The other day I heard a newscast referring to the passage of the gay marriage ban in California and the protests by those who opposed the ban and support gay marriage.
Now, this is not a post about the pros and cons of such a proposal, nor about gay marriage itself. It is, however, a post about the comment I heard referencing 'the tyranny of the majority to deny rights to the minority.'
Yes, that's what a gay marriage proponent said.
And then I thought about the smoking bans, because that's exactly what opponents of smoking bans said.
And they are right. The United States is not a democracy - we're a Republic, specifically because our founding fathers did NOT want the majority to be able to take away the rights of the minority by virtue of a vote.
You've heard the old joke about a democracy being two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner? The punch line is that a republic is when the sheep has a gun...
The problem comes in when the same people who think it's okay to ban smoking due to a majority vote oppose other bans via the same method - in this case, gay marriage.
Now some will argue that gay marriage doesn't impact anyone except the two individuals, so it's not the same as smoking. I disagree. If a bar/restaurant allows smoking, you do not have to go in if you don't want to be exposed to the smoke. It's the choice of the individual, so you are not impacted by someone else's decision to smoke. Likewise, gay marriage opponents will say it can impact others if such couples want to adopt a child. There are arguments on both sides of both issues that can be used as examples to indicate why these two issues are the same.
But the hypocrisy of saying one is a tyranny of the majority and cannot be allowed, while defending the tyranny of the majority on another issue needs to be pointed out and condemned.
You cannot have it both ways.
So if the vote for a smoking ban must be allowed, so must the vote for a gay marriage ban. And if the gay marriage ban is wrong, so is the smoking ban.
I don't care what your opinion on either issue is, but be consistent in the principle.