poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Showdown Over Same-Sex Marriage
By Bill Berkowitz, AlterNet..
The Religious Right is mobilizing a massive lobbying effort for the Federal Marriage Amendment.

If Karl Rove, the president's chief advisor, and Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, hadn't been searching for the mother of all wedge issues to galvanize their right wing base; if the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court hadn't ruled that the states constitution should apply to all of the state's citizens; if Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, a relatively unknown Republican congresswoman from Colorado hadn't got the ball rolling in Washington; if Texas sodomy law hadn't been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court; if newly elected Mayor Gavin Newsome hadn't opened San Francisco City Hall to thousands; and if the president hadn't endorsed it, it is unlikely the U.S. Senate would be on the brink of making history.

But all these things have happened, most during the past year, and now, sometime during the week of July 12, the Senate will be voting on a Federal Marriage Amendment, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Perhaps the key event in getting the Senate to take up the issue occurred in late February, when America's war president came out of the war-room closet just long enough to endorse a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. This was the imprimatur that GOP leaders and religious right organizations needed to take the gloves off: "The President was right on target when he said activist courts have left the American people no other recourse, said Tony Perkins, the president of the Washington, DC lobbying group, the Family Research Council. The American Center for Law and Justice, a right wing legal outfit founded by the Rev. Pat Robertson, issued a statement saying that Bush's endorsement "serves as a critical catalyst to energize and organize those who will work diligently to ensure that marriage remains an institution between one man and one woman."

While the decision of the Massachusetts Court, and the photos circulated world-wide of thousands lining up outside City Hall in San Francisco to receive marriage licenses may have aggravated some people, that irritation didn't swell into a national call to action as many on the right had predicted. And while polls showed that most Americans opposed gay couples getting hitched, the issue didn't gain much traction, even after the president's endorsement. For most Americans, it appeared that amending the constitution was not an issue to be taken lightly.


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