A Marriage Between Cynicism and Futility

Good morning. With the war in Iraq heating up for summer, immigration policy in chaos, gas prices as high as they have ever been and the deficit soaring, the White House and Congress today are back at the same-sex marriage issue, trying gamely (some say lamely) to gin up support for an amendment to the Constitution that would declare that marriage under the laws of our land may only be between a man and a woman.

Is it because there is a great outcry across the land to "fix" this "problem" first before all of the others that plague us? Is it because same-sex marriage in Massachusetts has wrought chaos there or anywhere else? Of course not. It's because political leaders in Washington want to shore up their base heading into an off-year election campaign. But what's unusual about this latest push to change the Constitution is how transparently political it is and how little of a popular mandate there appears to be to get it done.

In a recent Gallop poll, for example, only 50 percent of respondents said they favored a change to the federal contstitution to ban same-sex marriage. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they do not favor a change. And on the list of priorities, a same-sex marriage ban wasn't even close to the top. And none of this even takes into account the legal headaches that a constitutional amendment might create. The amendment in question would immediately come under court challenge from supporters of same-sex marriage who argue that the Constitution should not be (and perhaps cannot be) changed to take away individual rights or liberties (as opposed to expanding such rights and liberties).

We should know soon if this is simply a three-day story that fizzles out with a Congressional vote short of the two-thirds majority needed to push along the measure or if it is more. My guess is the former, not the latter, and that would not be the worst thing in the world.

By  |  June 5, 2006; 9:00 AM ET
Previous: Awake and Alert | Next: Alito in Action

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



Let's see, Republicans trotted out immigration, now same-sex marriages, next will be a ban on partial-birth abortions, prayer in schools, education vouchers, and "conscience laws." Sounds like the "values" checklist is being trotted out just in time for the midterm elections. The items will all have disappeared by January 2007. But this is consistent with the way social conservatives think: It's more important to have a clear position on something than to achieve actual results.

Posted by: CT | June 5, 2006 02:15 PM

What universe does Andrew Cohen live in? He certainly doesn't live in this one, because this is the second time he's made the mindless, idiotic, and absurd contention that an amendment to the Constitution could be subject to court challenge. There is no universe in which that is possible. Except perhaps the one in which he lives, since it seems there he makes up the rules himself.

Posted by: | June 5, 2006 03:57 PM

What universe does Andrew Cohen live in? He certainly doesn't live in this one, because this is the second time he's made the mindless, idiotic, and absurd contention that an amendment to the Constitution could be subject to court challenge. There is no universe in which that is possible. Except perhaps the one in which he lives, since it seems there he makes up the rules himself.

Posted by: | June 5, 2006 03:57 PM

June, it's one thing to point out when someone makes a erroneous statement but it is quite another to be rude in the correction. Obviously, the idea of an amendment banning same sex marriage resonant with you. Just say it if it does. Gee.

Posted by: SteelWheel | June 5, 2006 05:35 PM

It saddens me to see the divide over gay marriage. Even the term gay marriage is an affront. Two people are willing to commit to each other, hopefully for an extended period of time. About half of all conventional marriages fail. When they stand side by side will anyone fail to notice that there is a man and a woman or two men or two women? Let it be a union for two people who wish to commit to each other. There is to much pain in this world, with out adding more.

Posted by: Pete VS | June 5, 2006 06:28 PM

The right to freely contract holds supreme importance. Some would limit the rights of members of other groups. Radical Islamic groups rely that others hold no rights. Social contract makes the next generation. If some prefer no participitation -- this is their right. If some prefer extended social participation -- this is their right. Religious societies form in support of these rights.

When (exactly) does the state enforce particular religious standards?

This is not separable!

Tom

Posted by: Thomas C. Inskip | June 5, 2006 10:00 PM

As I posted in another thread on this blog:

A friend of mine has a suggestion that merits consideration: Get the government completely out of the marriage business. Leave it to religion and contract law if people want to make arrangements with each other. Government -- on all levels -- could then deal with people as individuals, not artificially as couples, and couples could make whatever arrangements and agreements suit their circumstances.

Posted by: HerbS | June 6, 2006 11:40 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company