The Spectacle Blog
I don't see this opinion causing the kind of backlash that would single-handedly save the GOP at the polls, as Mickey Kaus has suggested a ruling in favor of gay marriage might; opposition to civil unions isn't nearly as broad as opposition to gay "marriage" by that name. (It's not hard to see why -- civil unions aren't a sacrament.) In granting marriage rights but leaving the semantics to the elected branches of New Jersey's government, the Court showed the sort of political savvy here that perhaps judges shouldn't have.
From a Zogby press release this afternoon:
Arab American Voters in MI, OH, FL and PA Give Dems Strong Nod in Key Races: Voting Bloc Stands to Play Pivotal Role in Tight Races.
Similar trends have recently been reported with the old "security moms" voting bloc.
Here's the ruling in Lewis v. Harris, as paraphrased in the Clerk's syllabus:
Denying committed same-sex couples the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose. The Court holds that under the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, committed samesex couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to samesex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.In other words, gay couples in New Jersey are entitled to more recognition than they now get under New Jersey's Domestic Partnership Act, indeed to every right that comes with straight marriage-- but the state is not compelled to refer to gay unions as "marriage."
At first blush, I think the Michael J. Fox ads on stem cell research scare people on the right. Here we have an actor who is very well liked and sympathetic in his plight making a call for political help.
Don't worry. I'm pretty sure this is going to end up helping the GOP quite a bit. Two related reasons:
1. The Democrats have so far succeeded by existing almost entirely as a protest to the Iraq war which has been costly and semi- (dare I say it?) quagmire-ish. Putting the stem cell issue out on the table is a stupid diversion from a good strategy. Instead of "We're not Bush," they are now saying, "And we want to start pushing the envelope on bio-ethical issues just like we have been on questions of sex."
It's a big reminder of the life issue and whether you believe it or not, that one is becoming a big loser for the left. Pro-life will eventually be what anti-racism became.
Not only that, Philip. Contra Ackerman, the case for democracy promotion is not limited to the narrow question of what kind of states directly sponsor terrorism. It also extends to the American interest in reform of the sorts of repressive political environments where radicalism is likely to arise.
By the way, it's quite odd that Ackerman thinks it's really signficant that Kaplan's piece doesn't contain the word "al-Qaeda." Kaplan's reference to democracies' "thin history of exporting terrorism" very obviously does allude to al-Qaeda and similar groups.
At TNR, Lawrence Kaplan argues that the Bush Doctrine of preemption, democracy promotion and unilateral action should survive beyond Iraq, prompting Tapped's Spencer Ackerman to criticize the "misdguided but deep belief, as Doug Feith later put it, that 'Terrorist organizations cannot be effective in sustaining themselves over long periods of time to do large-scale operations if they don't have support from states.'" As evidence that this belief is misguided, Ackerman writes: "al-Qaeda doesn't have
Michael J. Fox should not be above criticism for the controversial stem-stell research ad for Claire McCaskill, but criticism should focus on the fact that he was being misleading about the science and policy of stem cell research. I think Rush Limbaugh went too far by saying, without any evidence, that, "In this commercial, (Fox) is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking. And it's purely an act." Even if you were to argue that he didn't take his medication in advance of the ad (which we don't know), that still means that his natural state is to shake, and thus not "purely an act." I think one can acknowledge that someone is truly suffering while still arguing against an expansion of funding for stem cell research on moral grounds and questioning the soundness of the science of stem cell research. And certainly, on that front the ad is shameless by implying that Jim Talent is standing in the way of Michael J. Fox and millions of Americans getting cured.