Monday, November 24, 2003

David Horowitz has come out in opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment. Good for him, but I think he misunderstands the nature of the amendment process. Here's Horowitz:

"They [conservatives] should not be politicizing the constitutional process by encouraging the radical idea that rewriting the Constitution is a handy alternative to winning American hearts and minds and resolving these conflicts in the legislative process. If conservatives seek a constitutional change to achieve culture war victories that could have been won through legislative means, the Left will only escalate its own efforts to do the same and the last protective membrane of our polity will have been torn to shreds."

But the amendment process IS the legislative process. You need 2/3 of both house of Congress and 3/4 of the state legislatures to amend the Constitution. That seems to require "winning American hearts and minds," to say the least.

The problem with the amendment is two-fold. First, the majority of American don't support it. Some polls even show a majority of gay marriage opponents don't want the amendment. Second, amending the Constitution to formally discriminate against a particular group of people is odious in the extreme, regardless of whether the process is "legislative" or not. Rather than arguing over procedures, I wish Horowitz had addressed the issue directly. Gays and lesbians are full and equal citizens, and the state cannot deny them the rights, privileges, and benefits that it provides to other citizens as a matter of course. To do otherwise is prejudice, plain and simple.

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