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Monday, July 12, 2004

Defeat the Federal Marriage Amendment 

Four months ago, I promised to write only one post on the subject of gay marriage. Apparently, I lied.

Walter Olsen has a batch of links to Republicans, including bona fide conservatives, who oppose this perversion of the United States Constitution. "George Will, Lynne Cheney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rudolph Giuliani, and Bob Barr are all on record opposing this wretched would-be Constitutional amendment, and they're right." Follow some of his links.

This cynical effort to amend the Constitution is mean-spirited, and morally indefensible. And it is making it almost impossible for those of us with gay friends -- or just a commitment to states rights -- to vote for Dubya this time.

That having been said, as I wrote in March, it is possible that the proposal and ultimate defeat of the FMA will do more to advance the cause of gay marriage than judicial activism alone can possibly accomplish:
[T]he pursuit -- and almost certain defeat -- of a constitutional amendment is a useful exercise. It is not that the proposed amendment isn't folly of the highest order -- I absolutely side with those who believe that this sort of prohibition does not belong in the United States Constitution. Rather, it is better that the issue be decided via the defeat of a constitutional amendment than by courts -- as in Massachussets -- or by defiant local officials, as in San Francisco, New Paltz, and any number of other liberal burgs. We learned in the years since Roe v. Wade that when courts bypass the democratic process to force acceptance of socially controversial matters it creates a political sore that will persist for a generation. If this issue is legislated away without the participation of legislatures, people will rage about gay marriage for a for a long time. If, however, we allow a vote on a constitutional amendment, the failure of that amendment -- and it will fail -- will be seen as tremendously legitimizing for gay marriage. There will then be some chance that people will accept gay marriage more readily than they accept a woman's decision to terminate a pregnancy.

None of this excuses those on the Christian right who will work hard for the passage of the FMA, but it is possible that this turmoil may eventually work to the advantage of gays and lesbians who want the right to marry.

1 Comments:

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