The title of an AP article out this morning reads, "Bush backs amendment banning gay marriage." Aside from holding this belief himself, the article attributes Bush's support for the amendment to appeasing his religious conservative base.
I personally like the position taken by Kinky Friedman, candidate for governor of Texas: Kinky supports gay marriage and equal rights for homosexuals. He believes that the constitution protects everyone. As he says, "I believe love is bigger than government. And besides, they have a right to be as miserable as the rest of us."
I know and am friends with many in the gay community, and of those in long-term relationships, not one has expressed a preference for entering into a "marriage" with their partner vs. entering into a "civil union"; what they are interested in is equal protection of the law as guaranteed in the 14th amendment. Today there are 1,138 benefits, rights and protections granted to married couples that do not apply to same-sex couples (because even long-term partners can't marry), and herein lies the problem since these obviously discriminate against same-sex couple who cannot marry today. Among these rights and benefits are:
- Community property ownership protections
- Eligibility for health benefits (without taxation) and COBRA benefits through an employer
- Right to inherit a spouse's pension
- Immunity from testifying against a spouse
- Right to sue for wrongful death of a spouse
- Child custody, visitation, and duties of financial support to children
- The right to make medical decisions for a sick spouse
- The right to make funeral arrangements for a deceased spouse
The basis in the argument against gay marriage boils down to one issue: discrimination. While the sight of a same-sex couple expressing their affection publicly is more awkward to me than seeing a heterosexual couple doing the same, I recognize and understand that this is my problem and prejudice--not theirs! And note that less than 40 years ago, interracial marriage was against the law in 16 states (interesting that all of these are "red" states with the exception of Delaware) when the Supreme Court struck down those laws in Loving v. Virginia.
Politically, I find it offensive that instead of working to extricate the United States from the quagmire of Iraq or spending time solving the problem of exploding government debt, that our president would rather focus on inane matters like banning gay marriage, because everyone knows that's what Jesus would do.