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Presidential Pandering

Posted by Daniel on Friday, June 2, 2006

President Bush will promote a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on Monday, the day before the Senate is scheduled to vote on the cause that is dear to his conservative base.

It will be interesting to see the reaction of his backers after this announcement is made, considering this is the first time Bush has even brought the subject up since the 2004 elections. Once again proving Bush is pandering to his base on the issues they rally behind only when he really needs to. In this case, a major election.

The amendment would prohibit states from recognizing same-sex marriages. To become law, the proposal would need two-thirds support in the Senate and House, and then be ratified by at least 38 state legislatures.

It stands little chance of passing the 100-member Senate, where proponents are struggling to get even 50 votes. Several Republicans oppose the measure, and so far only one Democrat — Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska — says he will vote for it.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the amendment on May 18 along party lines after a shouting match between a Democrat and the chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania. He bid Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin, "good riddance" after Feingold declared his opposition to the amendment and his intention to leave the meeting. Click this link for the complete story.

This November, initiatives banning same-sex marriages are expected to be on the ballot in Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. In 2004, 13 states approved initiatives prohibiting gay marriage or civil unions, with 11 states casting votes on Election Day.

Opponents of the amendment objected to Bush promoting a measure they said amounts to discrimination.

"This is fundamentally both a civil rights and religious freedom issue and the president's position of supporting amending the constitution is just dead wrong," said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "This is simply to give ammunition to the so-called religious right just to show that the president is still with them."

A recent poll would suggest that the majority of Americans tend to agree with Mr. Lynn. Most people polled thought Bush was only bringing up the issue, again, in order to stir up his older Christian Conservative base. Those are the the same people who massed to the polls in 2004, handing Bush his reelection.

Many people, however, are of the opinion that Bush has likely overplayed the gay marriage card, and that if pushed too far – amending the Constitution – it could very well backfire on him, as well as those candidates who might use this issue during their 2006 mid-term election campaigns.


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