In his press conference last Wednesday, George W. Bush — among other things — proposed a constitutional ban on gay marriage. His attempt at assuaging the conservative right, however, has left many moderates shaking their heads in disbelief.
“I am mindful that we’re all sinners,” said our fearless leader. “And I caution those who may try to take the speck out of the neighbor’s eye when they’ve got a log in their own,” he said dredging up a biblical passage. But Dubya apparently thinks some sinners (read: homosexuals) are worse than others — and deserve a lot less marital constitutional protection. That’s why he’s going to “codify” the “sanctity of marriage.”
Many lawmakers on both sides of the fence are mind-boggled by Bush’s latest proposition that came after a flurry of uproar from the religious right. They argue that state court cases may trump an existing statutory law precluding gay marriage. But some lawmakers point out that the so-called “sanctity of marriage” has already been “codified” by former president Bill Clinton. Patrick Guerriero, president of Log Cabin Republicans (an organization that purports to create an inclusive Republican Party that stands for the principles of limited government, individual liberty, individual responsibility, free markets, and a strong national defense), argues that Bush’s proposal to codify marriage would merely be duplicating existing law:
“Log Cabin reminds the President that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), signed by President Clinton in 1996, defined marriage as being between only a man and a women. The bill passed Congress with bi-partisan support. There are far more important priorities facing our nation than duplicating existing federal legislation. We encourage the White House to focus on winning the war on terror and jump-starting the American economy.”
Also, as the San Francisco Chronicle’s Carolyn Lochhead, points out, gay activists warn that in putting his party “on the wrong side of long term trends,” Bush could alienate the moderate swing voters. His proposition, though it may score points with people like Pat Robertson, is not only a divergence from his earlier more “compassionate” campaign — but it could cost him the 2004 election, reports the Associated Press:
“Bush ran as a ‘compassionate conservative’ in 2000, and is still trying to bridge the gap between his conservative base and critical swing voters. Some advisers fear any hint of intolerance will alienate middle-of-the-road Americans. Recent polls have shown that just over half of Americans oppose gay marriage, and about four in 10 support it.”
Bush’s plan to ban gay marriage, though it sounds appealing to the religious right, is in sharp contrast to what his own lackey, Vice President Dick Cheney has to say on the issue, writes Lochhead:
“Just a few weeks ago, Bush questioned whether an amendment was necessary. The new White House position also contradicts the statements by Vice President Dick Cheney — whose lesbian daughter Mary stood with her partner on Bush’s inaugural stand — in the 2000 campaign.
Cheney said during a debate that marriage is strictly a state domain ‘and that’s appropriate… I think we ought to do everything we can to tolerate and accommodate whatever kind of relationships people want to enter into.'”
Marc Yeager, president of the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans, claims that the gay marriage ban would be an intrusion by the government into the life of individuals. According to the Southern Voice’s Ryan Lee, Yeager further opines that this type of intrusion runs against the idea of conservitism:
“‘This proposed amendment is ridiculous,’ Yeager said.
‘Typically conservatism is the limited role of government in individual lives, whereas liberalism, in my opinion, is government involvement in how society is built and evolves,’ Yeager said.
‘Religious fundamentalists are obviously feeling like they need to get a constitutional amendment to control or direct how American culture and society moves forward, and that flies in the face of what conservatism was based upon,’ he said.”