Over at It's Matt's World, Matthew is upset that the Federal Marriage Amendment has again reared its ugly, spite-spewing head. Fortunately, not only did it not pass, but it is losing traction, even among Republicans. Today, he is surprised that "protecting" marriage will be a campaign issue this year.
I would suggest that he is missing the point. In a way, I don't think conservatives actually want the FMA to pass. Without periodic votes on it, you can't call your opponent anti-family or accuse him of being sympathetic to the homosexual agenda. This amendment is an excellent way for Republicans to distract the public from the war, and make it look like they are fighting for truth, justice, and the American way.
This is an incredibly emotional issue. It's not something that is even being discussed in a rational way. Actually, it's not something that's being discussed at all. It's just a hail of buzzwords, soundbites, and talking points. All you hear about is "protecting marriage," but never any explanation of how gays getting marriage damages the institution. What, are we running low on our supply of marriage? Are we in danger of wartime marriage rationing?
No, but this is an issue that is fundamentally grounded in
values religious doctrine. People like to be on the side of right
and goodness. So much so, that they will often behave in ways contrary
to their own well being in order to be there. I imagine that it's much
like why people enlist in the military. Not because going to Iraq is
particularly good for your health, but because you believe in the cause.
Gay marriage is a good way for Republicans to get their base energized. They can show how much they are defending "good, Christian values," which distracts people from their policies that are only in the best interest of the rich and powerful, like the estate tax repeal. People will sacrifice their own welfare to do what is "right."
So don't expect to see the gay marriage issue going away any time soon. The good news is that I don't expect the FMA to pass anytime soon, either.
(Blogger appears to be having a nervous breakdown today, so I'm going to try this post-by-email thing. Here's hoping it works.)