Thursday, June 08, 2006

On The Gay Marriage Ban

As you all know, the Senate rejected the Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage. I'm not for gay marriage, but I support civil unions, and I oppose the Amendment, because I feel that these issues should be left to the states. Besides federalism, there's also the fact that this amendment is unnecessary. The argument from conservatives is that activist judges have made this amendment necessary. That's their best argument, but it doesn't hold. Under current law, no state has to recognize another state's marriage. These issues, even the issues with the courts, can be worked out locally. Traditional marriage is all-important issue, but the threat has been greatly overblown, at least with regards to gay marriage.

The issue of politics is also important. Don't get me wrong, there are many Americans who really believe this a big deal, on both sides, and in many ways it is. As I've said, the role of marriage and the family are not small issues. Many believe, on moral and religious grounds, that homosexuality is wrong, and marriage ought to be between a man and a woman. These people aren't bigots, and it demeans them and the debate to say that they are. I do feel that many people are being misled for political and ideological purposes, and are being led to believe that the threat to marriage is greater than it is. Also, there are many other issues that are of a graver and more immediate threat.

It's also telling that this issue is being brought up now, right before an election, and the last time this issue was brought up was 2004, right before an election. Both times, supporters knew it wouldn't pass. Are there sincere players in this game? I'm sure there are. It's possible that for some this is a principled fool's errand, but this makes me wonder:

It takes two-thirds majorities in both houses of Congress to send a proposed amendment to the states for ratification. The House will take up the issue next month.

Despite the defeat, amendment backers insisted progress had been made because the debate over three days raised the issue's profile and will force candidates to answer for their votes on the campaign trail.

As I've said, these issues are all-important, which makes the politicking and pandering all the more sinister. 45 out of 50 states have statutes or amendments banning gay marriage. The majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage. However, the Constitution protects all Americans, and we ought not trample those protections, federalize marriage, and thus undermine the very principles were trying to protect, certainly not for politics.

But let's be civil-- condescension never wins arguments, on either side.

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