Some Massachusetts legislators are proposing a compromise constitutional amendment in response to the Supreme Judicial Court's rulings on gay marriage (or, as The Washington Times would put it, gay "marriage"): Instead of simply declaring that marriage is reserved for one man and one woman, it would explicitly allow civil unions as a consolation prize for homosexual couples. Naturally, everyone hates the idea.
"I've heard from people on the left that it's totally unacceptable and preposterous, and I've heard from people on the right that it's totally unacceptable and preposterous," says Republican Brian Lees, the Senate minority leader, who helped put the proposal together. "It very rarely happens that you get both the left and the right saying the same thing….When that has happened in my career, I know that I'm on the right track."
I'm not sure this is such a great rule of thumb. Left-right alliances can be instrumental in fighting government abuses in areas such as privacy, freedom of speech, even property rights (as with civil forfeiture reform). In any event, I think both sides may be right about this proposal: The definition of civil unions should be handled through ordinary legislation (assuming it's an appropriate task for government to begin with), and unequal treatment for gays and lesbians should not be embedded in the state constitution.