Thursday, July 15, 2004

Gay marriage debate stifled by more mush



Peter Bronson

Gay marriage is the greatest moral issue of our times - but not important enough for a vote in the U.S. Senate.

That's the liberal-media-Democrats' position in a can: Campbell's Condensed Cream of Hypocrite Soup.

But here's a surprise. It also tastes just like the broth spooned out by Ohio's Republican senators, Mike DeWine and George Voinovich.

DeWine said voting on a constitutional amendment to protect the traditional definition of marriage is "unnecessarily divisive in the heat of a political campaign."

A Voinovich spokesman said, "He's had some concerns about whether we're politicizing marriage - marriage is sacred, and should we be treating marriage as an election-year pawn?"

If I didn't know these were Ohio's distinguished senators who both oppose gay marriage, I'd think they were sock puppets for the Democrats' talking points: "It's too divisive. It's too political. It's just a distraction. Why not let the courts decide?"

It's the kind of thing that drives conservatives crazy. Left-wing Democrats like Ted Kennedy slash and stab with switchblade rhetoric about bigotry and intolerance. And the alleged conservatives on the Republican side of the rumble think it's a pillow fight.

That allows the press to portray the debate as a disaster for Republicans, hiding the real story: Gay marriage is a minefield in the path of John Kerry. It has been strangely overlooked in the front-page stories about divided Republicans, that Democrats were ready to filibuster to save Sens. Kerry and Edwards from a vote on gay marriage.

Republicans at least agree with most voters. Polls show two-thirds of Americans oppose gay marriage. Thirty-eight states have approved laws to define marriage as one man and one woman, many by large majorities. The same Defense of Marriage Act was passed overwhelmingly by Congress in 1996 - and signed by President Clinton. The amendment killed in the Senate on Wednesday simply said marriage "shall consist only of a man and a woman."

Saying that's "too political" for the Senate in an election year is like saying "Duh!" is "too stupid'' for Homer Simpson. Politics is the "Duh!" of the Senate. Why not debate gay marriage in an election year?

The answer is between the lines of Kerry's "I feel strongly both ways" position: He says he's against gay marriage, but opposes a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage from the courts.

That would let a few federal judges, appointed for life, pull the Massachusetts Supreme Court's trick and force gay marriage on the nation. And the Kerry crowd will stand back and say, "It's not my fault - the courts have ruled."

A constitutional amendment is not political Cup-a-Soup. But this battle was started by gay-rights crusaders, who think two-thirds of Americans are "bigoted" if they want to stick with a traditional definition of marriage that has served civilization and protected families since Fred Flintstone married Wilma.

Yes, it's divisive. Yes, it's uncomfortable. And yes, it's the moral issue of our generation.

That's why we elect leaders to represent us. There's more to serving in the Senate than wearing nice suits and spending other people's money. Sometimes we expect them to roll up their sleeves and fix the national plumbing before we wake up and find the basement flooded with gay marriages.

DeWine and Voinovich sound like they've been asked to fix a leaky toilet - and they can't stand to get their hands dirty.

E-mail pbronson@enquirer.com or call 768-8301.




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