The Federal Marriage Amendment. "It hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of passing." Or so I've heard. I'm not so sure. Read senator Orrin Hatch's article in The National Review.
Yesterday I sent e-mails to my senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, both of whom, I'm sure, will oppose it, but I thought I should voice my concerns anyway.
I understand and sympathize with those who feel tyrannized by "activist judges" since those very same "activist judges" are responsible for our current president. The constitution provides very clear guidance for situations where the election of a president is in doubt--the House of Representatives then elects the president. The Supreme Court sidestepped this article in an alarming display of judicial tyranny.
However, given the House as it was comprised in 2000, the same result would probably have occurred.
I'm ambivalent about the issue of gay marriage. I'm not a militant proponant--it's nothing I would choose for myself. However, I'm very worried about the FMA itself. First, it federalizes marriage. Now that should be something that worries traditional couples, too. What implications can that have? Second, it forever disenfranchises a class of American citizens. That should worry civil-libertarians and everyone else who believes in debate and compromise as a way of resolving conflict in our country.
But, what does the FMA hold for future generations? We've seen how the Supreme Court can narrowly construe a right to privacy which is not even explicit in the Constitution--what will future courts make of the FMA? Worst case scenario: It will be used to further disenfranchise gays and lesbians in our nation. It will be used to invalidate gay adoptions, same sex contracts of all kinds (as we've seen happen in the state of Virginia), it will invalidate wills, agreements, medical directives, and the like.
Most importantly for the future of our country it will create a state of "Constitutional Dissonance" (TM), where one article of the constitution opposes another. If the FMA were a law (it is, it's called DOMA), it would clearly be unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment which calls for equal protection under the law. What happens when one amendment establishes an opposition of principle to another amendment? My belief is that the end result is a morass that will permit judges more powers of interpretation than ever before. You can take that to the bank!