Tuesday, February 24, 2004

President Bush has decided to make his opening campaign salvo, but it's not about his record. President Bush has decided to kill two birds with one stone, by taking his stand today he has launched himself into the contentious issue of gay marriage and fired his first shot in his campaign for re-election. Bush urged congress to pass an ammendment to ban gay marriage today after earlier hints that he would do so.
Rather than tout his record, the President has instead chosed to take a stand that will reassure his conservative backers and is garaunteed to irritate his opponents.
Using a constitutional ammendment to address this issue is, to say the least, excessive. The issue of marriage is complicated (legally) in that the individual states create their own definition of marriage, but it must be respected by other states. That's why people used to go all the way to Reno to get a divorce, they had the most lax rules about divorce. So while there is no federal definition of marriage, there is a federally backed endorsement of the marrital contract, the full faith and credit clause (article IV section 1).
Of course, you could make a basic argument that this is the ultimate example of the federal government inserting itself into people's lives. (The definition of "marriage" is a whole other discussion, marriage is what you do in a church, the marriage license is simply a legal contract between two parties. The amendment can't affect the church side of things, but it can mess with the legal issue. In other words, it can't prevent people from getting married, but it can deny you any legal rights based upon that marriage.) An ammendment barring gay marriage is an example of the federal government stepping into and directly affecting state-sanctioned contracts.
While moral traditionalists are excited by the prosepect, traditional conservatives should be climbing the walls.
This is nothing, of course, compared to the basic rediculousness of the whole idea.
There is absolutely no reason why gay marriages shouldn't be legal. Conservatives scream that it's a threat to the "institution" of marriage. My question is always, "Have you ever been divorced?"
If two people care about each other so much that they want to not only publicly announce it but make it legal, i'll be there throwing rice.

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