Friday, July 9, 2004

Love & Marriage

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!


stwill61 said...

Here I am, about to make a comment or two which will forever preclude me from being a Republican candidate for anything.

And perhaps for holding office in my church denomination.  Too bad I'm president of my congregation already.  (Come on, impeach me!)

Gay marriage is an inevitability.  There are two paths to it:

1) FMA fails to pass.  The current reactionary bent of the ruling party wanes as their power does, and life progresses apace.  Moderation and tolerance and basic American decency just let it happen.

2) FMA passes.  The Radical Right celebrates, finally causing the Sleeping Majority to rise up and say "enough."  And, like the Reactionary Prohibition Amendment, FMA gets repealed.  Not before it gets us into even more trouble by trampling on the rights of, for example, unmarried heterosexual couples.  But it would be repealed.

The point here is that the principles on which our nation was founded will require that the minority be protected.  These principles are ingrained in Americans from such a young age that it's impossible to imagine FMA passing, let alone surviving.

Which is, by the way, why the U.S.A. is so great.  While there are some nations in the world which are more "liberal" the vast majority of the population of the Earth does not live in them.  China?  India?  Russia?  Any Arab country?  Get real.

hackermc said...

I hope the FMA will go the same way as the Flag desecration amendment during the first Bush administration; i.e., die away as a narrow, fringe concept the vast majority of people can't really get too worked up over.

Also, I think most Americans see through the rhetoric of such draconian assaults on freedom as wedge issues--the aim being not a resolution of issues themselves (although that would be fine by the R-W, too), but as methods to cast aspersions on the other side of the aisle.  

The Republicans have historically been very good at this ever since Lee Atwater, who really fathered pit bull politics in this country.  His second-generation clone is Karl Rove, as we all know.  The danger with the Democrats, is that they cave in.  As Michael Moore so aptly states in F-9/11, "the Democrats 'accept'; even when they win, they lose."  Denial, it appears, gets more votes.