Andrew Coyne: In the final analysis, the majority always rules

National Post

When the people of Ireland voted by referendum last month to legalize same-sex marriage, it set off an uncertain volley of celebration and unease. To be sure, enlightened thought was unanimous in saying, it was welcome news that gays and lesbians in Ireland would now have the same right as heterosexuals to marry. But surely there was something unsettling in the right of the minority being put to a vote of the majority. What if it had gone the other way?

A contrary view held that, if anything, it was better to have the rights of the minority upheld in this way, with the express consent of the majority, rather than, as the United States has just done, by a ruling of the Supreme Court. But both sides agreed there was a critical difference between the two: rights were either advanced by a vote of the majority or by a…

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