Friday, June 09, 2006
Just because I'm not his biggest fan :-). I'm thinking of getting a bumper sticker or something saying "I'm a bigot". Maybe it'll catch on, like those bracelets everyone used to wear.
"A vote for this amendment," Kennedy has said repeatedly, "is a vote for bigotry, pure and simple." Like so many on his side of the debate, he insists that supporters of the marriage amendment are fanatics and haters — knuckle-draggers from "the rabid reactionary right" who want to "stain the Constitution with their language of bigotry," as he put it the last time the Senate took up the issue. If you are strongly committed to the traditional understanding of marriage as the union of husband and wife, in other words, you aren't just wrong — you're evil. You aren't fit to debate with, only to demonize. Kennedy and his allies don't want to consider your point of view, and they don't want anyone else considering it either. And they know that there is no better way to make a viewpoint so toxic that decent Americans shun it than to portray it as the equivalent of racism and prejudice.
But if it's "bigotry, pure and simple" not to want same-sex marriage to be forced on American society by a handful of crusading courts, then among the bigots must be the large congressional majority — 85 senators, 342 representatives — who passed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, confirming that marriage in the United States is between members of the opposite sex only and allowing states to deny recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states. Former President Bill Clinton must be a bigot too: He signed the bill into law.
The bigots must also include the dozens of American religious leaders who signed the Religious Coalition for Marriage statement endorsing the marriage amendment. The list of signatories is remarkably ecumenical — Roman Catholic cardinals, Greek and Russian Orthodox primates, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, rabbis, an apostle of the Mormon church, the president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, the editor of Christianity Today, and many others. Bigots all, apparently.