Gay Marriage #2

I can’t believe I’m writing a second paper about this topic. It just isn’t that important one way or the other to me (and to lots of other folks either), but the politicians have managed to make it an issue. The latest is Mr. Bush has come out in favor of a constitutional amendment to bar same-sex marriage.

It should be pretty obvious that the odds of this amendment actually making it into the constitution are pretty slim. The proposal is simply red meat being thrown to Bush’s conservative base, keeping them interested in going to the polls in November. Clinton played politics pretty cravenly, but Bush has got him beat.

The reason given for the necessity of the amendment is “to protect marriage”. C’mon folks, how does two gays getting married threaten all the religious and civil traditions surrounding “straight” marriage? Getting married too quickly and too easily are bigger threats, as are the large number of families that are bound by no marriage at all. For those people who care about traditional marriages, they will always be available; the bigger problem is the growing number of people who don’t care about traditional marriage. Gays who want to get married do care, and are not part of that larger threat.

It is true, however, that the entire current to-do was started by some activist judges. With no legal mandate at all, they decided to allow same-sex marriages. So in one regard, Mr. Bush is just reacting to them. Still, he is using the issue for political purposes (if most Americans favored same-sex marriage, do you really think he would have come out so strongly against it?), and this is deplorable. Even the statement that 60% of Americans don’t like same-sex marriages does not mean that 60% of Americans want to prohibit them. I don’t know what percentage of Americans would want to (at the point of a gun, after all) prohibit same-sex marriages, or even some lesser form of marriage, like civil unions.

As I wrote before, I favor some sort of legal protections for gay couples, but I’m not sure what form they ought to take.

March 17, 2004

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