A Cautious Man
July 13, 2004
I Think I Got a Good Idea of the Game That You're Playing
I know that there are a lot of people who sincerely believe that same-sex marriage could harm traditional marriage. But, I'm not going to comment on that now. Instead, I've been intrigued by the cynical use of this issue by the President and his leading Senate supporters. Unfortunately for them, the game is not going exactly as planned:
But instead of a landmark debate, Republicans found themselves filibustering their own amendment to stop it from coming to the floor on Wednesday for a straight up-or-down vote -- out of fear that it might fail to get even 51 votes, much less the 67, or two-thirds majority, required to amend the Constitution. Republicans apparently were taken by surprise when Democrats, sensing a huge victory, offered to lift their own objections and proceed to direct consideration of the measure.Many on the Republican side were concerned that the Amendment, as proposed, could be read to prohibit measures other than marriage, such as "civil unions", so:
As many as a dozen Republicans, various aides and lobbyists said, might bolt from their party on the issue. Many Republicans have long been wary of federal intrusion on what has always been a state domain, believing an amendment would violate their basic principle of keeping the federal government out of state matters.
Seeking to lift their vote count among their rank-and-file, Republican leaders struggled to come up with alternative wording for the constitutional amendment that would reduce it to the first sentence of the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment by Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo.That would leave an amendment which simply states: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman." Now, remember that the whole point of this exercise is to keep the courts from allowing same-sex marriages. With so few words, how exactly would this statement affect marriage-like unions? Why, the courts will decide, after all! These folks are so eager to have a vote, that they don't even care that the end result could, essentially, be meaningless.
It seems that they may not even care whether there ever is an amendment. After all, the President and his Senate allies haven't advanced an amendment on abortion - because that does not serve their political interests. They get more mileage out of talking about the issue, without having to put Congress on the record. In the same way, the simple fact is that they are not proposing a Constitutional amendment because they believe that they can get it approved. They are doing this because they think it will help them defeat candidates who would support better health care, assistance for the poor and environmental protection. They also think it will help them defeat candidates who do not share their enthusiasm to rush to war ("pre-emptive" or not) instead of seeking other solutions.
In short, this has nothing to do with advancing anyone's "values" (traditional or otherwise). This is a strategem to attempt to hold on to power, pure and simple.