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The Gay Marriage Amendment


George W Bush, a man searching for a winning issue now that his “war president,” “I’m a warrior,” and “We’ll find those WMD’s” rhetoric has lost its punch, has now seized upon some illegal behavior by some San Francisco judges and the mayor of San Francisco who went against the laws of California, to push for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as that between a man and a woman. This is but another red herring by Bush to escape from the real issues that he is unwilling to face in the oncoming presidential race because he has failed our nation on its most important matters–jobs, lives, medical care, false testimony that put us into the Iraq war and the WMD’s that are nowhere to be found, and the taking of our civil rights by Ashcroft and friends.

The polls show that over 2/3 of the country are against gay marriages, but to pass a constitutional amendment is a different matter. What is also troubling about this is that some of the right-wing law makers may add other matters to this proposed amendment that will make it more than simply a matter of marriage definition between a man and a woman. At a time when our president should be trying to solve our medical, financial, joblessness, and military problems_he has chosen to ignore the major issues of our nation in order to focus on what he considers an “easy-win” option. This smacks of his move to go after Iraq by blaming them for 9/11 and having weapons so dangerous that they could be used to attack us in less than 45 minutes. The Constitution doesn’t need amending; the judges have to be made to obey the laws of their states, whether they like them or not. If judges make laws, then anarchy will prevail.

In this situation, I remember from my days at the University of Chicago Law School, one of the most progressive in American history, that “Though you may disagree, as a judge, with the laws, it is not for you to rewrite those laws by making a decision that violates those laws.” In the case of the judges in California, there is a clear legal position that gay marriages are illegal. As to why the Attorney General and the Governor, Lockyear and Schwarzenegger took so long to ask that these laws be enforced, I honestly don’t know.

Actually, Arnold and Lockyear both dragged their feet; but it was up to the governor, Arnold to call for the state’s attorney general to act. Could it be that he wanted this matter to blow out of proportion before he wanted action against the gay marriages? Did Bush also wait to see how the polls blew so that he’d know what political position to take? Bush calls himself a leader, but according to Washington insiders, both Republican and Democrat, they tell me that Bush has more pollsters out feeling the wind than any president in American history. So when people say GW Bush is a “leader”_just tell them the truth, he only takes a stand when he has the full readings from the pollsters.

As to the issue at hand, gay marriage; it is clear that all orthodox religions in America are against gay marriages. However, many people in America and in other parts of the world are not against “civil unions”_which was the first step in this present battle. The gay community first asked for civil unions, then some activists decided they might just as well go ahead and see if they could get a marriage license in various states. Massachusetts was the first battleground, but friends in San Francisco, some of whom work in politics, insist that the gay marriages there were o.k.’d before-hand by the mayor and some of his friends who were somewhat jealous of Massachusetts. As to why the judges went along with this breaking of the law, you’ll have to ask them why they left their judicial role and tried to become law makers.

Politically speaking, I’m very sorry that these gay groups put this issue on the table at this time, at a time when the nation itself is in peril. Their action may take some of the more important issues off the table and give Bush a rallying issue that is really more of a pseudo-issue, a red-herring to most people in America (though to gay people it may be important, I don’t think this minority should be so selfish as to disrupt a national need for their own pleasure_but I can also see why they did it at a time when they could get national attention during presidential races). Of course, many in the world may feel this matter shouldn’t get so much attention and that being gay may be a genetic matter, but be it genetic or imaginative, psychological or physiological, this was a bad time to bring the matter up when we have more pressing problems in the world; on the other hand, many gays will disagree with this position, but that is democracy for you.

I think that Bush may be surprised when he learns that changing the Constitution will be more difficult than simply winning the polls. Let’s hope the American people don’t bite on this red-herring; let’s hope they remain focused on the lives lost in Iraq (both American and Iraqi), the disasterous job losses in America, the bankrupt economy and the loss of our valuable civil rights of free speech and free political action (no, this gay marriage thing is not as important as other civil rights, and if you think it is, then you have no sense of the new realities that John Ashcroft and his friends are putting upon us to make us prisoners in our land).

SAM HAMOD is the former editor of Third World News in Wash, DC, and a former professor at Princeton, Michigan and Howard; he is also the editor of He can be reached at:


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