Cato Institute condemns bogus amendment banning gay marriage

And these guys were once considered Bush’s staunchest supporters. After all, Bush was all about state’s rights and small government and minimal interference in the lives of American citizens. Which is why, as the Cato blogger points out, the obscenely titled “Marriage Protection Amendment” is an aberration, an exercise in the most cynical and shameless sort of hypocrisy.

Here’s a new topic for Chairman Sensenbrenner’s suddenly awake Judiciary Committee: “RECKLESS JUSTICE: Does the Marriage Protection Amendment Trample the Constitution?� Of course, the case seems open and shut. In the landmark Lopez case a decade ago, Chief Justice Rehnquist opened with the basics: “We start with first principles. The Constitution establishes a government of enumerated powers.�

Marriage law has always been reserved to the states in our federal system. Law professor Dale Carpenter calls the Marriage Protection Amendment, which the Senate will debate and vote on next week, “a radical intrusion on the nation’s founding commitment to federalism in an area traditionally reserved for state regulation� in his Cato study released today.

Conservatives claim to believe in federalism, until the states do things they don’t like. Then they turn into New Deal liberals, believing that the federal government should correct the errors of the 50 states. The proposed Marriage Protection Amendment would not just protect states from being forced to recognize same-sex marriages made in other states, as some proponents claim. It would forbid any of the several states from deciding — through court decision, legislative action, or even popular initiative — to extend marriage to gay couples. Depending on the interpretation of its language, it may even ban civil unions and domestic partnerships.

Of course, it’s not good lawmaking to propose an amendment to the Constitution whose language is so unclear, even to its supporters. But then, this really isn’t lawmaking. Majority Leader Bill Frist knows the amendment won’t pass the Senate next week. It failed in 2004 and is likely to get only a handful more votes this time. A majority leader usually doesn’t bring legislation to the floor that he knows will fail. Frist must have some other purpose in mind in bring this amendment up for a futile vote.

It doesn’t matter whether you are for or against gay marriage. It’s a matter of staining the Constitution with this slimy piece of grafitti, perhaps the most unnecessary, absurd and disgusting piece of legislation conceived since….well, you decide. And imagine, it’s being resurrected now, as we enter the mid-term election season. Fancy that.

The Discussion: 18 Comments

The CATO guys were never Bush’s staunchest supporters. Although they usually back Republicans, they’re libertarians, not conservatives. Bush is a big government religious conservative Republican, and has been from Day One, and that’s anathema to the CATO crowd. It would be fair to characterize, say, James Dobson as one of Bush’s stalwarts, but not the men and women at CATO.

As for the point of their article, they’re damn right. Federalism is too precious to sacrifice for someone’s election-year scheming about what marriage “should be.”

June 2, 2006 @ 7:56 am | Comment

I think CATO’s initial tendency was to support Bush (thinking that he was a “small government” conservative – or, more to the point, that he would cut taxes). But Bush has gone so far in the direction of restricting civil liberties, that most of the libertarian types I know are fairly appalled. There are still some for whom the lower taxes trumps everything. I find that pretty appalling, personally.

June 2, 2006 @ 10:43 am | Comment

As a Catholic, AND as a REAL American conservative, let me tell you what I think the laws of the US should say about Gay Marriage:

1. First premise, from the First Amendment of the US Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”
(Coda: as a Catholic (a minority religion in America, which has suffered a lot of persecution in American history) who is partly Jewish, that part of the Constitution means a LOT to me….)

2. Second premise (derivative of the first one here): As the United States is categorically a secular state, all citizens of the US are free to make, and to follow, ANY religious laws they choose, about marriage. ie, the civil laws of marriage in the US, are 100 percent separate from whatever religious laws of marriage ANY American citizen chooses to follow. Therefore:

3. If the civil laws of the United States acknowledge homosexual marriages, then under our laws, it will make NO IMPACT AT ALL on any religion (or any other ethos) which any citizens choose to folllow. If Catholics, or Orthodox Jews, or any other American citizens choose not to acknkowledge homosexual marriages, then they will always remain free to do so, thanks to our First Amendment.

4. A true Republic, which is a secular state (as the US is), by definition CANNOT guide the private lives of adult citizens according to any religious doctrine.

5. Fully free and consenting adults, in any REAL republic, are free to choose their spouses, in any way which does not damage the general welfare.

6. Homosexual partnerships have never, never been proven to harm the general welfare. Quite the contrary, actually. More damage has been done to American society by HETEROSEXUAL marriages which have ended in divorce, than by any homosexual partnerships which are stable and loyal and loving.

7. QED, if the question is about whether homosexual partnerships harm the body politic, then, all the evidence says, that acknowledging homosexual unions (at least as civil unions recognised by law) will STRENGTHEN the state, by making it more stable, and by promoting long term partnerships and enduring loyalty.

8. Now I’m getting back into my more personal mode as Ivan the Terrible Duck: Eh, if the so-called “social conservatives” of America REALLY care about the institution of “the family”, then I want all Americans who have ever divorced to just shut up and become very humble about their lack of loyalty, before they even DARE to deprive any homosexual partners of long term legal unions which last longer than most heterosexual marriages do.

9. In sum, I advocate legally recognised civil marriages between homosexuals (under US law),
because all REAL conservatives (such as I am) believe that the state should stay the fuck out of matters of private conscience between adults.

10. In sum, all REAL American conservatives should advocate legal recognition of homosexual partnerships/marriages. That is what a true Republic would do. And anything contrary to that, is a theocracy, a government of very personal superstitions and arrogant presumptions about the mind of God.
I am for a Republic, whose laws do not pretend to know the mind of God.

June 2, 2006 @ 11:26 am | Comment

Damn, Ivan. That was beautiful. You took the words out of my mouth.

June 2, 2006 @ 1:49 pm | Comment

Homosexual marriages will be a blight upon the United States of America.

This country is going to hell.

June 2, 2006 @ 4:21 pm | Comment

t-co, you’re alright. You’re young and you have a lot to learn, but in the big picture, you’re alright.

Please stick around here, t-co.

Shit-for-brains. 🙂

June 2, 2006 @ 4:28 pm | Comment

Thanks Ivan, and thanks Lisa. And thanks t-co. As for hellfire, you’ve now lost all credibility here. It’s as if you wrote, with no evidence and without even an argument, that letting blacks sit wherever they want in the bus would destroy America. It’s now beyond dispute, you’re an idiot.

June 2, 2006 @ 8:24 pm | Comment


Well, “hellfire” WAS ALMOST right about one thing.
America HAS BEEN IN HELL for the last six years.

And he and the Bushies and the LGFers are the ones who are keeping America in Hell.

June 2, 2006 @ 10:53 pm | Comment

Yep, it’s very hard to understand the “logic” that causes a person to think that granting equal rights to a group of people is some sort of sin that deserves eternal damnation.

And Ivan – yeah, what you said.

The last six years have been miserable here. Bush can’t leave office soon enough.

June 2, 2006 @ 11:02 pm | Comment

I’ll tell you what DOES deserve eternal damnation:

Appointing filthy, ludiccrous, cretinous Condoleeza Rice as National Security Advisor and then as Secretary of State.

There is a special place in Dante’s Inferno for that, which not even Dante could imagine.

June 2, 2006 @ 11:36 pm | Comment

I am only proud to be the first calling you Terrible on this site. I fear I began to develop a blog crush on your mad intelligence and true faith.

June 3, 2006 @ 2:33 am | Comment

Huh, I’m no Condi fan but she doesn’t even make my top five of Bush Administration candidates for eternal damnation. There’s a lot of competition, you know.

June 3, 2006 @ 10:34 am | Comment

In my opinion, the democrats are no better.

The only reason the dems might retake the House and may be the Senate in November is Bush’s own bungling policies. That’s all.

But it remains doubtful the dems could retake the White House in 2008. The GOP can always go moderate and have McCain or a Giuliani run. These men have credentials. AND I mean they do. Americans still do cherish patriots. You, other_Lisa and gay man Ivan are in the minority. The San Franciso types are really in the liberal fringe.

McCain was a POW and he never threw away his medals like John Kerry did, who actually apologized in 2004 just so that he appeared a patriot.

June 3, 2006 @ 12:30 pm | Comment

Gee, Zero, thanks for that specious generalization. I always appreciate being stereotyped. Otherwise, how would I recognize myself in the mirror?

Here’s a stereotype back atcha – right wingnuts such as yourself always resort to smears and appealing to base fears and prejudices, because you are both morally and ideologically bankrupt.

June 3, 2006 @ 3:53 pm | Comment

McCain was a POW and he never threw away his medals like John Kerry

Markos of Daily Kos, and Al Franken were both good soldier inthe US miltary as well. You can be a liberal and a patriot. I believe the Dems can and should win the next presidential election.

June 3, 2006 @ 6:47 pm | Comment

Wow. “You, other_Lisa and gay man Ivan are in the minority.”

Well, “Zero” is partly right about me there. In 2000 I WAS in the minority when I supported John McCain for the Republican nomination. Actually I changed my registration to Republican just to support McCain.

What any of that has to do with being Gay, I have no idea. Although I did have a pair of birds once when I was a child, and I wanted to name them “Sodom and Gomorrah” but my mother wouldn’t let me.

June 3, 2006 @ 6:52 pm | Comment

Well, like I said, the GOP still has an ace up their sleeves. They ain’t going away soon.

The dems gotta be more innovative in terms of solving america’s problems. Can’t just depend on Bush’s own stupidity. Like I said before, critique is OK, but solutions and problem-solving are even more important. The dems gotta stop just critiquing. They gotta have solutions and realistic alternatives.

June 3, 2006 @ 9:02 pm | Comment

Ivan, for just once I need to tell you: what your mother did was right.

June 3, 2006 @ 11:29 pm | Comment

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