Tidbits for Political Junkies with Short Attention Spans & Hearty Appetites


Saturday, July 10, 2004


Bush on Marriage

My annotated version of Bush's radio address today:

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. The United States Senate this past week began an important discussion about the meaning of marriage. Senators are considering a constitutional amendment to protect the most fundamental institution of civilization, and to prevent it from being fundamentally redefined.
Protect from what? What precisely is the harm? Please explain to me what it is about your marriage, or anyone else's marriage, is being "redefined?"
This difficult debate was forced upon our country by a few activist judges and local officials, who have taken it on themselves to change the meaning of marriage.
Nothing was “forced on us:” judges only rule on the matters that come before them; in this case, that of several couples who felt they had been unfairly deprived of the rights and privileges of marriage. The judges looked at the case, the law, and the arguments, and agreed. It is utterly misleading to suggest that the judges “took it upon themselves."
In Massachusetts, four judges on the state's highest court have ordered the issuance of marriage licenses to applicants of the same gender. In San Francisco, city officials issued thousands of marriage licenses to people of the same gender, contrary to the California family code. Lawsuits in several states, including New Jersey, Florida, Nebraska, and Oregon, are also attempting to overturn the traditional definition of marriage by court order.
No where do you seem to recognize that every single one of these actions has its basis in the constitutional principles of individual autonomy and equal protection under the law. Nor, I should note, have you bothered to question any of the judges' decisions on the merits.
In 1996, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Defense of Marriage Act, and President Clinton signed it into law.
We all know this was a craven and regrettable act, put to a vote for purely political reasons during the run-up to the 1996 elections, just as you are putting this amendment to a vote now.
That legislation defines marriage, for purposes of federal law, as a union between a man and a woman, and declares that no state is required to accept another state's definition of marriage.
Which is why it is likely to be declared unconstitutional.
Yet an activist court that strikes down traditional marriage would have little problem striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.
Precisely. Because, in other words, you readily admit that, under the law, you haven't got a freaking case.
Overreaching judges could declare that all marriages recognized in Massachusetts or San Francisco be recognized as marriages everywhere else.
As long as we agree that the definition of "overreaching" is "conforming to tenets of the United States Contitution," such as Article IV, which clearly states: "Full faith and credit shall be given in each sate to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state."
When judges insist on imposing their arbitrary will on the people, the only alternative left to the people is an amendment to the Constitution -- the only law a court cannot overturn.

I guess you're cornered here. Your prejudices just won't square with our constitutional principles. Oh -- and am I overlooking something, or did I miss the part where you explain how judges who respect the Constitution are "arbitrary?"
A constitutional amendment should never be undertaken lightly -- yet to defend marriage, our nation has no other choice.
Since what you want to do obviously violates the constitutional rights of a large segment of our citizens, the only way to do this is to change the constitution. (And it would never occur to you that other choices, such as the option to act honorably and fairly, are even a possibility).
A great deal is at stake in this matter.
I guess that would be your re-election.
The union of a man and woman in marriage is the most enduring and important human institution, and the law can teach respect or disrespect for that institution. If our laws teach that marriage is the sacred commitment of a man and a woman, the basis of an orderly society, and the defining promise of a life, that strengthens the institution of marriage. If courts create their own arbitrary definition of marriage as a mere legal contract, and cut marriage off from its cultural, religious and natural roots, then the meaning of marriage is lost, and the institution is weakened. The Massachusetts court, for example, has called marriage "an evolving paradigm." That sends a message to the next generation that marriage has no enduring meaning, and that ages of moral teaching and human experience have nothing to teach us about this institution.
Yeah, yeah. You no doubt would be much happier if wives were still defined as the property of their husbands, with neither voting nor property rights. All kidding aside though, no one is trying to turn anyone elses marriage into a “mere” legal contract: what we want is simply the same legal and contractual rights that accrue to everyone else, under civil law, the moment they get married. As for all that stuff about sacredness…well that’s up to your church. Last I checked, no government official ever made any marriage sacred.
For ages, in every culture, human beings have understood that traditional marriage is critical to the well-being of families. And because families pass along values and shape character, traditional marriage is also critical to the health of society. Our policies should aim to strengthen families, not undermine them. And changing the definition of traditional marriage will undermine the family structure.
Back on this again, huh? That idiotic notion that allowing others to enjoy the rights you take for granted, will somehow "undermine the family structure..." Evidence, please?
On an issue of this great significance, opinions are strong and emotions run deep.

Which is absolutely fine. Emotion and opinion are individual matters, and we all have the right to them. That doesn't justify giving them the force of law.
All of us have a duty to conduct this discussion with civility and decency toward one another.

Using Mr. Civility, Dick Cheney, as your model.
All people deserve to have their voices heard.
...until richer and more powerful people can drown them out...
And that is exactly the purpose behind the constitutional amendment process.
Which means you are forgetting “exactly the purpose” of the Bill of Rights, which was to prevent a majority from depriving others of their rights – which is precisely what is going on here, and precisely what those judges have held.
American democracy, not court orders, should decide the future of marriage in America.
Screw our constitution; let’s just take a vote and see who gets to keep their rights.
The process has now begun in the Congress. I urge members of the House and Senate to pass, and send to the states for ratification, an amendment that defines marriage in the United States as a union of a man and woman as husband and wife.

Thank you for listening.

Aaaaarrgg! This wouldn't be a bad time to write your senators & congressmen, and make sure they know where you stand on this.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?