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By Tim Hunt

Personal opinion takes precedence over duty

Uploaded: Jul 4, 2013

Pardon me, but this 4th of July missive will be substantive instead of celebratory.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued several significant rulings in the final two weeks of its term, but the overturning of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 (marriage is between a man and a woman) in California, deservedly received lots of media coverage here.
What's remarkable to me is how few reports and commentaries on Prop. 8 get to the heart of the issue. The court did not rule on the validity of the proposition that was placed on the ballot through the initiative process by citizens. Instead, it ruled on what amounted to a technicality—did the proponents of Prop. 8 have "legal standing" to pursue the defense. The court decided they did not and thus the ruling by the first federal judge that was upheld by the 9th Circuit held.
The entity that had standing was the state of California. Its citizens approved the proposition in the same election that President Obama was elected in 2008—an overwhelming turnout by Democrats and young people. The proposition that marriage was defined as between one man and one woman won with about 52 percent of the vote.
The "out" for the Supreme Court came when Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris decided not to defend the will of the people of California.
To my mind, both of them violated their oath of office to defend the state constitution and instead let their personal views over-ride their responsibility as elected officials.
It was shameful and it is too bad that they were allowed to ignore their duty because of their political preference. Of course, President Obama made the same decision about the federal law that Bill Clinton signed 17 years ago when he was in the office—Obama declined to have the feds defend the law of the land because he disagreed with it.
Do you want a further example of what's wrong with government?
Check out the statement by Kathleen Sebelius, federal secretary of health and human services, when she and the Obama administration ran roughshod over the Catholic Church and its related charities (universities, hospitals, St. Vincent DePaul Society). Obamacare mandates coverage of birth control and the morning-after pill regardless of the moral beliefs of the employers.
Her statement said, "The health care law guarantees millions of women access to recommended preventative services at no cost."
Really. Somebody is going to pay—doctors and drug companies are not giving away their services and products.
It is an attitude that is prevalent in the current administration that the government can mandate programs and nobody has to pay the cost.