Civil Marriage, Civil Rights

By Kaiser, Charles | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), March 30, 2004 | Go to article overview

Civil Marriage, Civil Rights


Kaiser, Charles, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


The uproar over same-sex marriage is the greatest, thing to happen to the Republican Party since Richard Nixon's handlers perfected the art of demonizing the black underclass in 1968--a strategy that helped the Republicans win five of the next six presidential elections, culminating in George Bush I's notorious Willie Horton ads, which helped to ensure Michael Dukakis's defeat in 1988.

Thanks in large measure to a majority of sensible judges on the supreme judicial court of Massachusetts, lesbians and gay men have now displaced African-Americans as the favorite bogeymen (and -women) of the Republican Party. Faced with a jobless recovery, disintegrating conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the worst poll numbers of George W. Bush's administration, cynical Republicans are desperate to change the subject. Who can blame them for trying to get us to focus on manned space flights to Mars and same-sex marriage?

Barney Frank identified the crucial question years ago, when Congress passed the notorious Defense of Marriage Act. If gay marriage is finally legalized in America, he asked, are married men going to "smack themselves on the head and say, 'Wow, I could have married a man!'?"

That's not the reason the Republicans are offering for their newest preoccupation, which includes "semidaily" contact between Republican strategists in D.C. and chief aides to Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, a fervent opponent of the decision by his state's highest court. The Republicans' reason, as comedian Bill Maher explained, is that gay marriage "does something to the 'sanctity of marriage,' as if anything you can do drunk out of your mind in front of an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas could be considered sacred. Half the people who pledge eternal love are doing it because one of them is either knocked up, rich, or desperate, but in George Bush's mind, marriage is only a beautiful lifetime bond of love and sharing--kind of like what his Dad has with the Saudis."

All this would be hilarious if it weren't so deadly serious. …

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