George Bush is going after gay marriage again. While it is clear to everyone that this is a last ditch attempt to curry some small bit of favor with the Republican party that he has tainted with his antediluvian policies by mobilizing the most intractable of his fundamentalist base for the midterm elections, it is still a little hard to believe that it is okay in the 21st century to run on a platform of discrimination and bigotry. It is even more ludicrous that people who respond positively to this kind of hate-mongering are referred to as "Values Voters." Let's put this very simply. If you favor an amendment banning gay marriage, you are a bigot. Period. There are three "explanations" for why a gay marriage amendment is necessary (and by the way, did you notice it's always Republicans who feel the need to screw around with the constitution since "activist judges" have an annoying habit of ruling according to its principles? Yeah, so have I.) each explanation more contrived and embarrassing than the next. They are: 1. Marriage is a cultural institution and we cannot allow our oldest cultural institutions to be tampered with. 2. Allowing gay marriage will be a gateway to unrestricted marriage and render the institution meaningless. 3. Gay marriage is undermining the sanctity of marriage and endangering marriages that already exist. I'd like to look at each of these in turn.
Marriage as a cultural institution must not be tampered with. This is Bush's favorite because it's the kind of vague doublespeak that has no meaning and therefore doesn't really need to be defended. Or does it? Here are a few other American cultural institutions with rich histories that politicians and judges did not want tampered with at the time:
Slavery (Jefferson had them!)
Whites-only country clubs (Chief Justice Rehnquist was a proud member!)
The Ku Klux Klan (Harry Truman and virtually any politician who wanted to get elected in the south!)
Gateway to unrestricted marriage. A lot of these right wing tv/radio garbage spewers offer this compelling argument. "If we allow gay marriage, pretty soon you're going to have men marrying fish! Women marrying bicycles!" Now, I'm as aware as the next guy of the rash of marriage crazed piscophiles waiting for the flood gates to open so they can become man and trout and flip off the world, but am I the only one that finds comparing homosexuals to fish more than a little offensive? I'm pretty convinced that the only reason these people understand that an amendment against whites marrying blacks is wrong is because they have the benefit of history telling them so. What would the reaction be if Bill O'Reilly came on TV and said something like "Whites marrying blacks! If we allow that, you'll have white men marrying monkeys in a heartbeat! Women living in sin with watermelons!" I suspect he wouldn't get away with it (although Ann Coulter probably would), but is it really any different?
Gay marriage threatens to undermine good marriages that already exist.This is a great example of right wingers taking pleasure in ruining the lives of people and somehow thinking they have saved their own way of life, even though they will never come into contact with these people. If your marriage can't withstand two people you don't know who live a thousand miles away and will never meet you also being married, you probably shouldn't have gotten married in the first place. The reality though, is that neither Bush nor his cronies are concerned one whit about undermining marriages. Do you disagree? Let me know when that amendment banning adultery hits the Senate floor, because I'm fairly confident no one can argue that THAT doesn't threaten to undermine marriages.
Now, I'm pretty sure I'm preaching to the choir about this, but I feel better anyway. If your ire has been raised, and you have more time to waste, check out Impeachteam.com. They'll ask you for votes and money, but you can ignore all that and send out a one-click asking all your local elected officials to impeach Bush. It won't happen, but it's the thought that counts.