My favorite part is this paragraph from Yahoo's article:
"The Republican leadership is asking us to spend time writing bigotry into the Constitution," said Sen. Edward Kennedy (news, bio, voting record) of Massachusetts, which legalized gay marriage in 2003. "A vote for it is a vote against civil unions, against domestic partnership, against all other efforts for states to treat gays and lesbians fairly under the law."
In response, Hatch fumed: "Does he really want to suggest that over half of the United States Senate is a crew of bigots?"
No Senator Hatch, I don't think he did. Nor do I think that half the U.S. Senate is a crew of bigots. Oh some of them certainly are, Rick Santorum among them, and probably their leader. But to be a bigot requires more sincerity than you see in Washington. This wasn't bigotry, this was presidential pandering to the only group he has left firmly on his side, namely the far right wing. Bush has lost the moderates, and even the generic conservatives aren't happy with him. The war is not uniting the country behind his leadership, and the growing flow of sleaze coming out of the Republican party, i.e. DeLay, Abramoff, Libby, et al, the spectacular fuckups in Iraq, i.e. Haditha, Hamandiya, Abu Ghirab, the growing unrest in Afghanistan, Katrina, etc., is making it really suck to be Dubya right now.
So what does a strong leader do? if you're him, you invoke the normally reliable spectre of "OMGTEHGAYS!!!" and you try to get everyone scared that the gays are going to get married, and settle down in stable relationships, buy houses together, and that somehow, this will just kill every other marriage.
This is what passes for pressing government issues in the Bush White House, and the far right of the Republican Party. Hell, even the Log Cabin Republicans, long the tokens of the Republican Party can't come up with any support for this idiocy:
The Log Cabin Republicans, a conservative gay rights group, said in a statement that the "Senate gave a resounding defeat to the voices of intolerance who are trying to use the Constitution as a political tool."
Even the Vice President's daughter, normally kept far, far away from such things called it correctly:
The lesbian daughter of US Vice President Dick Cheney has criticized the amendment as "discrimination."
Talking to Fox News Sunday last month, Mary Cheney, 37, said it was "a bad piece of legislation."
"It is writing discrimination into the constitution and, as I say, it is fundamentally wrong," she said.
Note that during the 2004 campaign, Cheney himself said he felt this issue was best handled by the states. So not even the brains behind the Bush is in favor of this.
This is nothing more than fear and pandering folks. It's not a pressing moral issue. First, no one has ever suggested that religious organizations be forced to recognize homosexual marriage. This is about the hundreds of benefits and legal support that marriage confers. Marriage is no longer a religious institution, it is a binding civil contract. There are thousands of weddings that have no religious overtones whatsoever, and they're every bit as legal as the ones that are done at high mass in a cathedral by a Cardinal. My first wedding was irreligious, and my next wedding will be too. My friends Shawn and Lesa King? They had a beautiful wedding, during Macworld Expo at the Great American Music Hall, presided over by Andy Ihnatko. It's as legal as legal can be. So let's put a knife in the "Marriage is a religious institution" concept. It was once, it is no longer, not in this country. If you choose to have a religious wedding, that's fantastic. I'm not dissing religion here. It can, and does provide great comfort and guidance to those who follow whatever religion they do, and if people want God involved in an obvious way, wonderful. But it's not a requirement for legal marriage. That insinuation is stupid, and more importantly wrong.
Bush and the other panderers say "Gay marriage is a threat to traditional marriage". Show me the data. We've only had one state that allows homosexual marriage, Massachusetts, and that for just barely over two years. There's no valid data over any kind of period that can even be vaguely called "long term" to support the idea that homosexual marriage causes heterosexual marriages to fail. It's kind of a bizarre idea...how does one marriage make another collapse? Again, this is pandering to fear of the unknown. The same arguments were used to support the laws against miscegenation in this country. They were bullshit then, they're bullshit now. Maybe in 2014 we'll have some real data, but until then, anyone claiming this has no proof whatsoever, and is at best ignorant, and at worst, lying to you in an attempt to use fear as a lever. If Bush fears homosexual marriage, great, but fear is not statistically valid. Ironically, what state had the lowest divorce rate inn 2003/2004? Massachusetts. What state had one of the highest? From the same article, Texas. Even better, there's considerable evidence showing that couples who are "very religious" have pretty much the same divorce rate as everyone else.
If Bush really wants to help preserve marriage, he should worry less about homosexuals, and more about people getting married too young. From Divorce Magazine, we see that as of 1995, the divorce rate for people married under the age of 20 is 40%. For those 25 and over, it drops to 24%. Considering how stupid most people under the age of 25 are, this makes a lot of sense. Immaturity seems to be much more of a threat to marriage than the sex of the participants.
To those who say, "We shouldn't protect a status that is a choice", I again say "Bullshit, we already do". Completely avoiding the entire issue of "Is one gay from birth or by choice", the simple fact is, we do protect rights based on choice. In fact, we do so in the First Amendment to the Constitution: Freedom of Religion. There is no "Christian gene" or "Muslim gene" or Jewish gene". If there were, then converting to another religion would be a rather biologically complex process. You choose your religion. Indeed, some sects, such as the Amish, require you to make an informed decision to fully participate in their belief structure. No getting in just 'cause your dad or your mom was Amish. So we have constitutionally enshrined, and through many US Supreme Court decisions supported, a fundamental right that is based only on tradition or conscious choice. Not a genetic trait or a biological feature. Choice. Nothing more.
But to further dismantle the whole "We shouldn't protect based on choice" idiocy, here's another one: The right of different races to intermarry. Again, this is based on choice, albeit somewhat unconscious. You aren't born with any gene that determines who your mate will be. There's no biological imperative that forces people from different races or ethnic backgrounds to marry. That's nothing but a choice. You can just as easily marry someone from within your race or ethnic background. So why did we create a right based on choice? Because it's wrong for the government to tell a legal adult which other legal adult they can marry. If it's okay for David Bowie to marry Iman, (and there ain't no one whiter or blacker than those two), then the justification for banning homosexual marriage because "It's a choice" dissolves rather quickly.
Our next set of arguments is a favorite of Sen. Santorum, and the more bigoted of his bunch:
If we allow gays to marry, then why not allow polygamy, or bestiality, or pedophilia?
Ah, not just bullshit, but a strawman to boot, a double penetration of ignorance and manipulation as only Santorum can say with a straight face. However, before we call out this set of stupidity, let's clarify something. This amendment has nothing to do with "gay" marriage. Sir Ian McKellan and Ellen DeGeneres could legally get married any time they chose. They're both gay as gay can be, gayer than a gay thing that's gay. Gay, gay, gaygayGAY. But they could legally marry, and there's not bubkis that Santorum and the rest can do about it, even though it would be a "gay" marriage. So then what's this about? In the strictest terms, homosexual marriage, i.e. where both participants are of the same sex. Sexual preference is not the issue here, but rather the actual sex of the individuals. So let's call this what it is: Sex discrimination. It is only illegal for two men or two women to get married in 49 states. Not a gay man and a gay woman getting married purely for convenience. That's legal.
So, now that we have correctly defined this, what about polygamy? Isn't that discrimination? Well no, not really, not in the legal sense, and that's the one that counts here. Current marriage law is a number: Two. No more than two participants. This number is applied absolutely blindly without regard to race, age, creed, color, religious background, or (ironically), sex. In almost every case where a limitation is applied in such a manner, it withstands challenges, because it is applied equally to all, and therefore doesn't violate the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Bestiality is such a non-starter that I'm surprised the Santorums are stupid enough to bring it up. In the U.S., non-humans are not able to consent to really, anything, so you cannot have a legal marriage between a human and a non-human in this country, as the non-human's agreement would have no legal standing. I'd love to see you get a voluntary agreement out of a nematode. That could be fun. In any event, to enter into a legally binding civil contract, which is what legal marriage is in the U.S., both participants have to be able to legally consent to the terms, and that leaves non-humans out.
Pedophilia's a fun one, and that's based not on the spectre of OMGTEHGAY, but rather current law, even outside of Massachusetts. From Marriage Laws in the USA - by Age (as of May 2003), (Note that the entry for Kansas is no longer correct, due to a little issue with a 22 year old guy from Nebraska marrying a fourteen year old girl. That's still a legal marriage. Whew, good thing that banning gay marriage prevents pedophilia)
Anyway, in general, to get married without parental consent in the US, you have to be 18, 19 in Nebraska, and 21 in Missisippi.
If the bride is pregnant, then some states drop this to 16 or 17.
With parental consent, the marryin' age can drop to as low as 14 (Alabama). Note that Alabama's a bit of a blip here, as was Kansas. Only ten states allow kids under 16 to marry at all, and in almost all of them, to get married under 16 requires not only parental consent, but the approval of a judge.
So, let's be real...right now, kids can get married in every state in the union, and in ten, pretty young kids can get married. So what's banning homosexual marriages going to prevent? Oh yeah, pedophilia. Well, that's pretty much limited to people under the age of 14, since folks 14 and older can get married, and once your married, the sex is legal. Great protection here. However, this is a strawman, because it's not like pedophiles are all wanting to marry their victims. That would kind of make it hard to not be known as a creepy old perv, since you're now announcing to the world that you're marrying a child. I don't know who's dumber, Santorum or our hypothetical pedophile.
Even worse for this argument is the definition of pedophilia. From the Mac OS X 10.4 dictionary, based on the Oxford American Dictionary:
sexual feelings directed toward children.
Pedophiliacs aren't wanting to marry kids, they want to molest kids, and that's already as illegal as illegal can be. There's few things more illegal in this country than pedophilia, and other than the NAMBLA prats, no one, gay or straight has any problems with this. So once again, it's a bullshit reason.
The only reason Bush is pushing this is because it's a hot button that gets people all excited, so they forget about other things that are vexing him, like Iraq, Valerie Plame, etc. It's pandering to fear of the other, and knee - jerk bigotry. It's a wish for the good old days when we could hate darkies, and kikes, and chinks, and injuns, and jews, 'cause now all we gots is fags, and we can't even lynch them anymore. It's a calculated manipulation of the American public to distract them from actual problems. To be blunt, Bush is pushing this because he thinks we're too damned dumb to figure it out.
It would be real cool to prove him wrong.