It's quite long, and I can't say I agree with 100% of it, but he raises some interesting points and I do think it's worth a read.
I think I'm now officially burnt out on the gay marriage debate.
Welcome Instapundit readers! Make yourselves at home.
The text of the speech is here.
First off, no matter what people may have you believe, he did not endorse the FMA, he did not endorse H. J. RES. 56 or S. J. RES 26 which have been introduced in Congress. He called for AN amendment, but not any particular amendment. He never endorses any particular wording for the amendment. No mention is made of the troublesome "legal incidents thereof". He doesn't say civil unions should be banned at the same time. In fact, he actually says it should protect marriage while leaving the door open for other arrangements like civil unions.
The amendment should fully protect marriage, while leaving the state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage.
Secondly, he addresses how this isn't necessarily an action against states' rights.
The Constitution says that full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts and records and judicial proceedings of every other state. Those who want to change the meaning of marriage will claim that this provision requires all states and cities to recognize same-sex marriages performed anywhere in America. Congress attempted to address this problem in the Defense of Marriage Act, by declaring that no state must accept another state's definition of marriage. My administration will vigorously defend this act of Congress.
Yet there is no assurance that the Defense of Marriage Act will not, itself, be struck down by activist courts. In that event, every state would be forced to recognize any relationship that judges in Boston or officials in San Francisco choose to call a marriage. Furthermore, even if the Defense of Marriage Act is upheld, the law does not protect marriage within any state or city.
I believe... that marriage is between a man and a woman. That's my belief. If the amendment provides for partnership and civil union... that would be a good amendment.
Keeping in mind the President's "free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage" belief, would anybody care to point out how Kerry's position differs from that of President Bush.
I expect not, but since President Bush is a conservative some have no problem distorting his stance and calling him a bigot.
It's been pointed out that the clip I was working off of above for Senator Kerry's quote was actually in reference to a hypothetical Massachusetts amendment. That would mean that Kerry is taking a more statesí rights approach to gay marriage, but all the same he comes out banning gay marriage and allowing for civil unions, the same as President Bush.
Those calling President Bush a bigot, or who say heís homophobic and that he doesnít like gays arenít doing so because of qualms over statesí rights. Theyíre doing so because he wants to define marriage as between a man and a woman, the same as Senator Kerry so I stand by the conclusion that heís getting more heat than a liberal for the same opinions.
Brian Griffin has responded to my first post on the subject and now the ball's back in my court. [He now has trackback, so now we can both know exactly when we have a problem with each other. :)]
Bush and his horde are against gay rights.
Thatís just not true. President Bush has said that he has no problem with civil unions so long as they start at the state level and arenít foisted upon the populace by the judiciary.
ď[T]he position of this administration is that whatever legal arrangements people want to make, they're allowed to make, so long as it's embraced by the state, or does start at the state level.Ē
-- NY Times
Itís also worth noting that John Kerry "says his position is the same as that of Bush's Vice President, Dick Cheney."(Yahoo)
Rob even tried to float the idea from radio talk show host, a real "authority," that heterosexual men have no more rights to marry men they gay men do. I hope he is just trying to be funny, because that is laughable as a reason. I guess he would say that if a black man could not marry a white woman, that is not discrimination as long as a white man could not marry a black woman.
First off, Iím going to stick with equal rights and equal protection and not wade into the semantics of the word "discrimination" here. Secondly, the argument came independently of any radio host. Thirdly, Iím willing to bet that Neal Boortz with his law degree, is more of an authority on the legal definition of equal protection than Brian.
If you view the word "marriage" by its historical definition, the union of a man and a woman, then the prohibition of interracial marriage would of course not be an equality of rights and would be a violation of equal protection. This however is not a universe where the definition of marriage has historically been simply the union of two people and thus the parallels between gay marriage and interracial marriage are not as strong as you may like.
Bush wants to both ban homosexual marriage and civil unions. Greg Mann comments on why the Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment does both.
There seems to be a great deal of debate over that second sentence. A great many very smart and unbigoted people canít agree on whether it would outlaw civil unions. It seems to me that it says that rights canít be given to ďunmarriedĒ couples simply because the rights are given to married couples. Would this disallow giving similar rights to couples in another type of union? I donít think so, but I think the wording should be cleared up and I wouldnít support anything that would outlaw civil unions. As I pointed out above, President Bush seems to have no problem with civil unions so long as they start at the state level and arenít forced upon a state by judges.
And because the quote bears repeating:
"[T]he position of this administration is that whatever legal arrangements people want to make, they're allowed to make, so long as it's embraced by the state, or does start at the state level."
-- NY Times
In fact, the group that originally drafted the text has said it would be willing to change the text to ensure that states still have the right to set up civil unions.
When that text was drafted by the Alliance for Marriage, no one was really thinking about the phenomenon of civil unions. We are willing to make it explicit and unambiguous that the goal is not to deprive the states of existing authority over benefits, including, if they wish, civil unions.
Damn, even the people who drafted the amendment say they're willing to make it clear it wouldn't ban civil unions. Where are all these bigots I keep hearing about.
If civil unions was something Bush supported he would be doing the logically thing, including an establishment of civil unions in the Marriage ĎDefenseí Amendment. Why will that not happen?
Why wonít it happen? Because supporting civil unions and making them law in every state are two completely different matters. As he has said, it is the administrationís position that civil unions must be established by the states, not thrust upon them by judges or the Federal government.
Those pushing the Amendment do not want to provide equal rights or any level of rights to gays or lesbians on issues they can't claim otherwise. That is bigotry, and Bush is supporting it.
I'll refer you to before where the people who actually wrote the amendment have said they have no problem allowing for civil unions and the rights they provide. There's nothing to show Bush has anything but a States Rights stance when it comes to civil unions.
And moving on to one of Brian's other posts on the response of the Republican audience when Governor Schwarzenegger took a stand on San Francisco's mayor breaking the law...
Arnold could have used a little less glee in his enforcement of shutting out gays from marriage. The cheers make those Republicans sound like bigots, which I would bet they are. Yep, I called someone else a bigot! Better start complaining that I called a duck a duck.
The problem is not that you're labeling bigots as bigots; it's that your definition of bigot is simplistic enough that it's the equivalent of defining a duck as a white thing with wings. Is a duck a white thing with wings? Sure, but so are swans and the White House. Are some of the people who were clapping bigots? Maybe, but to label them all as bigots lumps the people who simply want the rule of law followed and who donít think itís the job of the Mayor of one city in California to decide what the state will recognize as marriage in with the ducks. Sure youíre probably calling some ducks ducks but youíre also calling a great number of other winged creatures and executive residences ducks while youíre at it.
You can't expect people to take your arguments too seriously when you go around making accusations of bigotry against every person that applauds a governor saying the law should be enforced or simply has an opinion different than yours. The brush being used to paint here is so broad that it could stretch from coast to coast and it's wielded at the slightest whim.
Please, if you can, show me where President Bush has said heís against equal rights for gays. (I can show you where he has said heís for them.)
Please, show me where he has said he would like to outlaw all civil unions. (I can show you where he says he wouldn't.)
Please, show me where those pushing the amendment say it has to outlaw civil unions and all rights for gays. (I can show you where they're willing to make it clear that it doesn't.)
Please, show me some kind of proof that the people in the room with Governor Schwarzenegger were applauding keeping the gays down and not just a governor taking a firm stand on a mayor breaking the law.
In the zeal for a black and white world when it comes to gay marriage everything short of "white as the driven snow" is being lumped in with black and it isn't helping the cause.
Brian Griffin has a link saying Bush will probably support an amendment to define marriage as a union of a man and a woman. To Brian this makes President Bush a bigot. Not that him calling people bigots is that out of the ordinary, the word's appeared in his blog 36 times in the past month.
Being in favor of defining marriage a certain way is nowhere close to the same thing as being a bigot. There are plenty of reasons someone might be in favor of an amendment to define marriage without it being bigotry.
Throughout history marriage has been defined as a union between a man and a woman. Why should the courts be allowed to change that definition based on trumped up equal rights grounds? Homosexuals have the same right to marry someone of the opposite sex as heterosexuals have, and heterosexuals have the same limits preventing them from marrying someone of the same sex. The ability to marry whomever you please is not currently a right.
This is the text of the proposed amendment: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."
Now we come to the part of my post where I ask a bunch of questions and answer them all ďNo.Ē
Would this proposed text ban civil unions? No. Would supporting this mean that somebody is opposed to the idea of civil unions? No.
Does George Bush support gay marriage? No, but then neither do John Kerry or John Edwards. Does this mean that theyíre bigots? No, opposition to the redefinition of a word does not equate bigotry.
All that being said, if you want to add a system like civil unions, whereby loving homosexuals can commit themselves to one another, then I say go for it. The more people in committed relationships the better, but getting judges to make up non-existent rights and getting Mayors to break the law and calling everyone that isnít 100% with you a bigot isnít the way to go about it. If you want to do it right youíre going to need to go through the legislatures and try and win the people over.