Senators take position in advance of marriage amendment vote

Posted: May 23, 2006 7:05 PM
The week of June 5, the Senate will vote on a constitutional amendment on marriage. The text reads: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."

On Fox News Sunday, Sen. John McCain announced: "I will vote against it because I believe very strongly, first of all, in the sanctity of union between man and woman, but I also believe that the states should make these decisions."

Leave marriage to the people in the states? We'd love to, senator, but at this point the judges won't let us. From Oregon to Louisiana, wherever the American people have had a chance to vote, strong majorities have voted to keep marriage as a union of husband and wife. It is the courts that are redefining common sense as bigotry and hate-mongering. Judges in one state have already imposed gay marriage (Massachusetts). Judges in two states (Nebraska and Georgia) have already struck down state marriage amendments. Courts in eight states will soon rule on gay marriage as a civil right.

By opposing the Marriage Protection Amendment, McCain leaves himself with a position on gay marriage that is virtually indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton's. McCain says that makes him one special guy: "I've found in my life that when I do what I think is right -- for example, on the marriage amendment -- it always turns out in the end OK," he told Fox News. "When I do things for political expediency, which I have from time to time, it's always turned out poorly."

I'm betting the good senator has miscalculated. In the first place, he is likely to find burnishing his mainstream media halo futile now that he's the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president. Meanwhile, the latest Gallup poll released this week finds 79 percent of Republicans oppose gay marriage (as do 45 percent of Democrats); two-thirds of Republicans support a federal marriage amendment. As Gallup notes: "There has been no appreciable change over the past two years in Americans' attitudes about legal recognition for same-sex marriage."

Opposition to gay marriage is holding, in spite of the vitriol of its advocates (or maybe because of it?). First lady Laura Bush recently told Fox News Sunday: "I don't think (gay marriage) should be used as a campaign tool, obviously. It requires a lot of sensitivity to just talk about the issue -- a lot of sensitivity."

Of course, she's right. Could someone send the Human Rights Campaign a memo?

When Boston Catholic Charities reluctantly decided it must pull out of the adoption business because Catholic institutions cannot conscientiously allow same-sex couple adoption, HRC president Joe Solmonese had this to say about the leaders of the Catholic Church: "What these bishops are doing is shameful, wrong and has nothing to do whatsoever with faith." At a news conference this week, an ad hoc group called the Clergy for Fairness offered similar thundering moral denunciations.. Rev. Paul Simmons, director of the Center for Ethics at the University of Louisville, proclaimed: "The Federal Marriage Amendment has the smell and feel of Salem." Its supporters, he said "use religious liberty as a way to camouflage bigotry in the name of God."

Memo to McCain: Decisions in New Jersey and California could come at any time, raising voters' concerns about out-of-control courts bent on declaring their faith-based view of marriage a form of bigotry.

Are you sure you want to side with Hillary on this one?