First a digression, but stick with me.
Gay marriage, voting and genocide are all important but every question considered must also consider the ability of the people discussing it to have an effect on the outcome of the issue. Sure, I'll agree that genocide is bad, but I don't get to vote on it or even on who gets to vote on it. Heck, I don't even get the right to sit in on the debate among the people who may implement it. Instutionalized marraige and voting machines are issues that I might have some tiny effect on.
My opinion on gay marraige? I don't think the state should care about it unless they are going to actually make marriage important legally as well. If the state (or any level of government) makes marriage a significant contract, with substantial penalties for breach of contract, then how they define marriage would suddenly become very important.
How about legislation saying that any marriage dissolved due to at fault actions proven to a court, with the right to a jury court, carries a mandatory fine of 20% of lifetime earnings from the time of the void of contract? Then I care a lot what the state defines marriage as.
If they are talking about rewarding marriage (via tax credits or whatever) we still need to do the same thing but nobody likes to admit greed so everybody talks about morals and rights instead. Once we have a standard for how important we as a voting citizenry feel marriage is in terms of MONEY and/or PRISON, then we can talk about how to limit it or protect it as a right.
The real issue with the court in NJ is that it (big emphasis on one judge) has attempted a legislation change disregarding the votes and preferences of a majority. This was not a call for an election, it was a mandate that the legislation make laws to do what the court, rather than the elected legislators, deemed the right thing to do.
Which comes back to the question of giving the electorial process to criminals. The real issue is that criminals who break the law, by virtue of bad decisions on how to incorporate the benefits of technology with handling voting results, have more potential control of elections than people following the law.
I think most people would agree that letting criminals control the outcomes of elections is a bad thing.
Full circle, why? Because the will of the people is supposed to rule in a democratic society. We who appreciate that goal don't like seeing the process demolished by a small group of people ignoring it and forcing their own preferences on all of the people against the will of the majority of the people. The judge in NJ and the stupid voting machine implementations both make it possible for a minority to force their will on the majority of the people.
These are only a couple of examples of ursurped rights, but I'll stick to the open topics.
One other thing I don't like to do is criticize without offering suggestions for improvement. Here are a couple:
- Make voting machines reliable. Publish every single vote, giving a number to each person when they finish voting as the only way to associate them directly with that vote. Let them decide whether to write it down, memorize it, forget it or whatever and print the results out on a receipt roll the voter can see but not access. Show a running count of voters at each polling station and make the numbers given be tied to the vote number. If election fraud is a concern, enough people will say that the published votes didn't match their intent and then go to the paper receipts to confirm.
- Make voting machines a publically determined policy. If we want to pay more to have our votes counted, then make it clear that is what we are doing. Let us make the decisions of which technology is approved and when. If we're going to be defrauded of our votes, give us the accountability for allowing it to happen.
- Ignore judges who mandate law. They never had that right, they don't have it now and we shouldn't be bending to their will when they want more control than they were given. Its only a check when the legislature makes the laws and the judges uphold them. If the judiciary madates the laws then it isn't balanced.
- Make marriage either mean something or not. If it doesn't mean anything then the state should get out of the business of rewarding it. If it does mean something then give it real importance and actually severely punish those who do harm to it.
- Power to the people! Let our votes mean something and be counted. If we want to vote to give equal rights to gay marriage, then so be it. If we want to limit it to one man and one woman, fine. If we want to make it between one man and one woman within two years of age, being within five inches in height, having the same eye color and only in agreement to acknowledge the FSM as the supreme ruler of the universe, let it be so. Let the people decide what is right and wrong as a voting majority.
Disclaimer: People are sometimes stupid, even large groups of voting people are sometimes stupid, but I cannot trust any person or group of people to be wiser than the majority of the people affected by their choices.