Today, it became known that President Bush plans to enter renewed debates concerning same-sex marriages in his Senate speeches pressing for the constitutional amendment banning these unions. On my part, I strongly believe that the issue is given more attention that it is worth. On the other hand, I think that it is unfair to use the topic in election campaigns such as recent North Carolina race. Being neither a supporter nor an ardent opponent of gay marriages, I think that the world is slowly but gradually moving toward its legalization, and politicians should not be trying to stem what is inevitable.
Matt Spetalnick (2006) of Reuters correctly points out that Republicans are once again bringing up the issue as “one of several hot-button causes Republicans are championing to appeal to right-wing voters ahead of November’s congressional ballot”. The issue really does not approach in importance the looming US budget deficit or the Iraq and Afghanistan quagmire. However, politicians are quick to catch on to it as a way to allure the conservative public. Indeed, the hype raised around the issue does not merit the importance of the problem, and the issue is even less deserving of the upcoming legislative consideration. At the time when nation is faced with more serious challenges on the economic and political side, the consideration of the bill on same-sex marriages is hardly a good idea.
In fact, even Republican leaders think the revival of the issue as too gross an attempt to ingratiate the Republican agenda with the electorate. Rutenberg (2006) believes that the President has “a long way to go to convince social conservatives that they viewed the issue as anything but a politically convenient tool that they picked up only when they needed to motivate their core voters”. President Bush proved to make half-hearted attempts to push the notorious amendment through Congress when it helped him win the 2004 election. However, it is revived again when the President needs to appeal to the same audience. In doing so, he is most probably advised by consultants who in the previous campaign arrived at the conclusion that this topic “energizes voters beyond the base, including independents and even Democratic-leaning voters, such as culturally traditional African Americans” (Baker 2006).
It is indeed preferable that politicians occupy themselves with improving health care, for example, bringing down health care costs and improving standards. Economic growth and job creation also remain important focal points. In its external political environment, the US faces challenges of Iran’s nuclear program. Voters will undoubtedly appreciate attention to all these important issue no less than to the problems with same-sex marriages.
In fact, the reconsideration of the gay marriage does not seem to be as appealing to voters as before. It is natural that people get tired of rehashing the same agenda and want something new to discuss. Besides, the evidence of what has happened to those states that have introduced these marriages does not suggest that depravity has immensely broadened or morality turned into a serious problem. Undoubtedly, many people can have an issue with same-sex marriages, but with time opposition is going to wear out, and then there will have to be action and commotion to repeal the amendment, once again distracting society from acute problems such as overcoming poverty or stepping up technological progress.
Interestingly, the report from the Pew Research Center indicated that the opposition has indeed waned. For comparison, while in 2004, “63 percent of Americans opposed same-sex marriage and 30 percent approved”, in March 2006 “51 percent opposed it and 39 percent supported it” (Baker 2006). A few years later, the picture may be even more supportive of same-se marriages.
The reverse is happening in the Senate though: while in 2004 a similar amendment with a different phrasing lost in 48-52 vote, today proponents believe that they would have another four votes to support their cause. This situation shows once again that representative democracy has its failings as politicians will not always do what people believe they should to express their opinion.
In fact, there are also voices that state the marriage amendment can be used as a tool to divert attention from more pending issues. Joe Solmonese, president of the gay organization Human Rights Campaign said “he believed the move was meant to divert attention from high gasoline prices and Iraq” (Rutenberg 2006). This is hardly a good reason to campaign for issues especially at challenging times. Public attention is not always enough to embrace all pending concerns; therefore, at least some of them have to be dropped for the sake of more important issues on the agenda. As such, the same-sex marriage debate can only serve to divert public effort from issues that are truly important. People campaigning against poverty, for example, can engage in collection of funds or clothes to help the poor and alleviate their condition. Those who want to help AIDS victims can make an effort to introduce programs that will provide medication and basic care to people suffering from the deadly disease. On the other hand, those fighting for outlawing same-se marriages, are in fact making an effort just to harm the people. This is hardly a good application of both personal resources and those of the whole nation. Congressmen have been elected to forward important issues that are crucial to the well-being of their voters and should not waste time in banning types of unions or relationships.
In the view of all the above arguments, it is desirable that the constitutional amendment concerning marriage be dropped from Congress’ agenda. The discussion of these issues should in no case be used as way to manipulate the support of voters in anticipation of the election. The legalisation of same-se marriage enjoys continually rising support among people and is basically just a matter of time. It is time that politicians turn their attention to more acute problems and issues and give up speculating on the topic of same-sex marriage.
Baker, Peter. (2006, June 3). Bush Re-Enters Gay Marriage Fight: Two Speeches Set Pressing Senate To Vote for a Ban. Washington Post, p.A04.
Rutenberg, J. (2006, June 3). Bush to Press for U.S. Ban on Same-Sex Marriage. New York Times. Retrieved June 2, 2006, from http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/03/us/03bush.html
Spetalnick, M. (2006, June 2). President Bush promoting U.S. ban on gay marriage. Reuters. Retrieved June 2, 2006, from http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?type=bondsNews&storyID=2006-06-02T204630Z_01_N02200898_RTRIDST_0_RIGHTS-GAY-BUSH.XML
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