Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Now We Find Out

The Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court spoke to the 1999 annual convention of the Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association. In itself, that's no worse than any other bar association speech, except that now -- in the wake of the Court ruling there suddenly legalising gay marriage -- there are questions about whether the function was a fund-raiser, which is a problem for the justice as the Canons of her profession prohibit her doing that. In the hyper-charged hostile environment following that ruling, it's become cannon fire.

What she said then bears on her majority-creating vote, and her written decision for that majority:
Marshall was an associate justice at the time of the 1999 speech, which she used to praise her native South Africa's embrace of sexual orientation protections and the "growing body of gay-friendly international jurisprudence...."
The MLGBA claims it wasn't a fund-raiser at $60 a head, and critics haven't produced proof it was. And the battle goes on.

It still gets me, while we're on this subject, how you can't even do work on your house without a city engineer inspecting the work, you can't undertake any large public project without years of studies and commissions and regulatory investigation, and yet four justices can completely upend a whole society with a single ruling. Why is that?

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