‘Protecting’ the institution of marriage

Craig Pirner

Tuesday, President Bush assumed his “President” face (you know the one) to announce his endorsement of a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Protecting marriage is just that important, the President, er, ‘reasoned.’

Not surprisingly, the TV pundits had a heyday. Dr. James Dobson, founder of the conservative group Focus on the Family, was interviewed by Aaron Brown on CNN’s “Newsnight.” Dobson’s comments are a classic case of double-speak:

Dobson: What [gay marriage] means is that the definition of marriage will mean everything. And when it means everything, it means nothing.

Brown: Are you more accepting of the idea of civil unions, something that provides the same legal guarantees of marriage, but under a different word?

Dobson: No, that’s what we call quasi-marriage….I’ve already mentioned that the so-called rights issue can be dealt with. But just don’t call it marriage.

Let’s, finally, be clear: most of the advocates of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage-including the amendment’s author, conservative kook Rep. Marilyn Musgrave-would just as happily ban gays altogether. Their way of dealing with that pesky “so-called rights issue” is the constitutional sanctioning of discrimination. Bush has officially joined their camp.

Despite Dobson’s admonishment to treat all people “compassionately,” his organization’s website is laden with the classic claims against gays: homosexuality is fake, a result of confusion; gays are actively recruiting young boys in schools into a lifestyle of sex, drugs and cosmology; gays are having rampant oral sex with multiple partners in the restroom just off Main Street, USA. My favorite section is the “bookstore,” which includes titles like A Parents’ Guide to Preventing Homosexuality and Dark Obsession: The Tragedy and Threat of the Homosexual Lifestyle. The Family Research Council, another Bush favorite, claims that gays are disease-laden. I even learned about the perilous “Gay Bowel Syndrome” (I’ve assume it’s closely related to “Bush Bowel Syndrome,” which involves a large pole of some sort). If that’s not enough compassion for you, be sure to purchase your ticket to “Love Won Out,” Dobson’s “dynamic one-day conference addressing, understanding, and preventing homosexuality.” It’s sad that you’ll be exploring such dark issues in sunny Pensacola, Fla.

As it turns out, Bush, Dobson and Musgrave are about as compassionate as Jerry Falwell. Their rhetoric-insidiously disguised in the form of books, conferences and “compassionate conservatism”-makes it pretty clear that they believe “God hates fags,” too. The thing is, their proposed Constitutional amendment will do far more harm than any hateful sign Jerry Falwell waves at the next gay funeral.

Since Constitutional war has been declared, I’d love to ask the Bush administration and their allies a few questions.

Bush surely feels the Founding Fathers are on his side. If I could, I’d ask James Madison if he thought his marriage was threatened when Thomas Jefferson slept with slaves.

I’d like to ask FCC chairman Michael Powell if he thinks there should be a Constitutional amendment banning boobs-gay men just might go for that one!

I’d like to ask CIA director George Tenet if he’s enjoying being out of media spotlight for a few days, since his boss apparently thinks that protecting marriage is more important than obtaining intelligence that actually prevents terrorist attacks (or does Bush just think it’s more likely to win him votes now that polls show Kerry and Edwards beating him?).

I’d like to ask Lynne Cheney if she bought A Parents’ Guide to Preventing Homosexuality after she learned her daughter was a lesbian. Or, did Dr. Dobson give her a complimentary copy?

Now that we’ve had a few gay weddings in San Francisco, I’d like to ask Laura Bush if she feels her marriage with George is threatened by all of those couples outside City Hall. If she does, how does she protect herself when Lynne Cheney’s daughter and her partner come over for dinner? Will her love for George be stronger after she knows the Constitution bans such blasphemy?

If you cannot tell, I’m a bit confused why Bush, Dobson, Musgrave and all of the representatives who have endorsed her amendment think that the remote marriage of two men or two women threatens their spiritual well-being. I’m even more befuddled how a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage will make them feel any more blessed.

I do know that passage of the marriage amendment would make them feel vindicated, because constitutional banning of gay marriage is about as close to banning gays as they’ll get. And thank God for that.

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