President Bush is spitting into the political wind with his call for the Senate to enact a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. The odds are almost nonexistent that proponents of this hateful measure will be able to muster the two-thirds support the Senate requires to send any constitutional amendment on to the 50 states for ratification or — as we and all decent people would recommend — rejection.
VAMPING FOR THE RIGHT: On the issue of same-sex marriage, Governor Mitt Romney is imitating President George Bush’s shameless pandering to the religious right.
It does not take a political genius to figure out what Bush is up to. With his favorability ratings at a dismal 37 percent, Bush is trying to rally the religious right in hopes of goosing his poll numbers. Even if he does enjoy a modest blip upward in the coming days, his essential problem — the war in Iraq — is not going to go away. It’s only going to get worse.
Bush’s move is so desperate that the resident White House authoritarian, Vice-President Dick Cheney, who has a lesbian daughter, doesn’t support it. And even Bush’s tremendously loyal wife, Laura, has put some distance between herself and her husband on this issue. But Bush can take solace in the fact that Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is on his side. Romney, who tricked this state’s voters into electing him by pretending to be a social moderate, is now prancing around the nation flashing his right-wing fangs in hopes of succeeding dishonest George. God knows, Romney has the requisite temperament.
Bush, taking a page out of Romney’s play book, recently took a swipe at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for deciding that it was not in keeping with the principles of the state constitution — the oldest, not only in the nation but in the world — to deny same-sex couples the same right to marry enjoyed by couples of different genders.
Bush called the Massachusetts justices who voted in favor of same-sex marriage “activists.” In the lexicon of the right wing, there is no dirtier word — except, perhaps, “terrorist.” Before the debate over same-sex marriages is resolved, there will undoubtedly come a time when those of us who support the right of gay men and lesbians to marry will be likened to those who flew aircraft into the World Trade Center.
There is, however, some truth to the charge of activism, as there is precedent. In 1777, activist Vermont voters wrote into their state constitution this nation’s first prohibition against slavery. And in 1781 activist Massachusetts judges declared that slavery was not compatible with the Declaration of Rights in the Massachusetts Constitution. So it should come as no surprise to sedentary conservatives that it was Vermont that first embraced the sensible concept of allowing gay couples civil unions, while the Massachusetts SJC ruled in favor of even more humane and equitable marriage rights.
As for the rest of the nation, it wasn’t until after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, in 1863, and the Civil War finally came to an end in 1865, that the 13th Amendment finally outlawed slavery in the United States.