Precinct 333

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Why Homosexual Marriage Matters In 2004 Election

Jeffrey Bell and Frank Cannon write an excellent piece on why gay marriage is a crucial issue in 2004, and why the candidates cannot avoid it.

On August 3, a judge in Washington state decreed that the framers of that state's constitution included a right to homosexual marriage in the state constitution when they adopted the document in the nineteenth century. On the same day, voters in Missouri became the first to amend their state constitution to forbid homosexual marriage. That day made it clear that what we face -- the people oppose homosexual marriage (even when, as in Missouri, supporters of homosexual marriage outspent opponents by 40-1), but the judiciary seems intent upon contorting itself to find it in our laws and constitutions. What can be done about this disconnect.

President Bush supports an amendment to the US Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Kerry, feigning a belief in federalism, argues that the matter should be decided state-by-state. But given that the decision is coming from judges rather than the legislature or the people, that seems to beg the issue -- especially if a federal judge discerns the right in the US Constitution and a liberal Supreme Court stacked with Kerry appointees upholds the decision. After all, both Democrat nominees are on record against the Defense of Marriage Act (supposedly designed to allow for the states to make their own decision on homosexual marriage), and both have voted against amendment the US Constitution.

As a result, the issue of homosexual marriage must be one in this election. Why?
Events such as those last week in Missouri and Washington are making it less and less likely that Kerry, and the Democrats who cheered him in Boston, will get their wish. Kerry has made it clear that he and Edwards are personally opposed to same-sex marriage, so the debate will not be about the merits of this impending social change. Kerry, remember, has "no problem" with the Missouri vote. Yet everyone knows that, if left to themselves, judges like the ones in Massachusetts and Washington state will override the preferences of the 70 percent or so of Americans who likewise oppose same-sex marriage.

When it comes up in the fall campaign, as it certainly will, the issue will be what to do about this collision between democratic decision-making and judicial ambition. President Bush will have a clear answer: He will fight to preserve marriage, and his opponent will not. How does Bush know this? Kerry opposes changing the Constitution to preserve traditional marriage. He was one of 14 senators to vote against legislation to let states preserve it. And he is committed to appointing the kind of federal judges who created the problem in the first place.

That is the debate John Kerry can no longer avoid.

Or, put differently, it's about letting the will of the people or the will of the judges to prevail, and only President Bush is on the side of the people, when one cuts through all the Democrat dissembling.


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