quasi in rem

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Vile, Vicious and hateful?

Rosie O'Donnell just got married in San Francisco, to the cheers of the gathering throng. (Ed. for some reason the words Rosie O'Donnell and throng seem wrong in the same sentence)She said she was inspired to do so based on the "vile vicious and hateful" words of the President on Tuesday.

That seems a little over the top but lets see for ourselves:

"THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Eight years ago, Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage for purposes of federal law as the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. "

So far so good. Nothing but an honest recounting of history.

"The Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 342 to 67, and the Senate by a vote of 85 to 14. Those congressional votes and the passage of similar defensive marriage laws in 38 states express an overwhelming consensus in our country for protecting the institution of marriage. "

This is just the news so far. Nothing that can't be denied. Nor really opinion based.

"In recent months, however, some activist judges and local officials have made an aggressive attempt to redefine marriage. In Massachusetts, four judges on the highest court have indicated they will order the issuance of marriage licenses to applicants of the same gender in May of this year. In San Francisco, city officials have issued thousands of marriage licenses to people of the same gender, contrary to the California family code. That code, which clearly defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, was approved overwhelmingly by the voters of California. A county in New Mexico has also issued marriage licenses to applicants of the same gender. And unless action is taken, we can expect more arbitrary court decisions, more litigation, more defiance of the law by local officials, all of which adds to uncertainty."

Alot more news and a prediction which is likely true. His prediction is not too far off base considering that it is the goal of Human rights watch. Now the word "arbitrary" is somewhat up to debate. There is little support to state that marriage is only based on "intimacy" as the Massassachusetts court stated, so in that respect it is arbitrary. But as a legal opinion of the decision it is not vile or vicious in any sense of the word.

After more than two centuries of American jurisprudence, and millennia of human experience, a few judges and local authorities are presuming to change the most fundamental institution of civilization. Their actions have created confusion on an issue that requires clarity.

Another mostly factual statement. There is confusion. Now whether or not marriage is the most fundamental institution of civilization, I don't know. But it is true that this is brand spanking new idea about marriage.

On a matter of such importance, the voice of the people must be heard. Activist courts have left the people with one recourse. If we are to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America. Decisive and democratic action is needed, because attempts to redefine marriage in a single state or city could have serious consequences throughout the country.

Ok. Here is the real deal. By stating the voice of the people must be heard and then stating that we must protect marriage in America the President has cast the argument in his favor. But has he done so in vile or vicious way?

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.

This is nothing new. And all true.

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.

Well this is somewhat contradictory to his first statement that the voice of the people must be heard. What if the people of a state do in fact vote for gay marriage? So in that sense this statement is definitely confrontational.

For all these reasons, the Defense of Marriage requires a constitutional amendment. An amendment to the Constitution is never to be undertaken lightly. The amendment process has addressed many serious matters of national concern. And the preservation of marriage rises to this level of national importance. The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution, honoring -- honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith. Ages of experience have taught humanity that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society.

Well this seems to be proprounding the custom of marriage. Nothing Ms. ODonnell would disagree with.

Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society. Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all. Today I call upon the Congress to promptly pass, and to send to the states for ratification, an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife. The amendment should fully protect marriage, while leaving the state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage.

This statement indicates that he welcomes civil unions. A statement propounded by the vast majority of politicians. Is everyone vile vicious and hateful?

America is a free society, which limits the role of government in the lives of our citizens. This commitment of freedom, however, does not require the redefinition of one of our most basic social institutions. Our government should respect every person, and protect the institution of marriage. There is no contradiction between these responsibilities. We should also conduct this difficult debate in a manner worthy of our country, without bitterness or anger.

Ok, this is the opposite of vile vicious or hateful.

In all that lies ahead, let us match strong convictions with kindness and goodwill and decency.

Thank you very much.

That's it.

with all due respect to Ms. O'Donnell and those who are propounding gay marriage. This is something completely new to our society here in America and in the vast majority of populations around the world. There should be no surprise that there is some institutional pause to accepting the institution.

But does that make those who disagree with you "vile vicious and hateful"? It certainly does not serve your cause.


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