2.18.2004

POLITICS - Steady Leadership?

Conservatives claim that Kerry doesn't stand firm on his issues....

... So what do they have to say about George Bush's firm commitment to do nothing about gay marriage? This guy sounds like a broken record on this issue. Yes, he doesn't like homosexuals. But it's time for him to shit or get off the toilet, so to speak.

From the AP
Bush 'Troubled' by Gay Marriage Issue By SCOTT LINDLAW

President Bush said Wednesday he was "troubled" by gay weddings in San Francisco and by legal decisions in Massachusetts that could clear the way for same-sex marriage. But he declined to say whether he is any closer to backing a constitutional ban on such vows.

"I have watched carefully what's happening in San Francisco, where licenses were being issued, even though the law states otherwise," Bush said. "I have consistently stated that I'll support law to protect marriage between a man and a woman. Obviously these events are influencing my decision."

Yes, Georgie, obviously current socio-political events influence your decisions. Thank you for stating the obvious. I'm surprise that you couldn't fit in the words "madman", "dangerous", or "Since 9/11..."
"People need to be involved in this decision," Bush said. "Marriage ought to be defined by the people not by the courts. And I'm watching it carefully."

Yes, it's those damned activist judges ruining the American way of life. I agree. Activist judges certainly skewed the political process in 2000. It's too bad that election was defined by the courts, not by the people, right? Oh, I forgot. Liberal judges are activists, while Conservative judges are constitutional defenders.

What's worse for Bush? The fact that a majority of the people will not ratify the Muskgrave Amendment. So Bush is caught in between appearing foolish or appearing weak on issues. In other words, he can introduce the Constitutional Amendment to appease the Religious Right, but find himself eviscerated in the press for attempting to alter the Constitution with a very weak Amendment that has little chance of success. Or he can wisely ignore the Religious Right and attempt to unite Americans, which would be a perceived reversal of his initial platform. Judging from history, it's very unlikely that Bush will attempt to unite Americans over this issue.

I have to admit that I am surprised by the events of the past few weeks. Gay marriage has always been an equal-rights issue, but the public debate has been framed around morality. The tide appears to be turning now that the public is examining the critical issues of civil rights and couple benefits. I've heard/read several heterosexual commentators (conservatives and liberals) claim that they will have their marriages annulled and file for civil unions in order to show support to same sex couples. When my poli-sci class discussed gay marriage two years ago, a clear majority of the conservatives acknowledged that there is no legal reason to deny marriage to same-sex couples. While I try to avoid the use of personal testimonials in my posts, I would point out that I attended college in the heart of Texas. These people clearly condemn homosexuals, but they acknowledged that their morality should not dictate equal rights policies. This was a surprise to me at the time, but my conversations with other conservatives (outside of the class) seemed to confirm this view. I only mention my personal experience, because Prof. Glenn Reynolds shares one of his:
At the beginning of class I asked for a show of hands on whether gay marriage would be generally available within ten years. The answer, almost unanimously, was "yes."

I don't know how valuable this is as a predictor of what will happen, but it's an interesting indication of what people think will happen.

That seems like a big deal to me, especially since the response came from a Constitutional Law class. Equality is inevitable in a true democracy, and God damn anybody who stands in the way.

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