By Scott Tibbs, February 26th, 2004
Bush right to support Federal Marriage Amendment
The New York Times February 25 editorial begins with the following: "With his re-election campaign barely started and his conservative base already demanding tribute, President Bush proposes to radically rewrite the Constitution."
I think that statement is a bit hyperbolic. Prohibition of homosexual marriage is not radical; it is a mainstream stance. Ideally, the amendment would not be necessary. The problem is the Massachusetts state Supreme Court's decision requiring Massachusetts to recognize homosexual marriages. There is legitimate concern the federal courts (or the Supreme Court) would declare that states must recognize homosexual marriages. The fact that San Francisco city officials are flagrantly violating California state law and issuing "marriage" licenses to homosexual couples is also a concern.
Ideally, no amendment would be needed, but an activist judiciary has made it necessary for the issue of homosexual marriage to be settled Constitutional law. The amendment "takes away" no rights because no state in the Union currently recognizes same-sex marriages.
The Times also states Senator John Kerry "opposes gay marriage but also opposes a Constitutional amendment". Exactly how does Kerry propose to stop something he opposes without a Constitutional amendment, considering the risk that the courts could decide the issue themselves, forcing the states to recognize homosecual marriage by fiat? Kerry's position looks like doubletalk to me.
That said, I do not support the amendment as currently written because it takes away the right of the states to make the decision for themselves. If the people of a state, though their elected representatives, want to recognize homosexual marriages they should be able to do so providing that religious liberty is protected. The Federal Marriage Amendment should be rejected, replaced with a different version that denies federal recognition of same-sex marriages but protects the right of the states to make their own decision on the matter. This, of course, would mean that no state would be required to, under the "full faith and credit" clause, recognize homosexual marriages performed in another state.