Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Wednesday | August 13, 2003

New push against gay marriage

Those wily Republicans are at it again, reintroducing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. As the wingnut Lou Sheldon put it, "You can't rule a constitutional amendment unconstitutional".

In years past, this could be shrugged off as the usual work of the usual bunch of christian wackos within the GOoPer caucus. But they have a new secret weapon -- the expected decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to legalize gay marriage. The hysteria this is generating could be enough to push it through the House, though its prospects in the Senate would be much weaker.

And then there's the whole issue about states rights that might also help derail the amendment:

Conservatives who have long warned that the federal government has too much power over the states find a constitutional amendment depriving states of one of their most long-standing jurisdictions -- marriage laws -- highly unpalatable. Even a chief DOMA sponsor, former Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., has said he opposes a constitutional amendment on those grounds.

Roger Pilon, vice president for legal affairs at the libertarian Cato Institute, said the problem with the amendment is that "it defines marriage for the entire country, which I find inconsistent with the federalism principle at the core of the Constitution. Family law has always been a state issue, not a federal issue."

If it made it through Congress, however, could it garner the 3/4 of states (38) necessary for passage? I doubt the amendment would pass in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. That would be enough to kill the amendment, without considering the more libertarian states like Alaska, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, etc.

It's not an effort that has much of a chance of success, but it must, of course, be taken seriously. And if it does make it to the states, it's sure to be hugely divisive.

So get ready for the push moments after the MA SJC issues its ruling. It will get really ugly, really fast.

Posted August 13, 2003 09:37 AM


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