The Long View
If you want a thorough fisking of our esteemed President’s radio address yesterday (dedicated to the Federal Marriage Amendment , natch, because that’s the most pressing issue we face as a country), see Ted’s blog entry . It seems to me that this issue only comes up when Bush needs to appeal to the [STRIKEOUT:facists] [STRIKEOUT:zealots] [STRIKEOUT:bigots] [STRIKEOUT:wackos] Republican base. But that would imply he was simply pandering, which we know he wouldn’t do — he’s a uniter, not a divider; a straight shooter, remember?
So I’d like to share a story with you to give us some perspective on the issue. Last year our neighborhood association voted to modify our convenant for what I believe was the first time since the neighborhood’s inception, sometime around 1920. The primary motivator was to raise association dues; they were stuck at an appallingly low $5 per year, with a voluntary $30 security fee also levied to keep Bob in donuts and old cop cars. As you might guess, $35 per year per house does not get the neighborhood much. Some landscaping. Dirt day (where they dump big piles of dirt in several strategic places so people can replenish their landscaping; I can’t make this up). And Bob in the cop car with the donuts so we can continue to have “security patrolled” on our lovely “Welcome to Southwood Park” signs.
Along with the dues increase were a couple other changes. One banned renting to people other than family members, to combat the perceived threat of absentee-landlord-ism. And the last one, which everyone rightly seemed ashamed to mention, struck language from our convenant that prohibited people of “Ethiopian or Mongolian descent” from owning property in lovely Southwood Park. As you might imagine, no one wanted to discuss this amendment, we just wanted to get it through. Its a bit disturbing to realize you signed a statement in which you agreed to obey the neighborhood covenant only to find out it includes such blatant bigotry. If the Federal Marriage Amendment ever passes, this is what we’re saddling future generations with: an embarassing 21st Amendment repeat, to be completed under cover of political darkness so they can finally put the embarassing mistakes of forefathers behind them (see: 3/5 Compromise ).
So why will future generations need to repeal the hopeful 28th Amendment? Because people will realize that marriage isn’t just about children, its about two people committing to one-another? Perhaps. Or maybe (hopefully) they won’t. Maybe instead the people will demand that same-sex couples be given rights, regardless of this silly amendment, and state legislators, in their desire to remain in office, will construct a seperate but equal institution. We’ll call it civil union for the sake of argument. And while they’re at it, some enlightened state legislatures will define civil unions broadly, as a civil agreement between two people regardless of sex (excepting siblings, first cousins, minors, dogs, cats and Mr. Ed). So when opposite-sex couples have the option of a)entering into a union as an expression of their love to one another, or b)entering into a union that smacks of religious fundamentalism and bigotry, perhaps they’ll choose the former.
Wouldn’t that be deliciously ironic? In their desire to not look like complete assholes, some amendment backers have said, in effect,
“Look, civil unions are one thing; of course those faggots should be able to cry like queens in the hospital when one of them deservingly dies! Just don’t touch marriage. It’s special.” So what if civil unions are really the more subversive of the two options? What if people finally realize that marriage is a religious ceremony with no business in our government what-so-ever? Here’s hoping.