Will gay marriages be banned?

by Vista Kalipa

On February 24, President Bush delivered a statement urgingCongress to consider a constitutional amendment that would ban gaymarriages and limit the institution of marriage between a man and awoman.

“Today, I call upon the Congress to promptly pass and to send tothe states for ratification an amendment to our Constitutiondefining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman ashusband and wife,” he said.

This move by the president of the “free” nation struck a largedebate across the country and angered those in support of gay andlesbian marriage.

In an interview with the Washington Blade, Executive Director ofthe National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Matt Foreman said, “Today,the President of the United States, solely for political gain,called upon Congress to amend the United States Constitution toenshrine our second-class citizenship in the nation’s most revereddocument. This is a despicable new low.”

This is indeed a new low. The call to amend the constitution isharshly a political scheme by this traditionalist president tolegally practice his bigotry toward homosexuals. This nation hasseen great progress over the years toward the inclusion of thosewho once were oppressed and discriminated against. It would be abad undertaking by the United States to even consider thisamendment.

In Iowa, soon after the president’s remarks, the Iowa Senatecommittee met to approve a pair of proposals calling for changes inthe U.S. and Iowa constitutions, The Des Moines Registerreports.

Senator Neal Schuerer, an Amana Republican, said that gays andlesbians “don’t have a right to redefine marriage for our entiresociety.”

This debate over the “re-defining” of marriage was struck by theMassachusetts’ court ruling legalizing gay marriages and the mayorof San Francisco. Gavin Newsom’s decision allowed same-sex couplesto marry under the city’s approval. This move is probably what ledPresident Bush to his discriminatory call to amend theconstitution.

President Bush supports his decisions, claiming that “a union ofa man and a woman is the most enduring human institution, honoredand encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith.”

Enduring? Perhaps we should take a closer look at the history ofmarriage in this particular country. The number of divorces grantedin this nation clearly indicates that there is no enduring as faras this institution is concerned. In 1997 alone, America granteddivorce to about 1,163,000 people.

To prove the duration of one variable, don’t we need another oneto compare it to? If so, President Bush’s claim on this “enduringhuman institution” is far-fetched.

While the governor of California sides with the president on theissue of marriage, Iowa’s governor finds President Bush’s stepsquite dramatic, if not drastic. In an interview with the Registerhe said there is no need for a constitutional amendment.

“I have real concerns that this whole debate is all aboutpolitics, and it’s really taking us away from very significantbusiness that has to be done before this Legislature can adjourn,”he said.

This move by President Bush could probably lose him a number ofvotes. An angered Cheryl Jacques, president of the Human RightsCampaign said, “To use the Constitution to discriminate against ourfamilies is un-American, shameful and divisive. This amendmentwould be the first to reinstate discrimination in ourConstitution.”

News sources reported that a gay Republican leader in Ohiostated that he can’t digest President Bush’s support for theFederal Marriage Amendment. He is reported to have announced lastThursday that he was now becoming a Democrat.

It is also reported that more than one million gays and lesbiansvoted for President Bush in the elections of 2000, but some ofthose votes are now in peril.

Not only did this battle over gay marriage in San Francisco spurover a whole new debate, it also encouraged other towns to dolikewise.

Reuters reports that the small town of New Paltz in New York hasalso begun marrying same-sex couples, making it the first place todo so in the state of New York. The town of New Paltz lies about 80miles north of Manhattan and is reported to have started on the daythe attorney general of California planned to ask the state’sSupreme Court to rule on the legal aspects of the 3, 300 gayweddings performed in San Francisco.

Obviously this move would not be a progressive step by America,but only a backward step in civilization. This is reminiscent ofthe times when America attempted to see the good in allowing womenthe same rights as their male counterparts and also the times whenAmerica banned slavery and discrimination.

In those days, some people believed that it was their religiousright to protect themselves from blacks because they were ungodlypeople. Some truly believed that women should not be heard and thatthey had no place in the political sphere at all, until someone sawthat the actual evildoers were those oppressing these twogroups.

Of course, the need to make all these changes was not readilyaccepted by everyone. It took years and years of fighting tofinally come to where we are today. This is not say that we haveseen a complete dissolve of these issues, but at least progress hasbeen made.

Now, gays and lesbians face the same kind of discrimination inthis country that was once experienced by the previous groups. Thesame battles fought by women and blacks present themselves againbefore the lawmakers of this country.