Readers React

Samuel Alito: Be careful what you wish for

To the editor: Right on cue, columnist Robin Abcarian proves Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s point: She is making fun of him for his view that redefining “marriage” is not a job for the Supreme Court. It is possible to applaud the outcome but condemn its source. ("In a bizarre dissent, Justice Alito predicts gays might seek revenge on straights," Column, June 27)

As the dissenting justices point out, issues such as changing what words mean in the context of what most view as a religious ceremony decided by nine unelected and lifetime-appointed judges should give all of us pause. Democracy is about incremental change and the power of majority opinion as developed by public discourse. It often works slowly, but it usually arrives in the right place over time with adequate public acceptance. While moving toward a broader definition of marriage, the existence of state bans on gay marriage showed that public discussion had not yet run its course. But now, the Supreme Court has simply put a legal end to it. Anyone who still wonders about it will be subject to ridicule like the columnist's just because five judges have said so.

This, of course, won't be the last time the Supreme Court dictates the end of public debate. But the next time might not be a result Abcarian likes, issued well before she is done wanting to write about it.

Jeffrey C. Briggs, Hollywood

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