Saturday, June 03, 2006

Social Atavism

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Woke up to the bad, but not entirely unexpected, news that Bush has decided to support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Appparently enshrining hate in the constitution is easier than coming up with a coherent domestic policy (or foreign one, for that matter). The right doesn't think this will fly; the left doesn't think this will fly, but the right assures us that it is better to send ineffectual Republicans back to Washington on a bigotry platform than reassess the complete lack of moral and fiscal responsibility of this administration. I, for one, look forward to the courtroom arguments attempting to justify the so-called "traditional" definition of marriage as between one man and one women. You don't even need to mention gays or lesbians; for starters, here's a nice factoid from one of the more interesting pro-polygamy Christian websites out there:

"Polygamy, more correctly called polygyny, patriarchal or plural marriage (in which two or more women are married to one man) was, together with monogamy, a normal practice of the Hebrew people (until 1000 A.D. when it was outlawed for a thousand years by the Rabbis) and subsequently in the European Christian Church (until 600 A.D. when the Catholic Emperor, Justinian, outlawed, suppressed and persecuted it). Not until the late 20th century did patriarchal Christians begin to come out of hiding and once more begin living this time-honoured and biblical marriage estate."

Aside from the inaccuracy of completely forgetting 19th century Mormons--patriarchal Christians if ever there were some--this is a pretty good summary of Biblical marriage traditions. Not exactly one man and one woman.

Hilaire reports even worse news on the Canadian front: apparently conservative Canadian Prime Minister Brian Harper, no doubt encouraged by his neighboring president to the south, has decided to reopen the question of gay marriage regardless of the fact that Canadian citizens democratically voted to make it legal last summer. Who is he pandering to? Would it be the so-called Christian right?

The illogical appeal to "traditional" marriage isn't really traditional at all, but the right wingers never cared much for history anyway. They want to skip over the last 350 years or so and take back Massachusetts for the men in funny hats with buckles. I wish I could click my heels, go to sleep, and wake up from the nightmare that social policy in this country has become. These days, you may be a proponent of intelligent design, but you also can't help seeing that d(e)evolution happens, baby.

12 comments:

MaggieMay said...

I don't know which is more upsetting: the fact that some/many people are so full of vitriol (sp?) and venom and hate, OR the fact that the likes of Bush, et al capitalize so cynically on this hate.

I have been saying for 5 years now I am planning a move to New Zealand.

Samoan Wrestler said...

These days, you may be a proponent of intelligent design, but you also can't help seeing that devolution happens, baby.

My agreement with your ideology notwithstandinh, you're confused about the meaning of "devolution." See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devolution

samoan wrestler said...

Heheh...that was supposed to read, "notwithstanding."

Carry on. :-)

Sfrajett said...

In the case of this amendment, which supposedly returns power to the states (in this case, to NOT recognize gay marriage) devolution is supposedly happening (in its political definition). I just thought the play on evolution would be fun too.

samoan (lady) wrestler said...

No. Such an amendment wouldn't return powers to the state. It would supercede them. This is a huge distinction, which (persumably) you'll learn about soon.

And "enshrining" (?!) hate in the Constitution is not at all easy, as you'll also learn. It hasn't happened yet, and it's not going to happen now. So unwad your pantyhose. See: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendments.html

Finally, there won't be "courtroom arguments." That's the whole point about separation of powers. See: http://www.usconstitution.net/constam.html

dr. m(mmm) aka The Notorious P.H.D. said...

Political appeals to tradition, like this one, are always very selective and usually operate on very short timeline to define the traditional thing (then rhetorically expanding it to all eternity).

Sfrajett, you can see here how different the discourses of critical theory (which allows wordplay and thrives on poetics and ambiguity) and law can be. I like envisioning courtroom arguments on this matter, as well. I think what your legal commentator wants to convey is that there wouldn't be arguments in court if an admendment to the Constitution were passed--after ratification by whatever percentage of states has to ratify it (two-thirds or three-fourths, I can't remember) it would simply be the law of the land on a par with the other amendments. If you want courtroom arguments, you want a law passed banning gay marriage that someone can bring to court on the grounds that they think it is unconstitutional.

My opinion is that religious rites should be banned from application as civil privileges (and regardless of "tradition").

dr. m(mmm) aka The Notorious P.H.D. said...

I forgot to add that I doubt you've ever worn pantyhose that could be wadded, anyway, which doesn't change that fact that such a comment (especially embedded in the "high logic" of legal discourse) still serves a reactionary, belittling, disciplinary function that is very annoying.

Sfrajett said...

You are truly chivalrous, Dr. M. If I had wadded pantyhose, I would give them to you to wear as a favour in my tournament.

Sfrajett said...
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Sfrajett said...
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App Crit said...

On "Meet the Press" yesterday, one of Russert's guests had just interviewed a "prominent Republican pollster" who himself said that this issue was a non-starter among Republicans under 40. The consensus was that this would be the last general election cycle in which the issue of "marriage" would be pressing.

I can't believe that, though. Surely there will be some other pressing national fiscal crisis (or the same one) and some international crisis (or the same one(s)) that are too complex to argue in five seconds. "Marriage" is an easy one.

Yet, Spain (el país más católico) got over it. And they got over Iraq, too. With the hours they keep there, I've no idea how they did these things so swiftly, whilst the American mandarins are still confounded.

I suppose this country could do with a few more capable lawyers with a strong background in gender studies.

As MaggieMay said, New Zealand indeed. All that mutton, though. That's unfortunate.

Dormant Volcano said...

oh my I love the joker card. Cheers