Veiled Threats – The Progressive, 7/30/2002

On May 15, 2002, six members of the House of Representatives introduced a proposed constitutional amendment that says, “marriage shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.” Don’t throw your rice pudding at me until I finish telling you why I’m all for this prenuptial agreement. Hint: my “We Don’t Want Your Stinkin’ Marriage” campaign never caught on.

Why this proposed amendment now, you might ask? Or you might not, depending on your level of distraction from unspecified warnings of possible attacks, or possible warnings of unspecified attacks. My Google search engine, usually so chipper and self-congratulatory about the time it takes to find stuff for me, seems to be in orange “Apocalypse Pretty Soon” threat level and is “preparing to work at an alternate site.” For some reason, it won’t cough up the info I seek, but I bet those six House members need some fast campaign cash.

The lead sponsor of the measure, Rep. Ronnie Shows, [D-MS] say that the amendment is necessary to protect the sanctity of marriage and that “the overwhelming consensus among Americans is that we must not allow the institution of marriage to be degraded”.

As if!

As if heterosexuals all by themselves were not completely capable of degrading marriage through divorce, pricey annulments, child abuse, domestic violence. Straight people have been doing the aerial bombing of marriage for quite some time. Now gay people are the robot drones sent in to do the hand-to-hand combat and mop up operations in the Canna caves?

As if homosexuals were that powerful. Although, come to think of it, we have been recently credited with the destruction of the US Catholic Church through bouts of “ecclesiastic flamboyance.” Sidebar: you just wish sometimes that the Church protected children as much as they protect fetuses.

Add to our degradation of same-old-sex marriage, our devastation of the military and it should become clear to someone – hullo, Donald Rumsfeld – that we are an underused weapon of capital M and small m, mass destruction. We’re a veritable Triple Crown: The Priestness, The Breeder’s Cup, The Kandahar Derby.

Discussions of the amendment are dryly juridical, all full faith and credit, state’s rights, and federalist principles. Bob Barr who sponsored the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) said the amendment goes too far because it violates the principle of state’s rights. Bob Barr accusing someone of going too far! Fire up those Giggle Search engines! Ari Fleischer said, “All I know is that it’s already the law of the land, signed by Bill Clinton. The president supports the law of the land in this case.” In other cases, he pretty much does whatever he wants, Ari did not add.

Christopher Andres, of the ACLU, perhaps succumbing hyperbolic atmosphere of our time, [see tortured ‘Canna cave’ reference above], called the proposed amendment “the legal equivalent of a nuclear bomb.” Others have called it “The American Gothic Amendment”, calling to mind either the famous farm couple aesthetic or Dick and Lon Cheney’s last Christmas card.

To me it’s Anita Bryant, but bigger. It’s Lane Bryant. Anita’s “Save the Children” campaign which always sounded like a set aside program, mobilized a whole generation of gay activists. But in a narrow way. We’ve become too comfortably single-issued to get riled up about the end-of-welfare-as-we-know-it law which would punish the poor while rewarding heterosexual marriage. We barely paid attention past the grudging posthumous salutes to gay heroes of September 11, to the ongoing story of denial of benefit claims to surviving gay and unmarried straight partners. We think the priestly marriage issue is separate from us. We are bought off, bought in, assimilated, living ma vida en rose loca in white, affluent gay-ted communities with our very own gay channels.

The last thing we need is another fight about gay marriage, but bring it one. Anything to get people engaged. As for me, I prefer to live in sin.