Friday, June 02, 2006

The Federal Marriage Amendment

President Bush will promote a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on Monday, the eve of a scheduled Senate vote on the cause that is dear to his conservative backers. (CNN)

Nobody seriously believes it will pass. They can't even get 50 votes in the Senate and they need 67. So what's the point?

They're simply pandering to the Christian Right. They're willing to stand up and argue that we should enshrine discrimination into the Constitution just to shore up the base. You Republicans who oppose the Amendment (and most of you should) should be outraged and ashamed that your representatives are doing this in your name.

This is not some small issue that you can look the other way on, like the insipid Flag Burning Amendment or campaigning against violent video games. Those are pandering to essentially well-meaning people with perhaps misplaced priorities.

The Federal Marriage Amendment is not. It's pandering to the worst among us. Those who will turn out on voting day just to vote -- symbolically, mind you -- against the gays. Abortion, taxes, the war, terrorism, immigration -- none of these issues are enough to get these voters to the polls. (Remember, the purpose of the FMA is to bring out voters who otherwise would stay home.) Only the specter of big, bad, scary Gay Marriage will get them out.

When your grandchildren are your age, the failed Federal Marriage Amendment will be looked at the way we look at the proposed Anti-Miscegenation Amendment of 1912:

Intermarriage between negros or persons of color and Caucasians ... within the United States ... is forever prohibited.

What will you tell them when they ask you how you could have voted Republican? What will you say when gay marriage is as commonplace and accepted as Black-White intermarriage is today? Will you pretend that you always supported it or will you be like the older racists still alive today and continue to oppose it? Will your children and grandchildren wince when the subject comes up in your presence?


Laura said...

Whoops, that will teach me not to proof read...

A lot of people rationalize this ammendment as different from the 1912 anti-miscegination because they still think that homosexualtiy is a lifestyle choice. They say this is different because you can't choose your race, it's something you're born with - and they don't believe people are born gay.

Well, religion is a choice as well and we allow people the freedom to practice that as they will with no interference from the law. How is this different?

I still have yet to hear one compelling argument for how exactly gay marriage would destroy our society.

Sadie Lou said...

People need to understand that you CAN have it both ways. You can be in support of gay rights without condoning the sin of homosexuality.
It's the exact same thing as alcholics. Would we make an amendment against the marriage of two alcholics?

Jewish Atheist said...

Sadie, I'm just curious. What do you think of the Republicans in power for pushing the Amendment?

asher said...

To pass an amendment you need two thirds of the states voting for it. Maybe some of you remember how the ERA amendment bit the dust many years ago.

Since you are opposed to this amendment you obviously feel that homosexuals should marry. Would this include gay parents and their children and siblings? Hey, let's go all the way. 1st cousins, aunts and neices, uncles and nephews and brothers and sisters. And what if you about a threesome marriage? What's wrong with that? I'd like to hear anyone argue that this type of arrangement would be bad for society.

Yes, this is truly pandering to the evangelicals. However, no one seemed to have a problem with that when Jimmy (James) Carter told us all about his "born again" conversion and how he sinned in his heart many times.

dbackdad said...

Gays, guns and God. Frist and Bush and the Republicans are gearing up for the elections. Why should we worry about things like Iraq and Afghanistan, poverty, health-care,etc. when we have really important things to worry about like two consenting adults getting married? And Frist has been talking up the anti-flag burning bill. They really have their fingers on the pulse of the nation ... not. They have their fingers on the pulse of a scary, racist, homophobic, blindly nationalistic minority.

Laura said...

Asher: Gay marriage is different than the examples you cited because it involves two consenting adults who will not produce biological children of their own. We outlaw close family members from marrying because of the genetic problems that tend to occur when you don't diversify the gene pool.

Some societies encourage cousin marriage because it keeps assets and inheritence inside the family circle. In a fuedal society, this makes sense to do.

Marriage is about more than sex. It is about extending certain rights, including recongizing next of kin status, to a partner. My husband has the right to make medical decisions for me, to visit me in the hospital. My friend SecretRudy doesn't have that same right with his partner.

Also. If you're so concerned with the "sanctity" of marriage, why not promote an ammendment banning divorce? Right.. that wouldn't fly because that would affect everyone, not just some minority group you obviously don't give a damn about.

Wandering Coyote said...

Our right wing, Christian PM is opening this up to a parliamentary vote in the fall - and I am ticked off. I can only hope our opposition parties will come through for us.

I believe you are right, JA: Bush is pandering the Christian right, and I suspect Harper is doing the same up here.

asher said...

Nothing like name calling.

It's more interesting to note that the majority of americans are against gay marriage of any sort and that John Kerry was always against it (he never even went for the lame excuse "gay unions" as an alternative).

By any high estimate gay americans may constitute about 5% of the entire population. Since Jews make up about 2%, I think we ought to have an amendment banning any anti-semitic references in any and all media. I think there was a book written many years ago called the Tyranny of the's coming true.

Jer said...

Asher, up here in Canada we have legal gay marriage, and as yet, we have had no problems with people marrying their sisters/dogs/houseplants/etc...

And granting a minority population a right that they are currently denied based only on discrimination (we have yet to hear from you exactly how gay marriage will cause the downfall of society) hardly counts as a tyranny of the minority. I fail to see how gays marrying somehow tyrannizes you.

Laura said...


Aren't conservatives supposed to be for states' rights and all that government butting out of people's personal lives?

States already have the right to decide laws on marriage. Why do we need a FEDERAL ammendment when this is a legal decision that states have always had the right to decide on their own???

Why not take away all the states rights then and go to a strictly federal system whereby the federal government decides what is moral and right for all people? That's the direction this ammendment is taking us.

CyberKitten said...

You lot do live in a very strange country don't you? [chuckle].

Isn't there more important things going on ATM? I can think of about 10 off the top of my head...

asher said...

Just remember that state's rights invariably means a state court decision and not something anyone ever voted on.

Last I looked, we were referred to as the "United States".

In addition I bet this blog could come up with another 300 things that could be made legal that wouldn't bring about the downfall of society.

Yes gay marriage is legal in Canada.It only takes 6 months to get a MRI there, and some of your provinces require all signs to be in French and English BY LAW. I could make some other non-sequitor comparisons but Peter Jennings might stand as my best example.

Sadie Lou said...

Sadie, I'm just curious. What do you think of the Republicans in power for pushing the Amendment?

I think there are better amendments they could create and push.

Laura said...

Asher: Actually, states rights means the right of the state legislature (elected and voted for by the people) to pass laws regulating various economic, family, civil and criminal laws - not just court decisions. Sure the idea of states rights came from a court decision, but that's not what it's limited to.

So you think that without this ammendment people would apply to marry their dogs? Seriously? Then why hasn't anyone done that yet? THere's no specific law against it really. If that's your fear then how about a marriage ammendment that says marriage is legally recognized between two consenting human beings of sound mind and body? Problem solved.

Just because you think that homosexuality is some sort of immoral choice on the part of gays and lesbians doesn't mean that you have the right to inflict that view on everyone. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To some, those things mean the ability to have a legal union with the partner of their choice, giving them the hundreds of automatic rights enjoyed by every other married couple.

Laura said...

Just in case anyone cares, here is a good synopsis of the legal rights automatically awarded to married couples by the federal government. Duplicating these rights with individual legal actions on the part of each homosexual couple would take an enormous economic burden and an inordinate amount of time. And still some states could refuse to recognize them.

Read it, and tell me you think that two people who want to be life partners should be denied these rights. I mean, even Brittney Spears has these rights - and she's not what I'd hold up as a pillar of moral standards. We're going to deny these to normal, everyday people and give these rights to her??? Come on.

This is about human rights.

Kyaroko said...

Politicians: wasting time and tax dollars with stupid bullshit. Anything to take our attention away from the thousands dying in Iraq.

Pope: still Catholic.