Don Feder Distorts More Facts
(Printed in the Towanda Daily Review on January 4, 1997.)

Don Feder seems to be seriously misinformed on several of the topics that he discusses. In his column (Review, July 9, 1996) about pornography on the internet, Feder used a discredited report by Martin Rimm as the basis for the article. Hoffman and Novak, among Rimm's severest critics, described the report as "cheap sensationalism, outrightly inaccurate, superficial, and incomplete" *. Feder wasn't alone though. Time also used the same report and presented an embarrassing (for them) and inaccurate cover story on July 3, 1995 about sex on the internet.

Time had an excuse. To beat the competition, they used the Rimm report prior to its review by knowledgeable peers. However, because Feder's column followed Time's cover story by eleven months, he should have known of the invalidity of the Rimm material and most likely deliberately chose to ignore the facts that would have invalidated his arguments. His December 21, 1996 column about same-sex marriage showed a similar pattern, but this time he ignored facts of law that have been available for two-hundred years.

Feder is obviously against homosexuals having any rights at all. He argued that the Hawaii decision that will soon legitimize same-sex marriages will "change the definition of a 4,000 year-old institution," and generally end civilization as we know it. He is shocked and outraged that Judge Chang ruled against the state because they had failed to show a compelling interest to deny the legality of these unions. He is distraught at a mere federal judge's "assault on the popular sovereignty."

Feder misses one important point -- the Constitution. Our Founding Fathers designed this country to protect the minority from the majority. We are a constitutional republic, not a democracy. Voters elect officials to represent them, however, these elected officials are bound by the Constitution of the United States. They may, and often do, pass laws that violate constitutional rights, or ignore rights violations of existing laws -- but only temporarily. Only until someone stands up for their rights.

Judge Chang reached the only logical conclusion available and effectively asked why had the state been denying this group of people their rights under the Constitution of Hawaii (NY Times, December 6, 1996). When Chang's decision is confirmed by the state Supreme Court, it will most likely proceed to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it will also be confirmed. Equal rights means exactly what it says, regardless of popular opinion.

Feder noted that "more than 100 organizations have signed on to an anti-judicial activism petition," to prevent "self government and liberty" from becoming "endangered species." Translated: Feder and his organizations want to determine who has what rights and change the intent of our Founders.

Personally, I'll take my chances with the current version of the Bill of Rights.

John L. Ferri

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