How a situation can change in just a few hours. I was going to post at lunchtime, but decided to wait until this afternoon. Now, of course, the FMA is dead for the year. In a 48-50 vote, the FMA failed to get the necessary 60 votes to reach the floor of the Senate. Too bad…
But I do offer Senator Rick Santorum’s latest quote during the debate, just because it highlights his agenda:
“I would argue that the future of our country hangs in the balance because the future of marriage hangs in the balance,” said Sen. Rick Santorum, a leader in the fight to approve the measure. “Isn’t that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?”
(Here’s the original post, since this debate isn’t going away.)
Beware the rhetoric regarding the Federal Marriage Amendment. Now that the Republican leadership in the Senate realizes that it won’t win passage of the FMA. Despite my joy at the potential for political suicide undertaken by the religious wing of the Republican Party, I’m still frightened that a United States Senator could make this statement and believe it.
“If you support … a mother and a father for every child, you are a hater. If you believe that men and women for 5,000 years have bonded together in marriage, you’re a gay-basher. Marriage is hate. Marriage is a stain. Marriage is an evil thing. That’s what we hear,” said Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.
This proposed Constitutional amendment is not about marriage. If it were about marriage, there would be one sentence in the wording proclaiming marriage as between one man and one woman, but that’s not what it says. There is a second line eliminating any potential rights for same-sex couples from civil unions or other such arrangements. This is about stopping the implied homosexual master plan to “redefine marriage”.
As for Senator Santorum’s facts, I’ll offer an alternate viewpoint about the history of marriage. Consider Andrew Sullivan’s responses to President Bush’s Saturday radio address, which focused on the Federal Marriage Amendment:
Then there is his second premise: that allowing gay people to enter into civil marriage would “fundamentally redefine” marriage. In fact, of course, gay couples want to enter marriage as it is currently defined. And the fundamental redefinition of civil marriage to which the president refers occurred decades ago–when contraception became widely available, severing the link between procreation and civil marriage; and with the advent of women’s equality, ending the notion that civil marriage was a way in which men affirmed domestic control of women. If civil marriage is therefore not procreative and not based on distinct gender roles, on what grounds is the admission of gay people a “redefinition”? In fact, under the current definition of civil marriage, the exclusion of gay couples is a blinding anomaly.
But it is simply a fact that marriage is “an evolving paradigm.” For the first millennium after Christ, Christianity didn’t even recognize marriage as a sacrament. It was regarded as a purely secular matter of property ownership. Marriage also once meant the ownership of women by men. It was once permanent, and no divorce was possible. It was once restricted to couples of the same race. The notion that it has never changed is simply untrue. The only relevant question is whether the current change is a good one. The president doesn’t answer that question. He simply asserts it, based on nothing but bad history and ignorance.
I’ve made it clear that I support legalizing same-sex marriage as a civil arrangement because the different-but-equal aspect of civil unions is absurd. (Don’t even get me started about the nonsense going on here in Virginia concerning private contracts between same-sex couples.) Not everyone is going to agree with that, and I respect that. But that doesn’t mean an amendment is the right option. I’m happy to see that many conservatives are agreeing and intend to vote against the FMA for the correct reasons (marriage is a state issue and this amendment would damage the Constitution).
Insert pithy, feel-good ending here… Isn’t democracy great?