Sunday, February 12, 2006

Frist, Serving Red Meat To Potential 2008 Primary Voters, Will Seek Constitutional Amedment Barring Same-Sex Marriage

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) told a partisan crowd that he plans to bring to the Senate floor a constitutional amendment to bar same-sex marriage.

Frist, speaking on Feb. 10 at the Conservative Political Action Conference, said the amendment is needed to protect the majority of Americans, whom he said oppose same-sex marriage, from "the whims of a few activist judges" who seek to "override the commonsense of the American people."

Frist, a possible 2008 presidential candidate, may be trying to throw red meat to the conservative wing of his party -- the people most likely to vote in the primaries. Frist has distanced himself from President Bush on some issues of late, such as federal support for embryonic stem cell research. Fighting same-sex marriage would be an easy way for him to regain conservative credentials.

It's just a variation of a theme conservatives have pushed for years -- people in the "heartland" should care more about the legal recognition of a same-sex couple in Massachusetts than about crumbling schools, boys coming home from Iraq in caskets, jobs being outsourced or their inability to obtain affordable health care.

"Protect" Americans? What's more important for a poverty-level family in Tuscaloosa or Topeka -- having a job and being able to afford food and medicine, or the fact that Tim and Larry just got married in Worcester?

Let's set aside Frist's empty conservative spin, and take a look at the facts.

Massachusetts is the only state that issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

So when Frist complains about "a few activist judges," he meant that literally. (Note: "activist judges" is conservative code for "liberal judges." Conservatives never complain about activist judges who are conservative, such as new Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.)

Vermont and Connecticut recognize civil unions. Four states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex couples to formalize relationships through domestic-partnership registries.

Meanwhile, 18 states define marriage in their constitutions, many in amendments approved since 2003, when a Massachusetts court opened the door to same-sex marriages there. Other states could follow suit and try to pass referendums defining marriage in their constitutions. But it hardly seems to be a front-burner item for much of the country.

Why? Because the country is split on its support of same-sex marriage, same-sex civil unions or the need for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.

-- A Pew Research poll from July found that 53% of Americans opposed same-sex marriage. But the same poll found that 53% of Americans support same-sex civil unions.

-- A Boston Globe poll from May found that 50% oppose same-sex marriage, but only 45% support a constitutional amendment.

-- A USA Today/Gallup poll from May found 56% of Americans opposed to same-sex marriage, and 53% favoring a constitutional amendment.

Interestingly, when given a choice of supporting same-sex marriage, same-sex unions or no legal recognition, less than 50% of Americans chose"no legal recognition" in polls conducted by ABC News/Washington Post (40%), CNN/USA Today (45%), and CBS News/New York Times (41%).

But hey, you know that the facts won't get in the way of Frist and other conservatives trying to convince voters in Tuscaloosa or Topeka that they should care more about same-sex marriage in Massachusetts than the issues directly affecting their lives.

It's Frist who wants to "override the commonsense of the American people."


Anonymous trinity said...

David R. Mark said...
"So when Frist complains about "a few activist judges," he meant that literally. (Note: "activist judges" is conservative code for "liberal judges."

Not necessarily, David. It's conceivable that there could be a liberal judge out there somewhere who might practice judicial restraint in his decisions, rather than pushing his own liberal policy preferences on the nation.

Granted, it's not all that probable. But it's possible. ;)

Conservatives never complain about activist judges who are conservative, such as new Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.)

Now now, David. If you are going to make claims, then please be prepared to back them up by citing an example of conservative activism on Supreme Court Justice Alito's part.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

Trinity, you didn't check out the appropriate link. JABBS wrote earlier:

Speaking on the Nov. 6 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, (Sen. Coburn of Oklahoma) and host Tim Russert had this exchange about Judge Alito:

RUSSERT: Let me ask you about another decision. And the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence put this out last night. This is from Jim Brady, White House press secretary for Ronald Reagan who was shot in the assassination attempt: "Judge Samuel Alito's dissent in U.S. v. Rybar ... argued that federal restrictions on machine gun possession amounted to an unconstitutional of congressional power under the Commerce Clause. ... his opinion attempted to erect arbitrary hurdles to congressional efforts to reduce the availability of machine guns to the criminal element."

These aren't handguns or hunting rifles. These are machine guns. Do you believe that Congress has the right to restrict the sale and transfer of machine guns, or do you think that Judge Alito's correct that Congress should not be interfering in that?

COBURN: No, I think we probably have the right to do it. But I don't think a judge has the right to make that decision. I think Congress -- and that brings us back to the whole point. Those aren't decisions judges should be making. Those are decisions that legislators should be making. And that's how we've gotten off on this track is, that we allow judges to start deciding the law, new law, rather than interpret the law that the Congress -- what the -- what should have happened in that case is this an area that's up for debate and needs to go back to Congress. If Congress decides that, then it should be there.

RUSSERT: So Judge Alito was wrong?


RUSSERT: And he was legislating.



Hope that helps, Trinity.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

Anonymous said...
"This post has been removed by a blog administrator."

I don't know, Anonymous. If you are the same Anonymous I debate with here, you sure seem to have more than your share of posts deleted. :)

10:23 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...
"Hope that helps, Trinity."

Yes, cutiepie, thanks. I missed that link.

Where to start? Maybe the best way to begin would be by citing the 10th Amendment, which underscores the limited role that the Founding Fathers intended for the federal government to play in our representative republic.

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

This premise of limited federal government is considered to be a large part of the genius of our system. Unfortunately, through the judicial activism of some individuals, we are drifting further and further away from what was intended when our Constitution was written.

So, in U.S. v. Rybar, what Judge Alito was dissenting about was how the possession of a firearm could qualify as "economic" or "commercial" activity that would be subjected to federal regulation under the commerce clause.

As I'm sure you're aware, Justice Alito holds an originalist view of the U.S. Constitution, and believes that state and local governments should be legislating these types of laws. Not the Federal Government.

Over the years, since the commerce clause was adopted, the SCOTUS has greatly expanded the definition of "commerce" to justify what has become massive federal intrusion into what clearly, according to the Constitution, should be the business of state and local governments.

During the 1930s, the Court departed from 150 years of precedent of limited powers, and began expanding the power of Congress. Up until that time, activities that were completely separated from business, such as possession of firearms for example, were beyond the reach of the commerce clause.

Justice Alito merely expressed his dissent with regard to the courts' increasing tendency to make new law in this area, and that premise is not nearly as radical as some would like to make it sound. Why should the federal government be allowed to constantly deny the rightful authority of the states, or for that matter, the liberty of lawabiding Americans?

11:07 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

That strange word above should be written as "law-abiding".

11:10 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

And David, I do apologize to you for what I said about your not having provided an example of your claim. I don't agree with your example, but you did, in fact, provide it. Sorry. :)

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Angelina's Evil Twin said...

It's as if JABBS is taking a CONSERVATIVE position -- let the states decide.

Too bad BILL FRIST would rather play BIG BROTHER. Too bad, instead of acting like a CONSERVATIVE, he'd rather pander.

12:52 AM  
Anonymous TommyO said...

Oh yes... the majority of Americans are threatened in some way by those of us who are gay who want to marry a partner some day.

If I found the love of my life and married him, it would not affect Johnny, Janie, their two children, cat, dog, and Johnny's mistress one whit!

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Jacobin said...

Just like fucking clockwork....2006 elections
Gawd, Guns and Gays......


And, it'll work on the idiot american voters, too.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous northzax said...

My Dear Senator Frist

The 'activist judges' you are so concerned about are all answerable to the Supreme Court, am I not correct? After all, individual states seem to be dealing with this 'problem' in their own way (and the activist judges in Mass. were so out of the mainstream that the State House and Senate immediately passed the first stages of the State amendment process (oh, wait, no they didn't, sorry). You have never voted against confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice, which means you think that Messers. Roberts and Alito are not 'activist judges'. So given that you think the two appointed by President Clinton are 'activists' And probably Justice Stevens, right? That still leaves 6 of the 9 appointed by Presidents Reagan and the Bush pere et fils

So say it loud, and say it proud, willya? President Reagan appointed justices to the Supreme Court who are activists. That's what you are afraid of, right?

5:31 PM  
Anonymous MJDuncan1982 said...

This crap is total fluff. You can't even get an amendment barring flag burning and that is an issue that doesn't have a large PRO-Burning crowd - PRO-Freedom of Speech perhaps but very few people just want to burn the flag for the hell of it.

Gay-marriage and abortion both have large numbers of people in support of them.

NO WAY IN HELL HE EVEN THINKS THIS WILL PASS...just drumming up the ole "gay marriage scares regular people" crap.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Lexingtonian said...

You can actually break down the present spectrum of national opinion quite precisely into categories and percentages, into blocs from Right to Liberal according to what they support. These are about 40% (no recognition), 15% ('domestic partnerships'), 7% ('civil unions'), 8% (legalistic pro-marriage), and 30% (full marriage rights).

These also correspond to the status of citizenship these blocs give gay people in general. Of course.

I've thought about this state of affairs over the course of two years, and homophobia and arrogance/ignorance strike me as 99% of the explanation for the situation.

But as I've thought about it more, I've also come to think it is good and right that there be some principled, fairminded, resistance that forces us to give some tokens and demonstrations of the truth and rightness of what marriage supporters ask for. It's in essence an engaging in ritual, and the test and power of ritual is all-important in the asking for and granting of human dignity.

5:32 PM  

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