A life in the day

7/18/2004

Republicans Still Hope to Score Points on Gay Marriage

Filed under: — site admin @ 3:22 pm

From the New York Times: Republicans Still Hope to Score Points on Gay Marriage

Even in defeat, the effort by Republicans to thrust [Jim DeMint (R-SC)] front and center illustrates how the party intends to capitalize on the fight over gay marriage.

Republican lawmakers, strategists and activists said in interviews that they would seize on the issue to motivate conservative voters - and draw a clear comparison with Democrats on an issue on which Republicans think they are in sync with most Americans.

I’m trying to decide how I feel about this. My first take is that it’s horrible. I have no objection to gay marriage. I think in a generation or two its opponents will be viewed as anti-miscegenationists are viewed today. And so my first take says that this pandering to the right-wing on a measure known in advance to be well shy of the votes necessary for passage is politics at its worst.

With quotations like this, it becomes very clear that the main motivation of many proponents is purely political:

“Conservative members of both political parties will be risking liberalizing the definition of traditional marriage and eroding thousands of years of Judeo-Christian values, unless they vote for the Republican nominee,” said Kirk Humphreys, a Republican Senate hopeful in Oklahoma.

But there are certain to be some people who truly and honestly are pushing this because they think it’s the right thing to do. I voted for Nader; I can’t object too much to pushing hopeless causes. There was some pragmatism involved in my decision. Notwithstanding my objection to polls, I took into account the near-certainty that Gore would win Connecticut. If it had been close here, I might have voted differently. But I don’t think it is wrong to vote for what is certain to be a losing proposition, or to bring one forward if there is some overriding moral imperative.

So where does that leave me? I want to defend these elected officials’ right to promote their moral agenda, even though I disagree with it. But in the end, I don’t think it is a moral issue for many of them. I think it is pure politics. Mostly the people voting for such an amendment are the same people who claim to want to reduce the scope and size of the federal government, who advocate states’ rights over the federal government. It is very hard to square that with a sudden need to overturn the Massachusetts ruling granting homosexuals the same rights to marriage as heterosexuals. It just smells wrong.

So I guess, in the end, I’m not only opposed to the actual amendment, but I am upset by the fact that it’s proceeded as far as it has. I think people need to stop playing these stupid political games.

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