This is not a post I wanted to write.
You may have seen a headline (I forget where I saw that one) that Michigan just legalized homosexual "marriage." It's a lie.
No, dear reader, Michigan did nothing of the sort. A federal judge, District Judge Bernard Friedman, said that Michigan's voter-passed constitutional amendment stating that the state must recognize only one-man-one-woman pairings as marriage is unconstitutional. That's what some news agency chose to call Michigan's legalizing homosexual "marriage." (By the way, that constitutional amendment must have been another one of those evil effects of democracy...)
Now, I have very little to say about this federal abomination except that I'm glad that it appears that our state executive branch, unlike some others, is actually going to appeal the ruling. So obviously this is all going up to SCOTUS where its ultimate fate will depend on the state of Anthony Kennedy's and perhaps John Roberts's digestion during the relevant time period. But good for Attorney General Bill Schuette for fighting it.
In the meanwhile, however, I do have one thing to point out: The state's county clerks were briefly thrown into uncertainty because Friedman refused to stay his order pending appeal. That little oversight (yeah, right) was rectified late Saturday by the 6th Circuit Court. But of course it wasn't an oversight. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that Friedman wanted to make a window in which the more liberal county clerks could declare they were "following the law" by opening their doors on a Saturday to issue "marriage" licenses to homosexual couples. This creates facts on the ground, and those couples can then be used as news story fodder later, with their "marriages" referred to as actually existing entities that are (sniff, sniff) thrown into question by the cruel action of the Attorney General in appealing the decision.
And the stay is, for some reason, only good until Wednesday, and who knows what happens on Wednesday. Meanwhile, about four counties did indeed issue marriage licenses on Saturday. I'm guessing that they would not normally have been open on Saturday and were run by excited lefties who opened shop specially for the purposes. But they could claim they were "following the law" in doing so, even though no court order had been issued to them to issue marriage licenses. Because, you know, whatever thoughts a federal court happens to utter are "the law," and everyone must scurry to "follow" the spirit and the letter thereof.
Other counties, like Kent County, were more cautious. They simply didn't open their doors on Saturday, and now there is the stay to give them some direction for a few days.
This is not the rule of law. This is the rule of arbitrary diktat.
For decades conservatives who advocate a state's ignoring a federal court ruling have been told that their position is dangerous because such a position would cause a constitutional crisis. Well, let me point out: For a day or so here in Michigan, we had a constitutional crisis, and we may not be done with them. The law on the books said that homosexual couples are not recognized as married. But some judge gave his opinion that such an exclusion is unconstitutional. The executive branch of the state was still not recognizing homosexual "marriage" and was appealing the decision. The judge refused to stay any effect of his opinion. So the people who actually issue the marriage licenses had to lawyer up (that's what the Kent County clerk did) to find out what they were or weren't supposed to do. And then, oh relief, a higher set of oligarchs set the matter at rest for a few more days by issuing a temporary stay. Tune in for the next exciting installment in this drama.
"Obeying" court rulings in the name of the "rule of law" apparently means that the people at the grassroots level have to make stuff up. They are expected to use their creativity to rewrite their own job descriptions in line with what was apparently the desire and intent of the robed master who just told us his opinion that our state law is unconstitutional. That's real sweet if you happen to like his opinion, but it isn't the rule of law. Not even remotely. It's chaos.
So we might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb. I suggest that, whatever happens, counties (at least) refuse to issue such marriage licenses. Nobody gets arrested by the state unless there is some kind of protest involving trespassing or other crimes. Some of the clerks just don't issue the licenses. What are the feds going to do? Arrest them? I suppose at that point they could start issuing actual court orders to specific county clerks. So far they haven't bothered. And then send someone (federal marshals?) to arrest them for contempt of court if they refuse.
Yes, I know it's a fantasy. But let's not pretend: Let's not tell ourselves that what's going on now, where we scramble to figure out how best to kow-tow to a court's whims, is the rule of law.
On a related note: I had friends for dinner recently and one asked me, sadly, "Who is 'the brave'?" He was talking about our national anthem and the phrase "the home of the brave." I said, "Ken Miller is the brave" and told him the story. Perhaps an unlikely hero, but a real hero nonetheless. And by the way: Miller's friends have a fund-raiser going for his legal expenses. Feel free to head on over and contribute.