and declare that a marriage contract valid in California can be completely ignored in, say, North Carolina.

One can imagine litigation going on for years. Meanwhile, in state after state, by judicial fiat, gay marriages would be contracted and children adopted by gay couples until it would become nearly impossible to sort out the mess.

Worst Case Scenario ...

In California, if Proposition 8 fails to pass, gay-marriage proponents will claim that this constitutes public approval of gay marriage.

Of course this is not true. Many people who have telephoned people about Prop. 8 have heard the person who answers the phone say, "No gay marriage! I am voting no on Prop. 8!" But when you try to explain that if you don't want gay marriage, you have to vote yes on Prop. 8, they often get confused.

But let's step back a little. There should never have been a Proposition 8.

In order to make such a radical change in human behavior and custom, the proponents of gay marriage should have followed constitutional, democratic process and persuaded people to support it until a majority was achieved.

That's what the U.S. Constitution and every state constitution require. And that has not happened anywhere in the U.S.

What was the public emergency that made it so the New Puritans could not wait to persuade people to vote for what they wanted? The only emergency was that they knew that they could not do it. They knew democracy would not choose what they wanted.

Therefore small groups of dictators have simply taken it upon themselves to deny universal human practice and remake the law as they saw fit, without waiting for democratic process.

Their pretexts are laughable, their authority nonexistent. No constitution declares that any court has such a right.

So why is anyone obeying them? Because, in support of their illegal action, the courts can issue writs removing the power of any other state official to resist them. There is no institution that even knows how to begin resisting the illegal usurpation of power by the judicial branch.

No branch of government was ever intended to have the power to dictate new law without other branches of government having a chance to stop them or at least slow them down.

In essence, we have suffered a coup and lost our democracy. A minority is dictating new law against the will of the majority, and will spread it by force throughout the country by using the full-faith-and-credit clause.

This should terrify the proponents of gay marriage, because a process that right now seems to work for them could just as easily, and just as unfairly, be used against them. But they think only in the short term. They don't mind leaving democracy in a shambles and making the Constitution a joke, as long as they get their way on this issue.

As much as I think gay marriage is a terrible idea, grounded on neither science nor common sense, we should be even more concerned that our republic is in the process of ceasing to be in any meaningful sense a democracy.

Amending the Constitution

We need a constitutional amendment declaring that no court, federal or state, can strike down or alter any law passed by a legislative body except when it contradicts the plain language of the applicable constitution, as understood at the time of passage.

The unconstitutional usurpation of powers by the judges must be brought to an immediate stop.

But with Democrats in control of the Congress, there is no chance of getting that body to propose a constitutional amendment that will correct this gross abuse -- again, because they have only seen it used to enact their agenda. Short-sighted as they are, they will not oppose this judicial power until and unless it is used against them. Then, of course, they'll scream bloody murder and behave much more badly than the too-long complacent American moderates and conservatives.

What recourse, then, do we have?

1. Right now most states have majorities of voters who are opposed to gay marriage. Since Congress and the Supreme Court are unlikely to provide any remedy, the Constitution provides an alternative. Article V allows the legislatures of two-thirds of the states to call for a constitutional convention, and if they do, Congress is required to call that convention.

If the anti-gay-marriage majorities demanded that their state legislators vote to call such a convention, Congress could do nothing to stop it.

Such a convention can then propose amendments to the Constitution which, if ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states, would be as valid as any of the amendments originally passed by Congress.

Of course, once such a convention is called, it can propose any amendments it wants; and Article IV is silent on such matters as whether the states would get votes according to their size, or one vote per state.

And even if such a convention confined itself to undoing judicial dictatorship, we would still have to get three-fourths of the states to agree to repudiate authority which the courts were never given!

It should have taken a three-fourths majority to grant that right -- which would never have been granted, since no American majority would ever have agreed to throw away democracy and turn our government over to judges who think they're wiser than the common people.

Peaceful Noncompliance

2. The other recourse is this: We citizens do not have to recognize any attempt by any body of government to redefine a human relationship that existed for thousands of years before any existing government or constitution was established.

No judge, no legislature, no ruler has the right or power to change the meaning of a word. Languages are created by common consent. Governments did not create marriage, they merely regulated it -- requiring blood tests, refusing to grant legal status to marriages between persons too closely related, and deciding when or whether a marriage can be dissolved.

What they don't have the right to do is declare that "marriage" now includes relationships that were never intended when laws regulating marriage were enacted.

Nor do they have the power to force us to change our understanding of marriage. Regardless of what the government says, if we as individuals or communities refuse to accept anything except a heterosexual bond as a "marriage," we cannot be forced to change our mind, our language, or our social behavior.

But they will certainly try. Anyone who doesn't accept homosexual couplings as marriages will be called names and persecuted. Our children will be propagandized to accept "marriages" that we repudiate.

If we take our children to private schools, the state will refuse to certify any school that doesn't join in the propaganda.

If we take our children out of school to teach them at home, the state will declare home-schooling illegal -- there are movements already under way in several states to do exactly that.

Defying the Dictators

The New Puritans who are forcing this on us are dictators at heart, haters of democracy if it doesn't get the results they want. Isn't it ironic that most of them call themselves "Democrats" and call their opponents "fascists"? I guess "marriage" isn't the only word they've redefined.

(For instance, the Democratic Party leadership has openly talked of reinstating the so-called "fairness" doctrine exclusively against conservative talk radio, with the purpose of shutting it down. They hate freedom of speech for anyone who does not agree with them.)

The New Puritans will not rest until every scrap of resistance against them has been beaten down. We know this because this is how they already behave wherever they have power -- universities, news media, schools, and many other institutions already have shown us the mindless extremism of these New Puritans, and how relentlessly they deprive their opponents of their livelihood and reputation.

We saw in 2000 how eager the dictator-judges were to defy and destroy Florida election law in order to elect the U.S. president they preferred.

Meanwhile, any opposition to them is decried as bigotry, because, despite their track record of utter intolerance, the New Puritans claim to have a monopoly on tolerance!

Your ability to raise your children to believe in your religion is already under attack; the New Puritans are quite prepared to use force to take your children and propagandize them to believe the scientifically indefensible dogma that gay marriage is "just the same as" marriage.

What we must make clear is that we will never allow a dictatorship to define what marriages and families are. Those who have taken this dictatorial power have done so illegally and unconstitutionally; we do not have to obey dictators in America; the Constitution does not require it. Indeed, defending the Constitution requires us to repudiate would-be dictators.

Because of the actions of the dictator-judges, we are required to get three-fourths majorities to restore the Constitution, it is possible that despite the will of the majority, such efforts will fail. A radical minority unconstitutionally forced a new law on us; but they require us to meet the constitutional process in order to overturn their "law."

Unload that Gun

At that point, what can we do? I've heard frustrated people talk about armed rebellion, about overthrowing the government. Those of you with itchy trigger fingers, put away your guns. We are committed to democracy, not to violence.

Please read a history of the French Revolution. And then the Russian Revolution. Armed rebellion does not restore constitutional government, it most likely replaces one dictatorship with a worse one.

And while you're at it, read a history of the U.S. Civil War and decide if you think that's a good idea. I don't.

What we have to recognize is that Constitutional government has already been overthrown by judges who thought they were smarter and more righteous than us common people. Because the process was incremental, we have allowed it to go on, getting worse and worse, but it is not overthrowing the government to restore it.

They seized power in a nearly invisible coup, but seize it they did, and it's time for us to declare that we've seen their crime and refuse to accept it. As President Goerge H.W. Bush said after Iraq seized Kuwait in 1991, we must say, "This will not stand."

The way to restore the Constitution's requirement that only legislatures are allowed to legislate is simple and peaceful, though it requires more courage and unity than to try answer usurpation with force.

All we have to do is withdraw our support from the dictatorship.

Going on Strike

Conveniently, that portion of American society that supports the written Constitution, and that denies the power of government to redefine marriage, also provides the overwhelming majority of volunteers for the American military and for law enforcement and public safety.

What if Evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, orthodox Jews -- and people of any religion who believe in democracy and the Constitution -- all retired from the military or police, or refused to enlist or reenlist as long as they are going to be used to enforce the "laws" made up by dictators?

What if we ceased to put any marriage announcements, obituaries, or want-ads in papers that run "gay marriage" announcements, or even stopped buying those papers at all? The "mainstream" media would quickly discover that they aren't so mainstream after all.

What if we all kept our children at home and refused to allow them to go to propagandizing schools?

How long could our government function if we withdrew all our support?

What if only ten percent of us conducted such open resistance? Or even one percent? How long would the government retain even a shred of legitimacy in other citizens' eyes if they are dragging us off to jail or taking away our children because we have committed the crime of wanting to raise our them in our own religion, or wanting to be subject only to laws passed by Constitutional means?

Along the way, we would declare public strikes: Everyone who rejects judicial dictatorship simply stays home from work and spends no money, anywhere. The first time, for one day. The second time, for two. If people get fired, we will establish strike funds to help them keep going. But we also boycott anyone who fires a striker.

What we need to decide, right now, is that we will not be ruled by dictators, our children will not be propagandized by the New Puritans, and we will not allow any government to redefine marriage.

We have long been disunited and ineffective in our resistance to the encroachment of dictators. We have to decide, now, that they have finally gone too far, striking into the heart of our homes. We will try all the legal remedies available; but if we are unable to dislodge the dictators, we must, without violence of any kind, make it impossible to govern or defend this nation as long as the dictators claim and exercise these usurped powers.

Vote While We're Still Allowed To

Of course, all of this would be completely unnecessary if we were to elect a President and Congress that would appoint and confirm judges who did not usurp power, and who would pass laws denying any state court the right to redefine marriage.

But the media have helped Obama sell the lie that he is the moderate who can bring us together; in fact, Obama is the most radically leftist candidate ever to run as a major party nominee, and he has never shown the slightest willingness to compromise on anything. His judicial appointees would be committed dictator-judges, without exception.

We cannot do anything about whom the voters in the most liberal states choose to represent them in Congress. But we can make sure we choose pro-Constitution candidates in the states where we are the majority.

And we can vote for state legislators who are likely to be willing, when it becomes necessary, to go over the heads of Congress and vote for a constitutional convention to correct these abuses.

Two years of anti-democratic Democratic Party rule would make it clear that we have chosen the foxes to guard the chicken coop. If that should happen, then in 2010, we must try to make the calling of a constitutional convention the most important issue in every state legislative contest.

We can prevail in restoring Constitutional government to America -- if we have the courage to pay the price along the way.

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