Alex's Outlook

Friday, February 27, 2004

Gay marriage amendment is the lesser of two evils 

I really do not understand the conservative objections to gay marriage. I think that it would strengthen the institution of marriage. I also think that homosexuality is a biological trait, and any sanction the law would give homosexuality is irrelevant as far as the number of gay relationships is concerned. It would increase the rewards of gay monogamy, which would significantly cut down on AIDS infection rates (homosexuals are an extremely polyamorous group). I think that the religious right's objection to it is nuts. The only thing going for the anti-gay-marriage amendment, from my perspective, is the message it would send to judges--that further legislating from the bench will get slapped down by a constitutional amendment if necessary. Unfortunately, since the amendment has no chance of passage, it will have the opposite effect. Judges will be emboldened by yet another victory. Policy-wise, this bill is a total loser.

Politically, Bush has to support a ban-gay-marriage amendment in order to retain the allegiance of our religious allies. It is their due, after all; the religious right has supported us neoliberals for a quarter century now, and rhetorical support is the least we can give them in return. Not that the amendment's going anywhere; it has a bare majority of the public's general support, and does not have the requisite two-thirds vote of Congress. Roe v. Wade had vastly more opposition, and 21 years later remains the law of the land. ERA had vastly more support, and was defeated. Amending the constitution just doesn't happen with 51-55 percent of the public's support. So, politically, Bush gets to fortify his base, and he won't pay much of a price in the short run. As time goes on, however, the Republicans will pay a price for this--the younger generation supports gay marriage; religious conservatives will become further demoralized by yet another Republican pledge not delivered upon; and, obviously, valuable, articulate Republicans who happen to be homosexuals (Andrew Sullivan) have bolted the party. I have a feeling that the Log Cabin Republicans' days are numbered...


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