Making a Federal Case Out of It
I knew it was coming. I should have been prepared for it. I thought I was. It isn’t like I didn’t know how the President feels about the subject, and how he’s got pressure on him from the radical right to make some strong statements, and how the Republicans, one and all, seem to favor this travesty of law and the foundations of American justice.
But when, this morning, George W. Bush said, “Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society,” I realized with sudden and unexpected anger and sadness that the government that I pay taxes to, and which is supposed to represent me as an American citizen, and uphold my rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, thinks that I am a second-class citizen and should be denied a basic right and that the denial of that right should be written into the United States Constitution forever and ever, amen.
Well, fuck that.
More than 60 prominent scientists, including 20 Nobel prize winners and 19 winners of the National Medal of Science, denounced the Bush Administration for its systematic distortion of scientific facts for political gain.*
I find it difficult to put into words how I am feeling about this and I wonder if what I am about to write will be construed as biased, which it probably is given that I am one of those who will be discriminated against. I keep hearing friends say that they cannot imagine that this will pass, that people will come to their senses and that our elected officials will be thoughtful and rational and realize the larger ramifications of this amendment.
But I think about the 38 states that have already found it legal and necessary to write their own ‘defense of marriage’ laws into their state constitutions, and how many more are in the process of doing so, and how polls taken out there in middle America show that my fellow citizens are 2-to-1 in favor of banning same-sex marriage.
The Bush Administration began to back away from its predictions that the national economy, which has lost 2.5 million jobs since Bush took office, would add 2.6 million jobs this year. It was noted, not for the first time, that George W. Bush could be the first president since Herbert Hoover to end a term with fewer American jobs than when he started.*
The larger ramifications should be clear to everyone. The U.S. Constitution is the foundation of all laws in this country. It is the end-all, be-all of legal jurisprudence. The Supreme Court interprets how the various cases it hears fit into the Constitution’s set of laws. And today, this morning, the President of the United States has called on Congress to ratify an amendment to the Constitution to legalize the discrimination of one set of people based on who they are, not what they do, or the choices they make, or the laws they have broken.
Further, codifying marriage as a legal doctrine rather than a religious doctrine throws the separation of church and state into a quandary. Bush stated:
The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution, honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith. Ages of experience have taught humanity that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society.
An interesting statement, because it doesn’t say that commitment of any couple to love and serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society, but it implies that two men or two women cannot commit to the extent that it would benefit their children.
But I’m fairly certain that if they can stop us from getting married, they can stop us from being parents, too.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Marriage is and should be, by and large, a religious ceremony. However, marriage has, over the years, come to include several rights and capabilities conferred upon the legally wed couple that an individual on non-married but still committed couple cannot take advantage of. If marriage was purely religious in nature, its definition still would have no business being in the Constitution. But as it stands, denial of marriage is a denial of the rights that others may have. I have no intention of getting married, but I do not want my right to do so restricted.
For if I allow this, what rights do they strip from me next? Parenthood? Employment? Breathing?
The New York Times uncovered a White House report showing that the president is considering re-classifying low-paid fast food jobs as “manufacturing jobs” as a way to hide the massive manufacturing job losses that have occurred during his term. The president’s chief economic advisor stated, “When a fast-food restaurant sells a hamburger, for example, is it providing a ‘service’ or is it combining inputs to ‘manufacture’ a product?”*
The Democrats have been quick to come out
punchingstaggering, stating that this is a purely political move on the part of the President and that the Constitution “has often been amended to expand and protect people’s rights, never to take away or restrict their rights.” However, I have yet to read one of them coming out in favor of same-sex marriage. They’re all attacking Bush on his call to action, but none of them apparently feels that, in essence, there’s anything wrong with restricting marriage rights as long as it isn’t written into the Constitution.
I applaud them and their statements that they will work against the Amendment if and when it appears on the Senate floor, but I’d be happier and more relieved if I knew that some of them, or one of them, not only thinks this is a bad idea but that Equal Rights means Equal Rights and restricting them for some but not for all is not how this country works.
President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors decided to move the official start date of the last recession from the generally accepted March 2001 to the fourth quarter of 2000, when Bill Clinton was still president.*
The time has come to take a stand. We’ve gotten to this point, which I want to think of as an opportunity, because the American public has swallowed the bromides and assertions of the religious right that same-sex marriage will collapse society and abolish the foundations of the United States. Their assertions are specious, if not insane, but carefully worded in such a way that they manage to confuse the issue by defining it. I tip my hat to them for this feat of legerdemain, but I want to also point out that what they’re claiming is complete bullshit.
But it’s useless even debating the merits of their arguments, for there are none. In short, marriage is for making babies, only a man and a woman can make a baby, so even if a man and a woman get married and never plan on making a baby, the fact that they could make one overrides any other argument. And also? Okay, the argument that denying homosexuals the right to marry is akin to denying couples of different races (say, a Republican and a Democrat) the right to marry is, in their minds, not at all applicable because of the baby issue. Man, woman, baby. Man, man, fabulous window treatments. Not the same thing.
Health and Human Services officials admitted that a report on racial and ethnic disparities in health care was altered to make it seem more upbeat. “There was a mistake made,” said Secretary Tommy Thompson.*
So let’s vote the bastards out. In the past four years, what have they done so far to make America a better place to live: Ruin the environment? (Kyoto Treaty) Check. Help big business liars steal from their own employees and stockholders and get away with it? (Enron) Check. Reduce the number of employed and become the first administration since Hoover during the Depression to end the Presidency with fewer people employed than when you went in? Checkerooni. Get the United States into an illegal, unsanctioned war, alienate us from our former allies, lie to the American public and then lie about the lies? Check, check and double-check.
Use the Constitution as a format to legalize discrimination?
February 24, 2004