Marriage Madness

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
June 5 2006 6:54 PM

Marriage Madness

Bloggers wonder whether the current push for the Federal Marriage Amendment is just a political ploy by Republicans. They also wonder if the Pentagon is pulling away from the Geneva Conventions, and they mark the 25th anniversary of AIDS.

Marriage madness: President Bush reiterated his support Monday for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage even though it has little chance of passage. Bush's speech came as the Senate was set to open three days of debate on the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment.

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Moderate law professor Ann Althouse quotes this snippet from Sen. Ted Kennedy—"A vote for this amendment is a vote for bigotry pure and simple"—and sees it slightly differently. "I'd say it's a vote for political gain -- whichever side you're voting on -- and it's not the least bit pure, though it is rather simple."

Whether the president really personally wants a gay-marriage amendment is also being questioned. Just last year, Bush said he saw no reason to push for a constitutional amendment, since it had no chance in the Senate so long as the Defense of Marriage Act remained on the books. The act allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. And today, The Huffington Post points to a Newsweek piece in which an anonymous Bush friend said, "I don't think he gives a s--t about it. He never talks about this stuff."

That, combined with the fact a two-thirds majority is required for passage has bloggers—and not just those on the left—seeing a transparent attempt to boost the GOP's chances in the midterm elections this fall. "Bush is trying to appease angry conservatives and Christians by pushing this amendment," writes Christian ex-liberal La Shawn Barber. "It's an empty and meaningless gesture because the thing will never be ratified."

At InstaPundit, libertarian law prof Glenn Reynolds revels in the dissent. "Message to Karl Rove: When you're being double-teamed by LaShawn Barber and Dave Weigel, you're probably working from the wrong playbook," Reynolds writes, asking why proven poll concerns like immigration and earmarks aren't being highlighted. "[W]hy not try addressing those issues sensibly, instead of trying to run on symbolism?"

Gay blogger and conservative contrarian Andrew Sullivan wonders whether Rove is losing his magic touch: "The whole point of the marriage amendment b.s. in the Senate this week is appeasing the Christianist base of the GOP. At least that's the theory. It has its costs. By spear-heading the FMA again, Bush has alienated a vast swathe of socially inclusive suburbanites, the veep's daughter, every gay person and many of their families, libertarians, constitutional conservatives and principled federalists. But he's won over the fire-breathers, right? It turns out: Not even them any more."

Read more about the gay-marriage debate. Read the president's Saturday radio address about the amendment.

Torture, by the book: In a move that may heighten criticism of American policy regarding torture, the Pentagon plans to omit from its new detainee policies a key Geneva Conventions principle explicitly banning humiliation and degradation.

"If this were an isolated action, this attempt to rewrite the rules for the treatment of prisoners, it would be one thing," bemoans John Cole at Balloon Juice. "But it isn't -- it is right out of the administration's playbook -- create gray areas, remove protections, and release the United States from any accountability for actions the rest of the world (and a goodly portion of the United States) find deplorable."

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