One Small Victory For Representative Democracy

Just a very quick note (I’m on vacation) about this week’s news out of Albany. I’m gratified by the result, which I support. I’m pleased that Senators of both parties were permitted by their leadership to vote their consciences. But I’m particularly pleased that New York will be one of the few states to decide this matter in the proper democratic fashion.

The history so far of same-sex marriage in the United States consists mostly (though not exclusively) of courts ordering legislatures to pass equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, and plebiscites decreeing that no such rights shall be extended. Neither is the way representative democracy is supposed to work, because neither the courts nor the people themselves adequately combine deliberation with accountability.

So I am especially gratified that legislators in my home state were manly enough to do their job and secure for New York’s citizens the equal rights and privileges they concluded the citizenry deserved, rather than punt to the courts or to the people themselves.

I’ll probably have more to say when I return from vacation. But for now, I’m kind of proud to be a New Yorker.