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Bush to retract support for a federal marriage amendment in Monday speech, news report says:

This is stunning news.

First, here's a little background to put this development in context. By the middle of 2003, the Federal Marriage Amendment had been languishing in Congress for a couple of years. Its main organizational sponsor, the Alliance for Marriage, had gotten a few congressional sponsors but no prominent politicians had made it a focus of legislative efforts, there had been no hearings on the proposed amendment, and no vote had been scheduled. The president had not lifted a finger to support the effort.

Throughout the last half of 2003, President Bush faced mounting pressure from religious conservatives in the GOP to come out in favor of the amendment. On June 26, 2003, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, declaring state sodomy laws unconstitutional and backing the "dignity" and "autonomy" of gay persons seeking to enter "personal relationships." Justice Scalia ominously warned in dissent that gay marriage was next on the judicial agenda. Opponents of gay marriage figured that now the president would back an amendment. But, at a July news conference, Bush declined to do so, saying only that his lawyers were looking at ways to support traditional marriage.

Then, in November 2003 in Goodridge v. Dep't of Public Health, the Massachusetts high court ordered that state to become the first in the country to recognize gay marriages. Religious conservatives believed that surely now the president would announce his support for an amendment. Still Bush was silent.

Next, in January 2004, the president gave his state of the union address before a nationally televised audience. Speculation mounted that Bush might take this high-profile opportunity in an election year to urge a constitutional amendment. Surely the president's lawyers had had enough time to analyze the issue. But beyond some boilerplate rhetoric about protecting traditional marriage, Bush offered nothing to amendment supporters.

Politicos were bewildered. It was an election year. The president's base was antsy and the war in Iraq was already faltering. It made no sense, politically, for the president not to endorse an amendment. Supporting an amendment would thrill religious conservatives. It would also appeal to traditionally Democratic voters who opposed gay marriage but were otherwise uncomfortable with Bush. At the time, since everyone conceded the amendment had no chance of passing, it would be seen as a symbolic gesture that didn't really hurt anybody. Those Republicans and independents uncomfortable with an amendment that seemed to them so pointless and unnecessary as to be inexplicable other than as an exercise in gay-bashing, but who otherwise supported Bush on issues like national security and taxes, could overlook his support for the amendment as a necessary concession to a political imperative. With everything to gain among gay-marriage opponents and little to fear from its supporters, Bush's hemming and hawing made no sense.

It made no sense, that is, unless the president was acting on some principle under which he did not think, no matter the political cost, that we should amend the Constitution and strip the states of all power over the matter in order to cool the hot brow of the excitable partisan. Principle, not politics, must lay behind Bush's demurral.

Finally, in February 2004, the mayor of San Francisco and a smattering of other local officials around the country began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in their jurisdictions. More than 4,000 gay couples in San Francisco alone signed up. Opponents of gay marriage warned of "chaos" and "lawlessness" and demanded presidential action.

Where Lawrence and Goodridge had failed to budge the president, the actions of these local officials provoked Bush at last. On February 24, 2004, President Bush called a news conference to announce he'd decided to support a constitutional amendment after all. "After more than two centuries of American jurisprudence and millennia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization," Bush said. The people were losing control over the issue; an alien idea was being forced on them. He also warned of unspecified "serious consequences throughout the country" if a city or state -- like Massachusetts — recognized gay marriages even in its own jurisdiction.

Within months, the "chaos" and "lawlessness" brought on by "local authorities" was ended by the authorities themselves, by higher state officials, and by the very courts Bush had said could not be trusted on the issue. The "crisis" of gay marriages ended almost as soon as it had begun. The 4,000 San Francisco marriages, for example, had all been nullified by the California Supreme Court. The states proved quite capable of policing themselves and their officials, as they always had, without the need for a federal amendment. The use of these isolated and now defunct local actions to justify a federal marriage amendment has been a particular embarrassment to FMA supporters.

As for Bush's stated fear that "a few judges" were undermining millennia of wisdom, two years later no federal court has even come close to trying to force gay marriage on the country — Lawrence notwithstanding. DOMA stands as good law, backed by the sole federal judge even to consider its constitutionality.

Additionally, after two years and more than 8,000 gay marriages in Massachusetts there have as yet been no "serious consequences throughout the country," about which Bush had worried. No other state is being forced to recognize same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts. There have been no insuperable complications arising from discordant state approaches to the recognition of same-sex relationships.

And a remarkable thing has begun to occur since Bush's 2004 announcement, when he warned that unelected judges were usurping the will of the people. The people themselves, acting through their elected representatives, have rebuffed attempts to extinguish gay marriages in Massachusetts, have authorized gay marriages in California, have enacted civil unions in Connecticut, and are considering various forms of recognition for same-sex couples in other places. Gay marriage is no longer simply the cause of litigants, but is increasingly the cause of representative democracies.

In short, just about everything Bush said in February 2004 to justify his support for a federal amendment has been undermined by subsequent experience.

Now, the stunning news. In light of experience, it appears President Bush has rethought the question. He's called a press conference Monday to address the issue of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

In advance of the press conference, the following news report has just come across my computer screen:

(Washington, D.C., June 4) President Bush will announce at a news conference Monday that he has decided to retract his support for a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, says a source within the National Security Agency who monitored a presidential telephone call to congressional allies on the subject.

According to the NSA source, the president will make the following statement:

"Throughout my time as your president, I have made difficult decisions because I thought they were in the best interests of the country. I have stood by the principles that make this country great, and that have served it well for more than two centuries, regardless of the political consequences to me and my party. I believe the people should keep more of their money and that low taxes produce prosperity for everyone, so I have backed tax cuts that were demagogically denounced by members of the other party as helping only the rich. I believe you can plan better and invest more wisely for your future than the government can, so I have supported Social Security reform that many say is the 'third rail' of politics. I believe immigration has made this country great and that people who come here to make a better life for themselves deserve a chance to become Americans, so I have backed a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants despite the intense opposition of many members of my own party. And I think this country has a moral duty to help fledgling democracies and to carry through on its commitments, so I have refused to pull our troops out of Iraq despite the rising unpopularity of the war.

"Two years ago, in this place, I announced my support for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. I strongly believe that's what marriage is and should be. If I were a state legislator or a governor, I'd oppose defining marriage in any other way. I supported the amendment because, at the time, I feared that uncontrollable judges and local officials were recklessly and lawlessly playing with the foundation of the American family.

"But I was wrong. Like others, I overreacted to what seemed like an emergency. I did not have sufficient faith in the historic processes of American government. The local officials who were defying state law in 2004 have been brought into line. DOMA is still good law. The states have begun amending their own constitutions to define marriage. I have appointed many federal judges in the mold of Justices Scalia and Thomas, including two to the Supreme Court, who will not tamper with marriage. And while I still fear that some state courts will attempt to redefine marriage in years to come, I am confident that the people in those states can deal with their own courts if that is what they choose to do. After all, that is what we have always trusted them to do.

"We may not like the choices some states make about these matters, but if our nation's historic commitment to federalism means anything, it means that the states should, within constitutional limits, be allowed to go their own way on important matters of criminal law, property law, and even family law. That, at any rate, has been the dominant practice and theory of our federal design for more than two centuries.

"Never before in the history of the country have we amended the Constitution in response to a threatened (or actual) state court decision. Never before have we amended the Constitution to preempt an anticipated federal court ruling. Never before have we adopted a constitutional amendment to limit the states' ability to control their own family law. Never before have we dictated to states what their own state laws and state constitutions mean. Never before have we amended the Constitution to restrict the ability of the democratic process to expand individual rights. This is no time to start.

"I know this decision will not be popular with many members of my own party. But it is a president's responsibility to lead, not to follow, especially when it comes to matters of important principle. As on so many other decisions I've made, I will not bow to political pressure when I know better. Two years ago, I should have known better. Now I do."

Standing by his side at the news conference will be Vice President Dick Cheney, who said in 2004 that he opposes an amendment because states should be allowed to decide the issue for themselves and that "freedom means freedom for everybody"; Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the leading contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008; former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), the main House author of DOMA; conservative commentator George Will, who announced on ABC's "This Week" that he opposes an amendment because state experiments with gay marriage may produce valuable information about whether the reform is worthwhile; conservative policy analyst James Q. Wilson, who likened a federal marriage amendment to that conservative bete noire, Roe v. Wade, in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal; and numerous other life-long conservatives who have consistently championed federalism.

Also present will be First Lady Laura Bush, who recently said that the gay-marriage issue should be discussed "sensitively" and should not be used for political purposes.

Karl Rove, the president's senior political advisor, could not be reached for comment.

The news report comes from HSEPA, the Hope Springs Eternal Press Agency.

Der Hahn (mail):
Additionally, after two years and more than 8,000 gay marriages in Massachusetts there have as yet been no "serious consequences throughout the country,"

This makes about as much sense as saying since Britney Spear's 'marriage' lasted for 55 hours, hetero marriage should be abolished.
6.4.2006 11:29am
Peter Wimsey:
Has April Fool's Day been moved?
6.4.2006 11:41am
Syd (mail):
"This makes about as much sense as saying since Britney Spear's 'marriage' lasted for 55 hours, hetero marriage should be abolished."

It's more like saying since her "marriage" didn't have any serious consequences for the institution of marriage, we don't need to abolish marriage.
6.4.2006 11:47am
Elais:
Peter Wimsey,

I was thinking the same thing. My immediate reaction was that this is a hoax of some kind.
6.4.2006 11:51am
Peter Wimsey:
Elais - yeah, the source for the news article is listed as "says a source within the National Security Agency who monitored a presidential telephone call to congressional allies on the subject."
6.4.2006 11:56am
Ramza (mail):
Bush dedicated support for the "Marriage Protection Amendment" yesterday, in his June 3 Radio Address.
6.4.2006 12:01pm
Gonerill (mail):
I heard the HSEPA Press Agency also recently put out a release that Kopel would stop dissembling about global warming.

It's not a hoax, guys, it's a joke from Dale.
6.4.2006 12:04pm
Public_Defender (mail):
In a related note, Massachusetts has taken its suppoert for gay marriage a step further:


Massachusetts Supreme Court Orders All Citizens To Gay Marry
February 25, 2004 | Issue 40•08

BOSTON—Justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled 5-2 Monday in favor of full, equal, and mandatory gay marriages for all citizens. The order nullifies all pre-existing heterosexual marriages and lays the groundwork for the 2.4 million compulsory same-sex marriages that will take place in the state by May 15.

"As we are all aware, it's simply not possible for gay marriage and heterosexual marriage to co-exist," Massachusetts Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall said. "Our ruling in November was just the first step toward creating an all-gay Massachusetts."

Marshall added: "Since the allowance of gay marriage undermines heterosexual unions, we decided to work a few steps ahead and strike down opposite-sex unions altogether." * * *
6.4.2006 12:05pm
Chico's Bail Bonds (mail):
I knew it was a joke before I even got to the fake newspaper article. Just read this line:

"It made no sense, that is, unless the president was acting on some principle under which he did not think, no matter the political cost, that we should amend the Constitution and strip the states of all power over the matter in order to cool the hot brow of the excitable partisan. Principle, not politics, must lay behind Bush's demurral."
6.4.2006 12:24pm
Huh:
I love fan fiction.

As the West Wing proved, everyone in either party can imagine a vastly better commander in chief than the one we've actually got. And that's not a dig at Bush. I think that's true at just about in moment in history.
6.4.2006 12:25pm
abb3w:
It's incredibly implausible. NSA employees are incredibly closemouthed — it's hard to get them to admit they work for the NSA, or at Fort Meade, and just short of impossible without the use of a rubber hose to get them to speak about anything they do at work. The phrasing is also iffy; the NSA would have no reason to monitor the President's phone calls, since the Secret Service already does.

NSA people are so closemouthed, they're reluctant to tell a waiter what they want for dinner. Given Bush's attitudes towards leaks, the idea of an NSA employee leaking political information that is due to come out on its own in a couple days is utterly inconceivable. I also note that the "speech" includes a parenthetical, and George Bush frankly admitting a specific mistake — two further implausibilities. I conclude this is another hoax floating on the Net Of A Million Lies.
6.4.2006 12:35pm
Ken Arromdee:
In this connection, an article in National Review claims that the experience of the Netherlands with same-sex marriage shows it *has* had an influence on traditional marriage.

Link here
6.4.2006 12:58pm
Hank:
What confirmed it as a hoax to me was Bush's line "Never before have we amended the Constitution to restrict the ability of the democratic process to expand individual rights." He would never acknowledge that gay marriage expands individual rights. Rather, he would say, it "threatens marriage," whatever that might mean.
6.4.2006 1:12pm
AppSocRes (mail):
Anyone who would waste this much effort on such a stupid and pointless joke would probably better serve himself, the Volokh conspiracy, and the yearning liberal masses by foregoing any further contributions to this blog and becoming a script writer for The West Wing.
6.4.2006 1:12pm
Shad:
Since this 'news report' is neither particularly original nor amusing, perhaps you could hide more of it below the fold so that it doesn't push the less fictitious and less obsessive posts by other contributors so far down the front page.

Also, though I realize they weren't written to apply to guest bloggers, you might want to consider a few of these helpful suggestions given in the VC comment policy:

* So please, also avoid rants, invective, substantial and repeated exaggeration
* Here's a tip: Reread your post, and think of what people would think if you said this over dinner. If you think people would view you as a crank, a blowhard, or as someone who vastly overdoes it on the hyperbole, rewrite your post before hitting enter.


Cheers.
6.4.2006 1:17pm
Humble Law Student:
For a joke, it just isn't that funny.
6.4.2006 1:23pm
JosephSlater (mail):
The bit about Bush putting principle before politics on this issue was hilarious.
6.4.2006 1:25pm
Thales (mail) (www):
It was extremely funny. Unfortunately for Dale, the joke brought out a slew of the usual hacks who take themselves and their convictions about gay marriage too seriously. I take heart in the fact that a large majority of Americans are for sensible, equal protections for gay couples. The generation that will hold the most political power in ten years and all forthcoming generations are in favor of full marriage rights for gays. Progress is possible, even in a culture of mouthbreathing know-nothings.
6.4.2006 1:51pm
Bruce Wilder (www):
"In light of experience, it appears President Bush has rethought the question."

It was when I reached the above sentence, I knew it was satire. Isn't that sad?
6.4.2006 1:59pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Funny would be Cheney and Rumsfeld coming out of the closet and proclaiming their passionate love at a pentagon news conference,finishing with an Al Gore style wet tongue kiss.
6.4.2006 2:10pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Looks like Scott Ott over at Scrappleface can rest easy.
6.4.2006 2:16pm
Randy R. (mail):
Since when would the president allow the NSA to monitor HIS OWN phone calls? I mean, that's beyond bizarre.

Bush suddenly puts principles above politics? Ha! Bush suddenly throws Dobson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Gary Bauer overboard? Ha again.

This is totally fake, and I can't believe anyone would fall for it. Is Rove up to his usual pranks?
6.4.2006 2:18pm
Randy R. (mail):
Of course, the chill that went up my spine is when the fake news release stated the Bush appointed judges, including two to the Supreme Court, that would not tamper with traditional marriage. For Bush to actually admit to this litmus test would be political suicide for the next confirmation.
6.4.2006 2:24pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
I particularly liked the bit at the bottom about the hope springs eternal press agency. I knew it was too good to be true from the start but I kept thinking 'maybe' through a good chunk of the article because I wanted it to be true.

I wasn't laughing out loud (more like half asleep and not realizing it was a joke and not an earnestly believed internet rumor) but I enjoyed the post. I just don't get all the animosity to this post in the comments. If you take your position so seriously you can't deal with some satire it's time to take a step back.

I find it interesting that so many people (including myself) found the idea of Bush admitting to a change of view so appealing. Why don't presidential politicians ever make admissions like this? I know my respect for a canidate would increase substantially if they made a public statement that they had changed their mind on a major issue in light of new evidence. No, this isn't the same thing that sank Kerry rather it was the perception amoung the public that he wasn't being straight and saying he changed his mind. Though whether or not you liked Kerry you have to admit his position (that the prez should have the authorization to credibly threaten war but shouldn't have done it in this case) was perfectly consistant.
6.4.2006 2:47pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Word around here is that his retraction is qualified. "I believe that gay citizens should be free to marry in America, so long as any children resulting from the wedlock are raised by decent, God-fearing, people."
6.4.2006 3:25pm
TallDave (mail) (www):
A hoax??

Wait, you mean there isn't really a "Hope Springs Eternal Press Agency?"
6.4.2006 3:26pm
Kim Scarborough (mail) (www):
Heh, you had me up to "But I was wrong". No way those words would ever come out of Bush's mouth,
6.4.2006 4:41pm
Fishbane (mail):
For all of those sniping at Dale over this, I have to ask: do you get paid for blowing political chafe? It can't be fun to snark at jokes all day. Why bother?
6.4.2006 5:23pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Patrick Kennedy finished his 28th day in rehab yesterday so he's due for a big party tomorrow night, gettin together with Denny Hastert, William Jefferson, and Marion Barry to smoke some blunts in Pat's private office then drivin by 1600 PA avenue in Jeffersons pimpin caddilac with their aks and uzis stickin out the window,and as long as theyre on their way to a committee hearing or something, they'll be untouchable.
6.4.2006 5:24pm
Perseus:
Never before have we adopted a constitutional amendment to limit the states' ability to control their own family law.

The Antebellum South determined the status of a child as free or slave by the condition of its mother. Hence the 13th amendment, which restricts involuntary servitude to persons who are duly convicted of a crime, was a profound limitation on the ability of states to control their own family law.
6.4.2006 6:50pm
Cornellian (mail):
I find it easier to believe that Bush would like to say this then that he actually would say this. I think the comments from Laura Bush (don't make an issue of SSM) and Cheney are closer to his own views. Bush's public statements on the subject are just an easy, low cost way to pacify the Dobson crowd.
6.4.2006 6:51pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
I am also reminded of a quote from Billy Madison:

"Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."
6.4.2006 7:20pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Recent reports that chronic marijuana smokers live four years longer than average has prompted Federal Government health Nazis to require everyone over 12 years of age to smoke at least 5 marijuana cigarettes a day or 20 puffs from a bong or vaporizer.

The Mexican government has signed a bi-lateral trade pact with the United States to help eliminate local shortages.
6.4.2006 7:34pm
Asher Abrams (mail) (www):
Dale, you had me going there for a minute.

Hope springs eternal, indeed.

{sigh}
6.4.2006 9:06pm
big dirigible (mail) (www):
Thanks for wasting my time.

And thanks to Instapundit for sending me here and wasting my time.
6.4.2006 9:14pm
Shangui (mail):
Thanks for wasting my time.
And thanks to Instapundit for sending me here and wasting my time.


Someone has wasted time on the internet?!? To quote Apu, "Such a thing has never been done!"
6.4.2006 9:25pm
John Herbison (mail):
Wow. This comments section shows that the acolytes of the church of the Cheerleader-in-chief are seriously irony challenged. What flavor is the Kool-aid today?
6.4.2006 9:32pm
therut:
Let us bring up Ann Coulter and her satire and the looney left will be asking for the FBI to investigate her. The left is also irony challenged.. Just to add I do not like Ann Coulter's writing. It is for the 25 and under people. Same as Frankilin, Dowd, Huffington , Hannity etc.
6.4.2006 9:49pm
Shangui (mail):
Let us bring up Ann Coulter and her satire and the looney left will be asking for the FBI to investigate her. The left is also irony challenged.

There is no doubt that the parts of the left are severely irony challenged, but what's the point of your claim here? Ann Coulter regularly says things about a hundred times more outrageous and inflamatory than anything in Dale's post. Do you have any examples of "the left" asking the FBI to investigate her? Why bring something up as a hypothetical when it's in fact NOT a hypothetical? And wasn't it "the right," i.e. the National Review, who fired her as a columnist first (some network did the same later)?
6.4.2006 10:31pm
Christopher Fotos (mail) (www):
Okay, you suckered me, Dale. So long.
6.4.2006 11:13pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
I think that Dale devotes a little too much energy into wishful thinking.
6.5.2006 12:01am
Jerry Mimsy (www):
I think satire is often wishful thinking disguised as cynicism.
6.5.2006 12:12am
Just:
Can you imagine the reaction if a non-gay conspirator posted this one? Laughing with us, v. at us, I suppose, and if you can't laugh...

It's funny though how symbolic things are so easy to shrug off when it's not you affected. ("the President doesn't really believe in the amendment, it's only politics-- look at the wife's public statements" or, or "those comments by McCloskey about the Holocaust were made years ago, I don't get it")

At least DC is blogging something. I really wish though that we lived in a more earnest, less "aw shucks" times where somebody with dignity and stature -- one of those good guys from the old school, pre-Boom, dying off now but who had built-in character to not make jokes (though I can see DC where that beats the alternative) -- could call the president's backing of this amendment for what it is -- shameful. politics or not. If you can't make the call on the easy ones and stand up and lead, well you're really no better than a Clinton now, but maybe it's that competitive win at all costs boomer mentality that is going to become the common norm as we age. along with privatization and nevermind we have something to learn from those left behind.

I can see why the light humor works better than those thoughts.
6.5.2006 1:33am
Rob Johnson (mail):
Here is where an otherwise good post got stupid:

Never before in the history of the country have we amended the Constitution in response to a threatened (or actual) state court decision. Never before have we amended the Constitution to preempt an anticipated federal court ruling. Never before have we adopted a constitutional amendment to limit the states' ability to control their own family law. Never before have we dictated to states what their own state laws and state constitutions mean. Never before have we amended the Constitution to restrict the ability of the democratic process to expand individual rights. This is no time to start


Dale,

We can all read the Massachusetts constitution. It doesn't contain a right to same-sex marriage.
6.5.2006 1:39am
Cornellian (mail):
Rob,

I don't get the point of your post. What does your quoted portion of the original post (which is all about the federal constitution) have to do with whether the Massachusetts constitution mandates same sex marriage? The quote says we've never dictated to individual states what their own state laws and constitution mean, and your reply is that the Massachusetts constitution doesn't mandate same sex marriage and that the quoted portion of the original post is "stupid." This seems like a non sequitur to me. What are you trying to say?
6.5.2006 2:06am
The Constructivist (mail) (www):
This is certainly better than that audition for Bush speechwriter on immigration that came out on a certain blog the weekend before Bush's actual speech. It's neither a hoax (despite being made up) nor a joke (even though it had a few funny moments), just a variation on the 'audition' genre. Perhaps the joke is on libertarian conservatives who still hope this presidency can be salvaged....
6.5.2006 4:58am
TFKW:
For my part, I thought the post was great. As a joke it is hilarious and pointed, and as an attempt to capture what the author wishes Bush would say, it's very nicely put together. As someone who just expects everyone to be reasonable, and wo expects Bush to behave idiosyncraticly anyway, I was taken in for quite a bit of it.

I wish there really were a HSEPA, though. I actually did a Google search on it hoping to find more pieces like this!
6.5.2006 6:53am
Public_Defender (mail):

Since this 'news report' is neither particularly original nor amusing, perhaps you could hide more of it below the fold so that it doesn't push the less fictitious and less obsessive posts by other contributors so far down the front page.


And people claim that feminists are the humorless ones.
6.5.2006 8:19am
John Thacker (mail):
Ah, hmm. Guess I'll have to abandon my support for Constitutional Amendments clarifying "public use" as against the definition held in Kelo, since after all "the people, through their elected representatives" have upheld the standard set by Kelo in many states by watering down or stopping bills intending to make it harder for the government to use eminent domain. That majorities of people in single-issue polls oppose the actions of their representatives is of course unimportant.

Darn.
6.5.2006 11:11am
Marcus1 (mail) (www):
I didn't realize it was a joke, but I did stop for several seconds to try to imagine President Bush pronouncing the word "demagogically."

Dale clearly has serious work to do before he could be a Bush speech writer...

(Good post. Of course, I don't think laughter was so much the aim as reflection. It does suggest, though, doesn't it, that all those other actions may not have been as principled as you thought?)
6.5.2006 11:55am
Tracy Johnson (www):
After hearing the excerpts of the speech on the radio, I think the "NSA" source just got caught in the traditional Tom Clancy "Canary Trap" if they were looking for leakers.
6.5.2006 3:19pm
Rob Johnson (mail):
Cornellian,

My post was woefully incomplete. Sorry about that. Allow me to spell out my premises more completely.

If the Massachusetts constitution does not contain a right to same-sex marriage, like I assert, what have you got in Massachusetts?

Well, you have got a situation where the citizens are currently being forced to recognize same-sex marriages without ever agreeing to do so by (1) explicit legislation authorizing same-sex marriage or (2) implicit constitutional precommitments requiring recognition of same-sex marriage? In other words, if there is no right to same-sex marriage in the Massachusetts constitution, then Goodridge compromised popular sovereignty in Massachusetts on a matter that goes to the very center of our society--marriage.

Article IV, Section IV, of the federal Constitution contains a clause guaranteeing the State a "Republican form of government." While there is extensive debate over the specific meaning of the so-called "Guarantee Clause," at its core is a guarantee of popular sovereignty. See Amar, "The Central Meaning of Republican Government," 65 U. Colo. L. Rev. 749.

Thus, assuming Goodridge is wrong, like I assert. We've got a federal problem that requires a federal response. Our federal constituion promises the citizens of Massachusetts a Republican form of government, and we need to make good on that promise.

FYI, my preferred version of the federal marriage amendment would say something like:

NOTHING IN THIS CONSTITUTION OR IN THE CONSTITUTION OF ANY STATE CREATES A RIGHT FOR A PERSON TO MARRY ANOTHER PERSON OF HIS OR HER OWN GENDER. NOTWITHSTANDING THE FOREGOING, A STATE MAY CREATE SUCH A RIGHT UNDER ITS OWN CONSTITUTION BY AMENDING IT TO PROVIDE: "A PERSON MAY MARRY ANOTHER PERSON OF HIS OR HER OWN GENDER."
6.5.2006 3:36pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
GENDER IS A GRAMMATICAL TERM DUMBASS,THE CORRECT USAGE IS "SEX".
6.5.2006 4:13pm
Rob Johnson (mail):
Thanks for the substantive comments Frank.
6.5.2006 4:18pm
gramm:
Very funny, Dale. Thanks.
6.5.2006 6:04pm
Rob Johnson (mail):
One important implication of my argument above is that a person who (1) supports same-sex marriage on policy grounds, but (2) objects to its judicial imposition (Eugene, am I describing you accurately?) can and should support a federal marriage amendment. A principled advocate for same-sex marriage should cringe, not rejoice, over Goodridge. Can I get an amen Eugene???
6.5.2006 6:50pm
wood turtle (mail):
"There have been no insuperable complications arising from discordant state approaches to the recognition of same sex relationships."

I can think of a few problems here. You have different states with different recognition of same sex marriage rather than one country that recognizes it.

What happens with a federal program such as social security, or a program targeted towards families? Would the federal government support or refuse same sex marriage? In a same sex marriage, can the survivor claim benefits under social security?

What if the married gay couple has health insurance from a company in a state that does not recognize same sex marriage? Can they refuse spousal coverage?

What happens if there is an accident in a state where same sex marriage is not recognized? If there is an accidental death, can the state refuse to recognize survivor's benefits?

It seems there might be a lot of complications arising from different marital law among all the states, that it would be advantageous to just recognize gay marriage througout the whole country.
6.6.2006 1:14pm