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Friday, May 19, 2006

Gay marriage ban, again?

Yesterday, the Senate's judiciary panel voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban marriagge equality. It is very interesting to see how the news made it into the papers. The Washington Post's headline does not refer to the amendment but to the shouting match between senators Feingold and Specter. Feingold, rightly, opposed the secret nature of the debate, stating that a constitutional amendment deserves the highest level of debate and should be public. You can read a good excerpt on the Daily Kos. Frist cannot wait to bring this debate to the full senate, where the ban will be defeated once again.

But yet again, liberals and progressives dismiss this issue so easily. Places like the Daily Kos, Crooks and Liars, or Think Progress dismiss this whole debate as mere political grand standing. I suspect deeply however, that the republicans know something we don't. This is the second time they bring this to a vote, and though they may not have sufficient support in the senate to approve an amendment, they clearly feel this issue has political traction in the country, traction they desperately need in the coming elections.

A progressive answer has to be more than merely dismissing the republicans. They attract a significant number of voters with these tactics, voters that act on fear and not on human rights and fairness. Why don't the democrats in the senate hold an argument that is based on fairness? Now that is my question. Is there dismissal perhaps a way to mask their unwillingness to stand up for fairness and human rights?


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