George W. Bush and his hand-picked Senate lackey, Bill Frist, are once again demanding a vote on the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment. This support for permanently enshrining bigotry in the U.S. Constitution is yet another example -- as if we needed more -- of the cynical dishonesty that dominates the Republican Party today. The amendment itself is deceptively simple -- and intentionally so:
"Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."This language would not only prohibit same-gender marriages but could unravel civil union protections, as well. When you pull the white hoods off the co-sponsors of this amendment, you find 31 Senators -- all Republicans.
Everyone agrees that the proposed amendment will not gain the two-thirds majority required in both chambers of Congress. Yet, according to Bush and Frist, there is no higher priority confronting the nation today -- not the Iraq war, not dependence on foreign oil, not illegal wiretaps, not the economy. Vote for bigotry first and then we can move on to deal with the nation's business. President Bush went so far as to make this amendment the sole topic of his weekly radio address to the nation. To paraphrase his remarks: "We can't stop the terrorists, but we can stop the faggots from getting married. YeeHaw!"
Given that Senator Frist has no mind of his own, I am offering some text (see link) that he can easily edit for his floor speech in favor of "inequality forever." The original speech was given by John C. Calhoun in 1832 and was a rousing defense of the institution of slavery. Calhoun declared slavery a "positive good" in the same way that Bush and his band of bigots argue that denying people equality is somehow good for the country.
Not every supporter of this potential stain on the fabric of freedom has been willing to brag about it the way Bush and Frist have done. For example, the Republican majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee tried to hide the hearing in a small side room, rather than the regular hearing room. There was no written report of the hearing and it's not even listed on the Committee's official web site. In contrast, Sen. Russell Feingold -- who walked out of the temporary hearing room after registering his objections to this corrupt and dishonest process -- issued a press release in which he stated:
"The Constitution of the United States is an historic guarantee of individual freedom. It has served as a beacon of hope, an example to people around the world who yearn to be free and to live their lives without government interference in their most basic human decisions. I took an oath when I joined this body to support and defend the Constitution. I will continue to fight this mean-spirited, divisive, poorly drafted, and misguided amendment when it comes to the Senate floor."It looks like I've already got my candidate for president in 2008.