Great letter in the Hampshire Gazette:
Last Friday I was listening to the radio when I heard someone complaining that the court had overstepped its bounds , making social policy against the better judgement of the citizenry and subverting the legislature. I assumed at first that this was the now familiar lament of those who disagree with the SJC ruling on civil marriage for gay citizens. However, it turned out to be a voice from 1953 reacting against the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, a major milestone in the still ongoing fight for civil rights for African American people.
Martin Luther King wrote ” it is an historical fact that privileged groups rarely give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture, but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals” For this reason civil rights have historically been ensured first by the courts, and only later accepted by society at large. The courts’ mission, to make sure that constitutions are upheld, is different from that of the Legislature, which must, as an elected body, reflect the popular view.
Just as Brown v. Board of Education has come to seem like an obvious truth, so shall the SJC decision granting gay and lesbian people equality in the realm of civil marriage. We can only hope this happens sooner rather than later.