Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday, 24 February 2004

President Bush wants constitutional amendment banning gay marriage

This is no real surprise; his thinking on this matter has been very clear for some time. Whether this issue will, of itself, make any difference in this November's US Presidential election seems to me to be doubtful because it appears that both the current Democrat front-runners (Kerry and Edwards) seem to be opposed to the possibility of gay marriage also, from what I have read.

Luckily the religious 'wackiness' (of the Catholic and 'fundamentalist' varieties), which is fuelling the moves to have this anti-gay constitutional amendment enacted and which infects the US, is not likely to transfer wholesale across the Atlantic.

It has always seemed to me to be most peculiar, as an aside, that in a Republic where the inculcation or display of religious beliefs on Federal property is said to be impermissible, that US Presidents (of both varieties, Republican and Democrat) almost always end their public pronouncements with the words 'may God bless the United States ..' and even more peculiar that on the reverse of US paper currency appears the phrase 'In God we Trust'. I live in a country where there is technically a state sponsored religion, but it is of a pretty mild sort (even if I disagree strongly, as might be expected, with some of the uses to which the privileges afforded such religious bodies are put), and I would frankly be amazed if anyone here seriously suggested that such a ridiculous phrase be put on our currency in the UK. It may be OK for Her Majesty the Queen to end Her Christmas Day message with 'May God bless you all' or similar, but if a Prime Minister took to doing this regularly I think most people would find it quite risible.

UPDATE: Whether this constitutional amendment has any chance of passing the considerable hurdles any amendment faces before it can be adopted is, I suspect, rather doubtful. The Founding Fathers did their job so well, and with such foresight, that very few changes have been thought to be required in the 220 or so years since its ratification and only one amendment has rapidly been reversed by a later amendment (that on alcohol prohibition), because it came to be seen rapidly as unworkable. With this latest proposal seeming to be merely a pre-election gambit by Bush to try and wrong-foot his Democrat rival, whoever is ultimately chosen for this role, I would imagine that if Bush is defeated in November, and perhaps even if he is victorious, the push for this change will quickly lessen. Or perhaps I am just indulging in wishful thinking.

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