Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Bring It On, Shrubby Boy

Word out of the White House is that the President may call for a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, in response to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling today. This is ridiculous on at least a few levels.

First of all, the MA SJC found that the Massachusetts constitution required equal marriage rights, not the United States constitution. And, while there is a pesky little thing called the supremacy clause, there is nothing in constitutional jurisprudence to suggest that a state may not enlarge whatever rights are provided for by the US constitution. It would be will within Massachusetts' rights to allow for a more expansive definition of marriage rights than the federal government.

The second problem is that there is a legitimate question as to whether such an amendment would even pass (maybe I should have put this point first). Support for gay marriage breaks down largely on age and geographic categories, and is not supported by a majority of Americans. However, opposition to equal marriage rights does not translate into support for amending the constitution.

And I think Rove and Co. ought to be smart enough not to make this a huge election year issue, because their libertarian supporters are not too keen on circumscribing individual or states' rights, both of which are implicated in this instance. The American people are more tolerant than some of the Bushies might give them credit for and do not take amending the constitution lightly. An open and honest debate about gay marriage is bound to produce more support for equality, as people begin to think about the myriad ways in which the lack of government recognition of gay and lesbian relationships affects them and their families. Trotting out the hackneyed arguments once used in support of anti-miscegenation laws and claims of man on dog sex will show just how out of touch with reality many Republicans are. So, Georgie Boy, bring it on!


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