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Gay marriage amendment was not an acceptable solution

This past Wednesday, the proposed gay marriage amendment went down in flames in the Senate, falling shy of passage by twelve votes. Along with the majority of Democrats, six Republicans voted against it.

I’m relieved that the measure got defeated. We didn’t need to amend the Constitution to attempt to settle this decisive issue.

Now don’t get me wrong. I still think gay marriage is an assault on tradition and family values (if I may dare to use a phrase that inspires such strong cynicism). It’s a belittling of the social contract that binds society together. As has been made abundantly clear, these days, anything – anything – goes.

But two considerations were at the forefront of my thought on the amendment proposal:

The reactionary reaction

Although I believe ardently that Bush did not start this latest cultural battle, he chose a reactionary method in an attempt deal with it. A Constitutional amendment barring gay marriage was as much a sham as the prospect of gay marriage itself.

Solidifying the conservative base?

The anti-gay marriage amendment was Bush’s passion because he sought an issue to garner support from a bewildered and angst-ridden conservative base justifiably upset over his spendthrift ways, not to mention the anti-war faction of conservatives.

Now then … What does it say about said conservative base – and the GOP – to back the idea of amending the Constitution to fight what was, in large part and in due course, inevitable anyway? Conservatives who supported the proposed amendment either did not know or ignored history. Prohibition, anyone?

As surely as a Constitutional Amendment did not stop drinking or drunkenness during the early 20th century, the gay marriage amendment would not have halted the slide toward social anarchy. The problem, as Bush and conservatives have pointed out, is the power that federal judges arbitrarily wield. That being the issue at hand, why not just hand the whole mess over to the states to decide? And if state supreme court justices enact gay marriage, as in Massachusetts – the test case for this whole sorry debacle – let the battle for tradition be waged in those states in question.

Many conservatives were, quite rightly, reluctant to provide no basis for the states to settle the issue themselves. Even some Democrats – who mostly opposed the amendment for social standing among their liberal base – saw it that way in their opposition. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, for instance.

“In South Dakota, we’ve never had a single same sex marriage and we won’t have any,” he said. “It’s prohibited by South Dakota law as it is now in thirty-eight other states. There is no confusion. There is no ambiguity.” Though it pains me greatly to admit it, Daschle was absolutely correct when he opined that there was no “urgent need” for a constitutional amendment.

The amendment was reactionary spin which only stood to damage the image of conservatives and the Republican Party greatly more than it would ever enforce traditional values. Good riddance to it.

About Nightdragon

  • Eric Olsen

    For me the real issue is that the government does not need, nor is the place, to enforce traditional family values.

    I see nothing about gay marriage that violates traditional family values anyway.

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    “As surely as a Constitutional Amendment did not stop drinking or drunkenness during the early 20th century, the gay marriage amendment would not have halted the slide toward social anarchy.”

    Hyperbole much?

    Really, is the idea that two adults would want to formally and legally commit their lives to each other and possibly raise a family together a sign of social anarchy?

    Sounds pretty “family values” and “conservative” to me.

  • Distorted Angel

    Indeed, given the fact that straight people have done a pretty good job of dismantling the institution of marriage all by ourselves, I’m surprised that anyone else would want a piece of the pie.

    Seriously Mark, no one has yet explained to me how having more people committed to stable, long-term relationships weakens the family. In fact, one thing I often hear is the argument that gay marriage would devalue marriage as an institution. It seems to me that my husband and I are the only two people who could choose to devalue our marriage — it’s really not dependent on what other people do (otherwise, the divorce rate and the prevalence of people who otherwise disrespect and disregard their marriage vows would have rendered it worthless a long time ago).

    And social anarchy? Where? Most of the people I know are pretty busy leading productive lives that include going to work, paying their bills,taking care of their homes and raising their families. Some of them are even gay…

  • boomcrashbaby

    MEM says:
    I still think gay marriage is an assault on tradition and family values

    As tolerant straight people who often speak out on the topic say things like ‘how is my family threatened?’ point out, it is clearly the over-the-top language like ‘assault’ that has put us where we are today in regards to the amendment. Nobody can better illustrate the outdatedness of conservative ideology better than a conservative can.

    It’s a belittling of the social contract that binds society together.

    Where is this contract? Is it encased in glass in the Library of Congress?

    Although I believe ardently that Bush did not start this latest cultural battle, he chose a reactionary method in an attempt deal with it.

    Reminiscent of Iraq. And look where that got him in this country.

    A 200 million dollar ad campaign to promote one man and his beliefs, and not even all that money, the most in the history of American politics, could put that man above somebody people don’t seem to know anything about, in the polls.

    A Constitutional amendment barring gay marriage was as much a sham as the prospect of gay marriage itself.

    There’s nothing like sitting down with your family having breakfast and glancing over at your laptop to see how much of a sham everything you have built really is in the eyes of another. Especially one who continually tells you how much he ‘respects’ you. Helps the coffee to settle.

    What does it say about said conservative base – and the GOP – to back the idea of amending the Constitution to fight what was, in large part and in due course, inevitable anyway?

    That they are archaic.

    As surely as a Constitutional Amendment did not stop drinking or drunkenness during the early 20th century, the gay marriage amendment would not have halted the slide toward social anarchy.

    Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark,Greenland, Germany, Norway, Portugal (common law marriages), and Spain (taking effect in 2005), all have legal gay marriage. After visiting your website and seeing where you have been, I’d recommend visiting a few of these countries sometime to see what social anarchy is rampant there.

    The problem, as Bush and conservatives have pointed out, is the power that federal judges arbitrarily wield.

    It is a dangerous time we live in, when nobody realizes that a large base such as conservatives condemn the passage of equality as ‘activist judges with an agenda who must be stopped’. One thing is true, the very fabric of society, and all that America stands for, IS truly threatened. Just not in the way most people realize.

    The amendment was reactionary spin which only stood to damage the image of conservatives and the Republican Party greatly more than it would ever enforce traditional values.

    The irony of the whole ‘traditional value’ rhetoric is that conservatives who are against gay marriage continually blow the ‘what’s best for the children’ horn. A falsehood they continually espouse is that they need to pass this amendment to ensure that children grow up in a mom/dad household. However since gay people currently cannot get married, but currently already have millions of kids, and since artifical insemination and adoption are not even addressed in this amendment, and since this amendment does not address single parent households, this amendment does NOTHING to ensure that a child will be born into a family with a mom and a dad. ALL this amendment does is guarantee that the children of gay people will be treated as second class citizens. Thank God for the Democratic party and their adherance to the founding principles of America and their continual fight against the onslaught of a theocratic party who wishes to turn this country into a Christianized version of the Middle East and who has chosen gay people as their first outcasts. (Women are next. They don’t like what gay people do with our bodies, so they want to outcast us, then they don’t like women having a choice over their bodies either, of course they are next on the list). Nothing could be more Islamic fundamentalist than a conservative Republican who continually feeds you doublespeak.

    The irony of the whole thing is that, I am not a law-breaker. Being gay, or engaging in same-sex activity is not breaking the law. Yet at least one half of the country wants to punish a group of people who are not breaking the law. Nothing could be more facist and unAmerican than conservative values.

    And Mark, next time you comment on one of my posts, just drop the ‘you know I respect you Boom’ falsehood. As a proud gay man striving for equality and fair treatment for all families in this country, that is certainly not the kind of lip service that I respect. Even remotely.

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Justine: Please don’t censor this. I think you’ll agree that it doesn’t get personally insulting.

    Boom: “And Mark, next time you comment on one of my posts, just drop the ‘you know I respect you Boom’ falsehood.”

    Falsehood? I once spoke about how disgusted I was by people who beat you up and the cops who laughed at you for it. I was genuinely disgusted by it. What, I would say that sort of thing just for the hell of it?

    OK, I’ve got a social viewpoint that gives many gays second thoughts about associating with me. I feel it’s their loss, not mine. You find out how open-minded people really are when you hold an unpopular view. And, granted, perhaps it’s justified – I refuse to associate with neo-Nazis, for instance.

    But I am not a vicious homophobe; I don’t react kindly to the accusation and consider it flat-out libel. You are just another among many who’ve accussed me of the verbal equivalent to taking a baseball bat to you and your partner, and I don’t think it’s fair. I’m not whining, I simply don’t.

  • boomcrashbaby

    Falsehood? I once spoke about how disgusted I was by people who beat you up and the cops who laughed at you for it. I was genuinely disgusted by it.

    Yet perpetuate it by over-the-top inflaming rhetoric with the implication that my family and the acknowledgment that I have a daughter will destroy society. Then you post pics of yourself in Eastern countries where gay marriage is allowed but no such thing happens.

    OK, I’ve got a social viewpoint that gives many gays second thoughts about associating with me. I feel it’s their loss, not mine. You find out how open-minded people really are when you hold an unpopular view.

    What an odd concept. Stating that a gay person who isn’t receptive to the concept that his family will destroy society, is close-minded.

    And, granted, perhaps it’s justified

    Damn straight.

    But I am not a vicious homophobe; I don’t react kindly to the accusation and consider it flat-out libel.

    Point out in the previous post where I imply that you are the verbal equivalent of a homophobe. I seldom if ever use that term. To me, someone who wants to impose their religious values on a society is not a homophobe, but a facist and unAmerican. Anything else I can say would probably only be deleted so it isn’t worth my time.

    What is odd to me, yet I have to always live with, is the eternal condemnation of my family and the idea that it is not ‘personally’ insulting. And if I don’t tolerate it, then I am the one who is close minded. Okay then, call me close minded. Good day Mark.

  • rainbow

    No, MEM would never beat you physically with a baseball bat. [edited] His FMA opposition exists because it rightfully made rightwingers look bad, not because it would be an insurmountalbe obstacle to your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Oh, he really cares about and respects you, yes he does. What a peach.

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Good day to you too, Boom. Nice knowing you. If that’s how you want to leave it, fine with me.

    And as for you and Rainbow: how dare you. How dare you assume to speak for me, to know exactly what I think and feel?

    Well, excuse me, but only I and I alone know how I truly feel about gay people and it isn’t even close to what you two have taken the pompous liberty to assume. You don’t know me, don’t speak for me!

    But as you two follow in the finest traditions of Machievellian ideology, I’m hardly surprised.

    Man, I just love how I get accused of hyperbole and histrionics. Get real.

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Mark Edward Manning, I read the entire thread and no one has accused you of hyperbole and histrionics, though the entry is an exercise in melodrama. Instead, commenters have simply tried to supply facts missing from your entry.

    “Now don’t get me wrong. I still think gay marriage is an assault on tradition and family values (if I may dare to use a phrase that inspires such strong cynicism). It’s a belittling of the social contract that binds society together. As has been made abundantly clear, these days, anything – anything – goes.”

    “the slide toward social anarchy. . .”

    And so on. That is hyberbole and histrionics, or the two words don’t have any meaning.

    A straightforward account of opposing gay marriage that would be more direct about your biases against homosexuality would be a heck more readable and honest. What one reads here is a lengthy diatribe that substitutes catch phrases for directness. And, it serves no purpose to do that. Most people who read the entry will see through the scrim.

    [edited] this entry still needs a simple statement of why you believe gay marriage is such a great evil.

    I recently wrote a blog entry in which a far Right conservative like MEM is very straightforward about why she opposes gay marriage. You can read it here. I will transfer the entry to Blogcritics when I find time. Jane Chastain may come across as a person who lacks empathy for millions of Americans, but one has to credit her for her honesty.

    Meanwhile, a revisitation to how Congress came to be considering a constitutional amendment against gay marriage is in order. The planning behind this effort was as much Realpolitik as that behind the Southern Strategy, which it may be a part of. Let’s revisit “Gay unions are THE issue for Christian Right.” Make no mistake about it, the GOP is using gay marriage the same way it has used opposition to racial equality to foster divisiveness in society.

  • Dan

    Mark, I’m not sure about this, but something that you may be overlooking and is the reason for the drastic measure of a Constitutional amendment is called the ‘full faith and credit’ clause (I think) between the states. Basically it means that if a gay union is recognized by any one state, all other states must recognize it as well. Maybe Mac Diva or someone who is familiar with things Constitutional can shed light on it.

  • http://nightdragon.diaryland.com Mark Edward Manning

    Interesting point of fact, Dan, I will look into it … and one would have to be pretty damn far to the Left to accuse me of being far Right, witness MacDiva.

  • Shark

    If Bush had any balls and WASN’T an opportunistic hypocrite, he’d “protect the sanctity of marriage” by proposing a constitutional amendment that would make divorece illegal.

    ..Except that would apply to about 90% of the Senators and Congressional idiots of BOTH parties.

    Nevermind…

  • Don’t come thru the back door

    I think it is very interesting that so many states are now pondering restricting same sex rights. Hell we may even have a constitutional amendment before too long.

    Even liberal democrats oppose same sex marriages. In all of the states where the issue showed up on the ballot, it was soundly defeated by demos, repubs, christians, jews, muslims and just about everyone else you can think of.

    It’s not about ‘family values’….it’s against the laws of nature.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    What’s ironic, as comment 13 so perfectly points out, is that the Right goes on and on about gay people being obsessed with sex.

    But when gay people have kids and seek federal recognition of our families, it’s not about sex. For all anybody knows, we could be celibate. It’s about the recognition of the family unit.

    Then people like commenter 13 come along and remind us all who is obsessed with gay sex. They want to define the definition of family based on sexual activity. We don’t.

  • Don’t come thru the back door

    Not quite!

    The post is about the politics of same sex marriage and not about sexual activity. It’s only in your mind that the post is about homosexual sex.

    Btw, it’s not a right or left issue. In the states where the matter came up, it was soundly defeated by bush and kerry supporters alike. It seems to be one issue where everybody is able to come to an agreement.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/djradiohead DJRadiohead

    I think the Prohibition argument is quite lacking.

    In the case of Prohibition, the Constitution tried to forbid something that had been legal behavior for many, many years.

    In the case of same-sex marriage, a Constitutional ban would prohibit something that is still largely illegal (although that appears to be in the process of changing).

    I think history suggests once ‘Pandora’s Box’ is opened, it is difficult to close.

    I am not advocating an amendment or opposing it. I just took issue with the Prohibition example.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    The post is about the politics of same sex marriage and not about sexual activity. It’s only in your mind that the post is about homosexual sex.

    No, not in my mind. I’m not the one with a handle referencing anal sex. I’m not the one commenting about laws of nature, on a post about defining family.

    In the states where the matter came up, it was soundly defeated by bush and kerry supporters alike.

    Yes, I know. In regards to the right to marry, the majority of citizens, whether Republican or Democrat vote against equality, when equality and civil rights are allowed to be put to a vote.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    a Constitutional ban would prohibit something that is still largely illegal

    What is still largely illegal?

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/djradiohead DJRadiohead

    What is still largely illegal?
    I was referring to same-sex marriage as still being largely illegal. Perhaps not the most eloquent way to say it. But it is not legal in all states (not legal in most states, for that matter).

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    oh, I see, yes I’d agree marriage is illegal for my community right now. I can only say to that, that many laws get created that turn out to be unconstitutional. Just because something becomes a law doesn’t make it right.

    And if I’m correct, EVERY time the law against my community marrying has gone to court, it’s been found unconstitutional.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/djradiohead DJRadiohead

    Steve,
    If you re-read my initial post, I never waded into these waters intending to champion or oppose same-sex marriage. I was merely taking issue with one part of the original post.

    You are right… the presense or absence of a law has no bearing on the morality (or lack of) of an idea or issue. Right and wrong is what it is regardless of Constitutions or laws.

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    I never waded into these waters intending to champion or oppose same-sex marriage.

    I know DJ. I wasn’t debating, just adding my thoughts.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/djradiohead DJRadiohead

    Fair enough… it’s an important issue and everyone should weigh in- I just wanted to make sure we were understanding each other and I think we do.

  • http://www.kolehardfacts.blogspot.com Mike Kole

    Steve, I thank you kindly for your words in Comment 17, repeated below:

    “Yes, I know. In regards to the right to marry, the majority of citizens, whether Republican or Democrat vote against equality, when equality and civil rights are allowed to be put to a vote.”

    Quite so, quite so. The fatal flaw of any pure democracy. Hence, my advocacy for the constitutional republic, where rights are absolute.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Although I believe ardently that Bush did not start this latest cultural battle, he chose a reactionary method in an attempt deal with it. A Constitutional amendment barring gay marriage was as much a sham as the prospect of gay marriage itself.< <

    Reactionary? Rather brilliant, actually. Bush was just giving the loony right what it wanted - everything it wanted and letting it hang itself. It's perfect. By going to the extreme he guaranteed the issue would die a permanent, public death once and for all. He can go to the fundies and say 'look, i supported your amendment, what more could i do?' while at the same time having been sure all along that by going the most extreme route with the issue it was guaranteed to fail. Like I said, brilliant.

    Dave
    http://www.elitispig.com

  • http://adamantsun.blogspot.com Steve S

    Quite so, quite so. The fatal flaw of any pure democracy. Hence, my advocacy for the constitutional republic, where rights are absolute.

    Mike, I like the Libertarian philosophy when it comes to human rights. Less so when it tries to apply those human rights to corporations. That part terrifies me as much as right wingers.

    My own thought, and the future could prove me wrong, is that voting on rights isn’t a flaw of democracy, but rather things haven’t worked themselves out enough yet for the determination to be made that rights shouldn’t have been put to a vote in the first place.

    We have come very far, very fast in 40 years. Too fast for people like Mabel and Walter in the rural midwest to keep from getting dizzy.

  • http://notesfromnancy.blogspot.com NancyGail

    I, too, voted against ban. For this reason. I do not believe in amending the Constitution in order to prevent amending it. Go to my blog and read post entitled “I had to think” if you want to know where I stand. Always thought that marriage itself was beside the point. It was more of a wanting to have the same “rights” one gets upon getting married.