Exodus spokesman Randy Thomas must be at a loss for words about the marriages of gay and lesbian couples in San Francisco.

Judicial tyranny, activist judges…now judicial activist mayors?

Then he tosses in the topic of “checks and balances” and “left leaning politicians” with little explanation or foundation. (Left leaning? Mayor Gavin Newsom is what San Franciscans consider a centrist, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.)

Hobbled by a choice of antigay propaganda as his primary information source, Mr. Thomas’ misunderstandings and guesswork persist throughout his message.

I wonder if the state can punish him? If Mayor’s are allowed the judicial authority to interpret alleged policy conflicts…where does vigilante public policy end?

Mr. Thomas seems to think that mayors should take each one of the dozens of potential policy conflicts that arise every week to court. However, mayors, governors and other chief executives have always interpreted policy conflicts and acted on their own best judgment. If lawmakers or courts decide later to intervene, they can.

In San Francisco, neither interpretation nor judicial authority was an issue.

According to the Chronicle, the mayor — supported by other city officials — chose to commit civil disobedience after hearing President Bush threaten to write antigay discrimination into the U.S. Constitution.

Suddenly, the talk in gay circles is that if the Federal Marriage Amendment advances further, we will see similar and ongoing acts of civil disobedience — by elected public officials and by gay-friendly clergy — in cities across the nation.

Mr. Thomas passed over the opportunity to respectfully learn about some of the San Francisco couples who got married, before he ranted against them. Had he chosen civility instead of artillery, Mr. Thomas would have found many of the couples motivated to marry by their religious faith and by their belief in an America free from the “tyranny” of those who impose their religious restrictions upon everyone else. He would also have discovered some of them have children who deserve not to be treated like bastard kids by government officials. One in particular, Sharon Smith, married her new partner after missing the opportunity with her previous partner — who was mauled to death by the dog of a neighbor who, in subsequent court action, emerged as reckless and mean-spirited.

However muddled and uninformed his thinking may be, Mr. Thomas appears to believe that government should block and nullify marriages whenever a mob of voters or legislators disagrees with a couple’s religious beliefs or the choice of partner. And he is surprised when conscientious people rebel against that.

“When will vigilante public policy end?” Mr. Thomas asks.

I believe it will end when supporters of the antigay constitutional amendment stop practicing a kind of vigilantism that drives its targets to opposite extremes.

It will end, I hope, when people like Mr. Thomas join in affirming interfaith dialogue, compromise, and peaceful co-existence.

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