Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Federal Marriage Amendment Follow-Up

The Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) today failed to garner the 60 votes in the Senate needed to be brought up for a vote. It got 49 votes; I more than it did in 2004. At this rate, if the Republicans keep introducing the FMA every two years, the debate will end and the amendement will finally be voted on in 2028. It will be 2042 before it actually passes the Senate; that is, if all the senators who vote for cloture also vote for the actual amendment. (Robert Byrd, for example, voted for cloture but said he would have voted against the amendment if it had been brought up for a vote. Of course, he'll be dead long before 2042.) Then again, the 2042 date assumes that enthusiasm for an amendment banning same-sex marriage will grow steadily in the Senate and among the electorate over the next 36 years. According the the polls I cited Monday, public opinion appears to be headed in the opposite direction. Freshman Senator David Vitter (R-LA) is nonetheless optimistic. From the AP:

"We're building votes," said Sen. David Vitter, R-La., another new supporter. "That's often what's required over several years to get there, particularly to a two-thirds vote."

During the debate Vitter said, "I don't believe there is any issue that's more important than this one." Banning same-sex marriage is apparently more urgent than helping the millions of people in Vitter's state who are still recovering from Katrina. Nice.

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) used a visual aid during the debate: a giant picture of his family. Inhofe is proud to say that, "in the recorded history of our family, we've never had a divorce or any kind of a homosexual relationship." In the recorded history of my family, we've never had a professional athlete of any kind; but I don't think a constitutional amendment banning professional sports is necessary. (Did taxpayer money have to pay for the poster of Inhofe's family?)

Proponents of the amendment have also cited several statistics about the effects of same-sex marriage in Scandanavian countries. I'm not an expert on Scandanavian sociology, but Slate has a different take on these stats.

In Denmark, for example, the marriage rate had been declining for a half-century but turned around in the early 1980s. After the 1989 passage of the registered-partner law, the marriage rate continued to climb; Danish heterosexual marriage rates are now the highest they've been since the early 1970's. And the most recent marriage rates in Sweden, Norway, and Iceland are all higher than the rates for the years before the partner laws were passed. Furthermore, in the 1990s, divorce rates in Scandinavia remained basically unchanged. . . .

In my own recent study conducted in the Netherlands, I found that the nine countries with partnership laws had higher rates of unmarried cohabitation than other European and North American countries before passage of the partner-registration laws. In other words, high cohabitation rates came first, gay partnership laws followed.

It should be obvious by now that the Federal Marriage Amendment will in no way benefit American families, and that, even if it did, it will never pass anyway. Nonetheless, the House will debate the amendment next month. Somebody tell me why. Even if the FMA had a chance to pass the House, which it doesn't, it has already failed to pass the Senate (or even come close). So the House has decided that it needs to use the limited time it has to debate legislation that is already dead. Good.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Nonetheless, the House will debate the amendment next month. Somebody tell me why."

The same reason the UMC has to continue debating homosexuality at General Conference every four years even though the majority opposes changing the churches position.

9:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home