In his weakly radio address today, President Bush came out publicly in favor of the Marriage Protection Amendment, the text of which reads as follows:
â€œMarriage 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.â€?
The President asserted that â€œ[a]n amendment to the Constitution is necessary because activist courts have left our Nation with no other choice.â€? He argued that â€œ[g]overnment, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of allâ€? (excepting, apparently, gay and lesbian couples). Interestingly, Mr. Bush had little to say about how, in fact, marriage will be protected by such an amendment or what threat same-sex unions pose to the union of a man and a woman. Iâ€™m sure it makes sense in his head, though. (Perhaps itâ€™s another communiquÃ© from God.) Nonetheless, it is clearly inflammatory drivel intended to pander to the conservative base and mobilize voters who will give the GOP another two years of dominance in the Senate and the House. Hopefully, the electorate is a little wiser (and angrier) this time around.
With regard to the proposed Marriage Protection Amendment, there is historical precedent for Congress attempting to interfere in such matters:
In 1912, Congressman Seaborn Roddenberry of Georgia proposed a constitutional amendment that would have prohibited interracial marriage: â€œThat intermarriage between negroes or persons of color and Caucasians or any other character of persons within the United States or any territory under their jurisdiction, is forever prohibited; and the term â€˜negro or person of color,â€™ as here employed, shall be held to mean any and all persons of African descent or having any trace of African or negro blood.â€? (Congressional Record, 62nd Congress, 3rd session, Dec. 11, 1912. Vol 49, p. 502)
To be honest, I see little difference between Roddenberryâ€™s racist proposal and Bushâ€™s homophobic one. Both deserve relegation to the scrapheap of history.