Why Conservatives Care About Marriage Protection Amendment
Steve Bainbridge sees no reason why the Senate’s meaningless non-vote on the Marriage Protection Amendment, the amendment itself, should “energize conservative voters.”
While I can find no rational reason for government to deny homosexuals the opportunity to marry and am a “conservative” on this particular issue only insofar as I oppose grandstanding by politicians to score political points, I can certainly understand why conservatives would want the amendment.
Bainbridge looks at the base and argues why each segment should oppose this action.
- Federalists: This part of the base looks at this amendment and sees yet another expansion of the federal government. Marriage is a state issue, but the K Street Gang has spent much of the last 6 years federalizing a whole host of state issues. The only possible justification for federal action would be to prevent the Supreme Court from effecting gay marriage by judicial fiat. A federalist, however, likely would prefer to wait and see rather than preemptively intruding the federal government into this area.
This was arguably true before Massachussets judges made real the theoretical possibility of gay marriage being imposed by judicial fiat. While it’s probably true that this action will have no direct effect outside the Commonwealth because the Full Faith and Credit Clause has been deemed inapplicable, a whole Pandora’s Box of socio-political issues has been opened. That essentially makes marriage a federal case. Further, waiting until after federal judges have turned the culture on its head is rather like closing the barn door after the horses have escaped.
- Libertarians: Marriage isn’t any business of the government. Maybe there should be some sort of domestic partnership contract between persons of any gender that would be enforceable in court, but that’s as far as government ought to go.
Sure. But the institution of marriage predates the idea of individual liberty, let alone libertarians. While I prefer the libertarian position on this as a matter of theory, it is an absolute non-starter politically.
- Suburban swing voters: Probably turned off by yet another example of alleged GOP “intolerance.”
The GOP needs to re-connect with the conservative base before it can reach out to swing voters.
- Social conservatives who support carving the traditional man-woman concept of marriage into legal stone: Isn’t striking how President Bush and the Congressional GOP largely ignored these folks’ concerns until Bush was in an almost irretrievable mess? How dumb does Karl Rive think social conservatives are? I suspect many will recognize that this amendment is mere pandering from a Washington GOP elite that sees social conservatives as useful pawns but refuses to take the social conservative agenda seriously.
A fair point. Ronald Reagan didn’t exactly do much to prevent abortions, either, but that hasn’t stopped it from being a GOP rallying cry the last 32 years.
Beating the Democrats over the head with the Amendment, while meaningless from a policy standpoint, will rally far more presently alienated conservatives and blue collar swing voters than it will alienate. Like illegal immigration and gas prices, gay marriage is a visceral issue that motivates people at their core. Red State Democrats are deathly afraid of it (as are Blue State Republicans).