Monday, June 05, 2006

Marriage Amendment is a Waste of Our Nation's Time

President Bush has thrown his weight behind the proposed definition of marriage Constitutional amendment saying that it is vital for our nation to preserve the traditional family structure.

Anyone who has read me for any length of time knows how I feel on this issue. But in case you don’t, let me recap my two-point contention. 1) I have no problem with same-sex marriage and think it’s ridiculous to argue that such a thing would harm society, particularly when so many gay couples are already de-facto married, many with children—and society is doing just fine. 2) If we were to ever embrace legalized same-sex marriage, it should come only through popular consent via laws passed by elected officials and not from court decree.

All that aside, I find it enormously disappointing that the same President who refuses to embrace political demagoguery on the immigration issue can turn around and, with a serious expression, act like the future of our nation rests on keeping gay people from marrying. I understand that some people believe it is paramount that we keep marriage defined as one man, one woman, but I simply do not believe that anyone but the most out-of-touch think this is an issue that trumps the war, immigration, the deficit or any other issue of true national importance.

This is one of those moments in governance when the raw political machinations of our leaders are exposed for all to see. It’s election-year demagoguery. It’s base pandering. And it’s why our federal government continues on its long track of incompetence. When our leaders are more focused on pandering than they are in working to solve problems, the result is a dysfunctional government.

I’m not saying that this isn’t an important issue or that no national leader should take to the podium to discuss it. I’m saying that only the most critical problems should induce our leaders to propose and support a Constitutional amendment. Using the Constitution as a prop in election-year pandering may hardly be a new vice, but it’s made even more repugnant by the fact that we, at this moment in history, have far, far more pressing issues confronting us.

Fortunately, all predictions are for the amendment to fail. But that in no way excuses those who would elevate such election-year pandering to such unworthy prominence.


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