Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Inevitable, but Infuriating Nevertheless

By now everybody's undoubtedly heard that Bush has finally and officially come out in full support of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. How in the world do Republicans think they're on the correct side of this particular issue? Do they really and truly think that the test of time is going to prove them right? Likely not -- since political expediency seems to be the name of the game these days.

For a long time I was totally fine with homosexuals civil unions, but only on the condition that the State let go of the 'marriage' concept altogether. Which is to say, that all couples, hetero- or homo-, when wed, were officially considered a civil union; and that 'marriage' would be afforded its sanctified position outside the realm of simple legality (i.e., for instance, in a church, mosque, or any secular equivalent that one might wish). Realizing, of course, that this would never happen in America, because of its undying love of half-arsed theocracy, I quickly decided that the 'compromise' of letting homosexuals have civil unions, while heterosexuals have marriages, was a pretty egregious class system. All the same, I was willing to live with it, thinking that it might be a step in the right direction -- i.e., that when enough people see that (a) homosexuals can love their partners just as much, if not more, than any heterosexual can, or (b) that their congregations will not be legally required to wed homosexuals, the reason for the civil union / marriage distinction would be mooted entirely. With Bush tossing his hat into the fray, though, especially with this amendment being the one on the table, any hope of even a resigned compromise is out the window. Make no mistake, the Federal Marriage Amendment is a not-too-subtle offensive, and not simply a defense of marriage's so-called sanctity. (As is made pretty clear by Yale Law professor Jack Balkin.)

Whether the Democrats like it or not, this issue will not go away by November. My fear is that Kerry / Edwards / whomever will continue their mealymouthed support of civil unions, in hopes of holding the rabid Right at bay for a while, and in the process lose a vital percentage of their progressive-left vote (again) to this guy.

UPDATE: Thankully, there are a few people, like Nick Confessore, who, unlike me, may be able to see the forest for the trees in this whole mess. I hope he's right on this one.