I want to quote from PZ Myers blog entry today:
“…neither should the civil rights of a minority be placed at the whim of a majority.”
This is an excellent point that cuts at the very heart of our civil society.
I believe that we need to acknowledge that all human and civil rights are by default legal until created otherwise by a constitutional amendment. The government would need to prove a vested public safety or security interest in attempting to pass such an amendment. Such an amendment would then have to be ratified per the current constitutional process. This will provide the highest possible protection for individual rights.
This will also force the supporters of intolerance to publicly acknowledge and support their bigotry and hatred. They will need to come out and openly proclaim their reasons for wanting to strip a group of people of their rights. They will have to put their hatred on display for everyone to see. Most importantly, they will have to prove that these said rights constitute a clear and unequivocal public danger.
We shouldn’t have to try to pass amendments to protect the rights of a group of people or individuals, these rights should be taken as given until and unless the vast majority of society deems one of these rights to be a proven danger to the public. Considering just how difficult it is to pass a constitutional amendment (look up the fight over the Equal Rights Amendment for an example), this will ensure the best possible protection of each of our personal inalienable rights.