Tuesday, February 24, 2004


President Bush has fired the first major shot in the cultural war over marriage, urging a constitutional amendment banning all gay marriages. The battle has just begun and I'm sure that most everyone is already tired of it.

So he's "protecting the sanctity of marriage". Against what? Who is fighting against marriage? Since Bush intends to spend millions to counsel on marriage, you might think he would favor those who wish to unite in marriage.

An amendment fostering further intrusion of the federal government into personal matters is another Bush administration political move adverse to the interest of Americans. And it would "solve" only one-half of the problem. What about civil unions?
The reason given of reducing litigation disputing recognition of out-of-state marriages
does nothing regarding civil union lawsuits.

Governments, state and federal, should get out of the marriage business. All should be forbidden to regulate, or even name, an institution called "marriage". Rights and duties relating to any civil unions, including rights of children, should be subject to reasonable regulation. Perhaps even a minimum federal standard should be enacted.

Let people, let religions, deal with "marriage". Get governments out of the act.

Sunday, February 22, 2004


The recent action of the mayor of San Francisco, permitting same sex marriage in his city, adds fuel to fires stirred up by the Massachusetts court decision granting to gays and lespians the right to marry in its state. If nothing changes, we are destined for at least a year of cultural and political discord over the issue of gay marriage.

And, if nothing changes, we are in for years and years of expensive and time consuming legal battles over the basic right, as well as the recognition by other states of San Francisco and Massachusetts marriages.

Most Republicans will probably decry the possibility of recognition of the right of gay people to marry. President Bush may well continue efforts to have all Americans follow various tenets of his faith. Many Democrats, and even David Brooks, support the right of gays to marry. But in the presidential election campaign, Mr. Bush, invoking God and family values, will make them pay for it. And we all must endure the din.

However, almost all Presidential and other political candidates will waffle on the issue, treating it, like Social Security reform, as a political 3rd rail. Most of the moderates will say they support legal rights equivalent to marriage rights (separate but equal?). Others wills just say, as Dick Cheney does, let the states decide.

But letting the states decide will create a legal mess and is sure to result in prohibition of gay marriage in many states. Couples will go forum shopping for states that will permit them to marry. All this sound and fury over an issues that we can easily avoid.

The solution - take marriage off the table. Get the body politic out of the marriage business

Let marriage be the private commitment that it really is. Those who wish can choose marriage, and label it as such, in accordance with their faith, spiritual values, ethics, or other personal beliefs. It may or may not be church or religion-related; that depends of the tenets of the religion and the wishes of the couple.

On the other hand, the state should have nothing to do with the institution of marriage. Its concern should only be civil union and the regulation of the legalities of formation and dissolution, basic rights and obligations of the parties, and economic benefits attendant to the union. The state's role as protector of children remains unchanged.

So change the words, get the state completely out of the institution of "marriage".

With all of this marriage turmoil behind us, we can concentrate on real issues such as Liza Mannelli's left hook.