Friday, February 06, 2004

sorry, George, but I disagree

Here's the President's statement regarding the Massachusetts gay marriage decision:

Today's ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is deeply troubling. Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. If activist judges insist on re-defining marriage by court order, the only alternative will be the constitutional process. We must do what is legally necessary to defend the sanctity of marriage.

Mr. President, you're standing in the way of progress. I'm now fully in the camp that contends marriage, straight or gay, is a basic civil right. Unlike the position taken by Andrew Sullivan and his faux-federalism, or by Keith Burgess-Jackson and his vrai-federalism, I think that "basic civil right" means something that should be enshrined as an amendment in the US Constitution (cf. my post on gay marriage for how I mean this). Imagine if voting rights were determined on a state-by-state basis, as happened, on a smaller scale, in Switzerland, where the canton of Appenzell gave women the right to vote in 1989 (I was living in Switzerland that year; it was big news). Does this strike anyone else as backward? It should.

But women's suffrage wasn't a given in American history. It wasn't obvious that everyone-- regardless of race, creed or sex-- should have the right to vote. By the same token, it's not obvious to everyone today that marriage should be available to two consenting adults no matter their sexual orientation. Luckily that perception is, slowly but surely, changing. I don't think Andrew Sullivan goes far enough in his advocacy of gay marriage, and I think Keith Burgess-Jackson is wrong to link this to federalism. Marriage as a basic civil right deserves constitutional protection. So if Bush thinks our only choice is to adopt "the constitutional process," well... bring it on!

UPDATE: Liberal defenders of gay marriage, like this commenter at Atrios, aren't exactly helping matters when they say silly shit like this:

Marriage isn't sacred. It's just something some people do to solidify their love - personally, I think it's bullshit - and it's reprehensible gay folks are prevented from it by law.

The guy means well, but Jesus, this is funny. Even when you put that quote back in the wider context of his whole comment, the guy's argument is still, "Marriage is a sack of shit, and it's a damn shame that gay people can't participate in it." Heh.


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