Republicans for gay marriage

The only amendment that was designed to let the federal government meddle in the personal lives of the American people was the 18th amendment, which banned the sale of alcohol. It didn’t work. After fourteen years, Prohibition was repealed by the 21st amendment. While it was a clear political failure, what’s more interesting to note is the place of Prohibition in social history.

The temperance movement has a long history, going back to the late 1700’s. By the mid 1800’s, it had become a powerful political force. There were temeprance unions in almost every city and town. Many counties and states banned alcohol totally during the late 19th and early 20th century. By that time, the temperance movement had focused mainly on the total prohibition of alcohol. By 1918, it was a very strong movement.

Then something disasterous happened: Prohibition. It was the worst possible thing. The temperance movement lost all its strength, its huge following, and its credibility because of the 18th amendment. After the disaster and the repeal of Prohibition, it became impossible for anyone to take anti-alcohol beliefs seriously, The movement withered away.

Now consider the Republicans and their gay marriage amendment. Public support for gay marriage is steadily increasing. Everyone knows that we will have government recognition of gay marriage in the United States sooner or later. The amendment is at best a delay tactic. If it somehow passed, it would eventually be repealed, probably in not much longer than fourteen years. The experience would discredit opponents of gay marriage, just as Prohibition discredited opponents of alcohol. In a sense, this amendment could be a great thing for the cause of gay equality.

Except for the fact that it won’t ever pass.

The amendment won’t pass and be put into effect?

There’s an important difference : Most people want to drink alcohol; only a minority have any interest in homosexual relationships. There wouldn’t be anywhere near the reaction against it that Prohibition provoked.

Not to mention that, for a limited time, you’re basically punishing homosexuals and pushing them to a segregated parcel of society for something that’s a biological function, not a choice.

I wasn’t aware that the 18th amendment left it up to the states as to whether or not to ban alcohol. Actually, the situation wrt alcohol in the US right now is pretty much exactly equivalent to what SSM would be if Bush’s amendment passed. States can and do regulate alcohol, and any state can ban it if it so chooses.

Although I don’t support Bush’s ammendment concerning SSM, I think you misread it. Bad analogy, ITR. In fact, you could hardly have picked a worse one.

Tangental, but whether it is biological nor whether thay had any choice isn’t very meaningful. If two consenting adults say they love each other and want to live together and raise children and take on all the commitments of such, that’s their deal. It’s not really our place to condone nor deny their statement of commitment, so what reasons they may have had to lead them to that point is really unimportant.

Congress passed the Volstead Act to enforce Prohibition, so it did apply to all 48 states. (Of course, they only authorized 1,500 agents to enforce the law as part of the Prohibition Bureau, but that’s another story.)

I was being facetious, in case it didn’t show. The intent of 18th amendment was to ban alcohol in the entire US and Congress followed through with the appropriate legislation. Bush’s amendment would not authorize Congress to do a similar thing for SSM. It would make certain that the SCOTUS could not strike down DOMA, and it would allow only the legilsatures (or the people) of each state to approve or ban SSM. It would be a horrible precedent, but I don’t see the analogy with the 18th amendment.

I’m not sure what we’re debating, exactly, but… I’m both republican and in support of same sex legal union. I don’t care if they want to call it “civil union” instead of “marriage,” just as long as people of the same gender are allowed the same legal recognition as straight people.

To me, the distinction seems asinine, but there are honestly people coughmydadcough who think that allowing gay people to marry would destroy the sanctity of marriage since “marriage is supposed to be a man and a woman”, but calling it something else if people of the same gender are involved is A-ok. To me, it’s just semantics. Dad likes Will & Grace etc so I asked him, don’t you think someone like that should be able to get married? He said no, but it’d be okay if civil unions were legal since those could be between anyone since there’s nothing about gender in the definition of the term. :dubious:

Anyway, whenever they break down the numbers in polls, tolerance increases as the age of the polled decreases. Those most against it in the last poll I saw were 65+, and the most for it were under 30. I’m 29 now, and I bet by the time I’m 40 gay relationships will have the same legal recognition as straight ones across the entire country.

I’m not sure I agree with the OP that a ban would strengthen support, but I also hope it doesn’t come to that.

Do you have a cite for any of this? The proposed text I’m finding says:

That would seem to me to disallow any state from recognizing same-sex marriage on its own, even by the most impeccably democratic of procedures.

Yes, states would probably have to call it something besides marriage (like civil unions), so I was overreaching in my use of the term SSM (although states might be able to call it SSM). It would, however, allow the states to grant all the incidents of marriage to same sex couples, although they wouldn’t get any of those incidents at the federal level (as they don’t now). It would also prevent the SCOTUS from overturning DOMA.

In order for the amendment to do precisely as I had stated, the first sentence would have to be struck, unless the SCOTUS interpreted the the second senetence to the fuller explanation of what the first sentence meant to do.

I don’t know. I could picture a future Supreme Court interpeting the first sentence as banning civil unions as well. You can’t just change the name of a illegal act and make it legal.

I seriously doubt that. The second sentence clearly talks about the legal incidents of marriage. One would expect that if those incidents were to be banned, that would have been explicitly stated as part of the first sentence. IIRC, earlier versions of the amendment with language like that were considered and rejected.

It seems to me that it’s not talking about banning either, but it is suggesting that a union of marriage would go unrecognised, which is almost as bad. A credible case could be made on those words for non-recognition of a civil union similar to marriage, so I share Malodorous’s concerns.

The more I think about it, the more I don’t see that. Why specify “marriage or the legal incidents of thereof” in the second sentence by only “marraige” in the first? There are only two possibilities: carelessness or purposefullness. The case for carelessness is weak to non-existant. If you’re the lawyer saying it’s carelessness, what’s your argument to support that?

I see what your saying, John, but it still seems to me like it would be a streach for a Justice to say that a ban doesn’t count for same-sex marriage because it has a slightly different name, despite being in every other way equivalent. Certainly if I rob a bank, I’m still guilty of breaking the laws forbidding robbery even if I decide to call it a “forcable withdrawl”.

Vermont’s Civil Union law is obiously ment to be a marriage equivalent, between people of the same gender, even if it doesn’t bear the name. If the law takes the view that the first sentence bans gay marriage, then I think it would be easy for them to say that all other equivalent unions are also banned.

Heh. How about a 3rd possibility: “because it sounds better”. Repeating the phrase “marriage or legal incidents thereof” twice in two sentences sounds terrible. We like our constitutional language to sound more poetice then our statutory law.

If I were a lawyer trying to use this amendment to ban civil Union’s, I’d say the second sentence is expanding on the second: first by saying exactly what is ment by “Marriage” in the first sentence, and also by making sure that the constitution not only bans gay marriage (first sentence) but also makes sure the State or Federal courts don’t shoehorn it in by finding that the other parts of the constitution require Civil Unions (second sentence).

Suppose the people of a state vote to amend their constitution to say that “Marriage is the union of two consenting adults of either the same or opposite sexes”. Well, that’s right out, because of sentence one of the Federal Marriage Amendment. But suppose they amend their constitution to say “Marriage shall consist of the union of a man and a woman. Gayrriage shall consist of the union of two men or two women, and shall have all of the rights and responsibilities of marriage”. But sentence two of the FMA does not allow the constitution of any state to be construed to require that the legal incidents of marriage be confered upon anything other than the union of a man and a woman. So it would appear that the second (democratically passed) amendment to a state constitution would also be blocked.

Well, we’ll never know because this amendment won’t pass (unless the SCOTUS rules in favor of SSM in the near future). But it’s clear to me that Bush’s stated intent is not to disallow other legal arrangements:

Now, leaving aside snide comments about Bush not being trusted, it really doesn’t matter once he’s on record. To the extent that the SCOTUS would look to documentation about the intent of this legislation, statments like that would clarify that other legal arrangements were not to be disallowed by the MDA, if there was doubt.

The other reason that Prohibition isn’t a good parallel is that Prohibition attempted to ban something that had been a deeply ingrained part of society for millenia. By contrast, same-sex marriage is, as far as I know, a fairly recent development, and those who oppose it think of themselves as trying to preserve the status quo. Prohibition showed us what it was like to live in a country where alcohol was illegal; we don’t need an amendment to show us what it’s like to live in a country where same-sex marriage is illegal.