Monday, October 24, 2005

Toying with the Constitution

Just when we asked what the jackals would do in defeat, the Lowell Sun offers us some clues. Their Evan Lehmann in D.C. reports a renewed effort by the most regressive Congressional conservatives to amend the U.S. Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage.

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

Cynics will quickly point out that Kansas Senator Sam Brownback is considering a run for POTUS. His playing to anti-gay and anti-same-sex-marriage emotions and thoughts might be sincere, or more likely is effort to line up support. Regardless of whether this amendment goes though the years of trekking to become part of the Constitution, he gets to claim ownership and gain visibility.

As Georgetown University Law Professor Louis Michael Seidman commented last year in a panel discussion, "My fear is that even that the people who proposed the amendment don't intend it to pass, and that the amendment process is being used for political purposes that have nothing to do with whether the amendment passes or not."

Among the anti folk testifying last week at U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing was Boston College Law Professor Scott FitzGibbon. He is sure Massachusetts' legalization of SSM will have dreadful effects. He dragged in the range of unsupported scare claim, to wit:
  • "As it filters through the schools it suppresses and chills debate and discussion."
  • "(A) situation of tension and adversity between teachers and school officials," a la Lexington's mad dad.
  • "Deconstruction of the Intellectual and Social Definition of Marriage." He laments that there is no immutable, proscriptive definition of marriage, that it might actually evolve (oh, the horror!).
  • "Degradation and Destabilization of Marriage." Again, if marriage does not have a narrow definition, he figures co-habitation will rule.
  • "Degradation and Destabilization of the Family." Somehow he then jumps to a trend that suggests that co-habitating couples split frequently and the children suffer.
Those wheezy and unsupported alarmist tactics have become more prevalent. The same groups and experts were predicting immediate chaos and descent into hell if Massachusetts married homosexuals. When none of that occurred, their tack has shifted to sky-doesn't-fall-in-a-day and you-just-wait.

Seidman and Vanderibilt University pediatrics assistant professor Christopher E. Harris, M.D. , in contrast, presented reasoned arguments against what Seidman calls the "sloppily written" amendment containing "poor lawyering." In addition to unnecessary and certainly disruptive usurping of states' powers, he pointed out the paradox of denying gays the right to marry in a state where the highest court has ruled that both gays and straights must receive equal treatment. He said that denying homosexuals marriage denies it to heterosexuals. "The amendment has the remarkable, and no doubt unintended, effect of abolishing marriage in the state of Massachusetts," he concluded.

The Kansas City InfoZine has coverage of the contrast between the two views of the amendment.


Boston Bud said...
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Boston Bud said...

Well, the other reason for this amendment is the news. Look at the headlines: Rove, Libby, Hurricane Katrina, DeLay, Frist, Iraq. It's not looking good for Reps. So what do you do? Bash the gays, haul out the Anti-gay constitutional amendment. They thought it worked during the election now they figure it will distract people from the real issues.