Monday, June 05, 2006

Call Your Senators Today: Rebuke Frist

Call your Senators today and oppose this waste-of-time Marriage Protection Amendment. You can find numbers for your Senators here. If you are from PA, flood Specter with calls in his regional offices since this is coming out of his committee.

Bill Frist published an op-ed in the Boston Herald today defending this bigoted amendment, proposed at a time where Iraq is a disaster, Iran is seeking out nuclear weapons . . . seems to me there are far more important issues to worry about than "protecting marriage."

Let's go through this op-ed line by line, shall we?

In the next few days, the Senate will vote on a constitutional amendment to protect marriage throughout the United States. I support this Marriage Protection Amendment for a simple reason: Marriage between one man and one woman does a better job protecting children - better than any other institution humankind has devised. As such, marriage as an institution should be protected, not redefined.

Of course, for his logic to make any sense, you have to assume that the sole purpose for getting married is to "protect children." But, even if you do think this is the sole reason to get married, the empirical evidence does not support this allegation.

Americans know this and, throughout the country, they have supported proposals to uphold the traditional definition of marriage. During the 2004 elections, 11 states approved constitutional amendments to protect the traditional definition of marriage. In all, 19 states have passed marriage protection amendments to their constitutions. In 2004, most proposals received over 70 percent of the vote; none got less than 57 percent.

I would caution Senator Frist from assuming that what some voters want is an indication that something is true. There are plenty of examples of legislation that promoted things that were either morally wrong--Slavery, Segregation, Denial of Female Suffrage--or that are based in shoddy research--the recent Dover decision.

Here in Massachusetts, however, the people have never had a say. The state’s unelected Supreme Judicial Court simply demanded it. In my judgment, the SJC’s ruling represented the worst sort of judicial activism. A majority of the court clearly substituted their personal policy preferences for the law as written. It’s not credible to contend that the original meaning of the U.S. Constitution or the Massachusetts Constitution included a radical redefinition of marriage.

Frist of course is totally in synch and respects what the people want--e.g. Terry Schiavo. But, seriously, where does it say in the constitution that marriage is between a man and woman? Oh right, nowhere! Which is why it is not inconceivable for the MA Supreme Court to find any laws restricting the right or marriage, especially in light of the 14th Amendment, a reasonable judgment. The only activists I see working their tails off to deprive the people of a real debate in this country are the Right Wing.

The Marriage Protection Amendment, which the Senate will debate beginning today, will not only send a clear rebuke to activist judges but it will also preserve states’ prerogatives, help families, and preserve religious freedom. As worded, the amendment simply preserves the United States’ traditional definition of marriage. Nothing in the Marriage Protection Amendment intrudes on individual privacy, stops states from passing civil union laws or curtails benefits that legislatures establish for same-sex couples.

Honestly, this kind of bullshit makes me wonder how this man got a M.D. from Harvard. This is a classic example of PROPAGANDA. The Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA) is unambiguously a violation of religious freedom, is a piece of ACTIVIST legislation, and is not at all the only means by which to protect families, particularly since it will destroy many families once it is enacted. Suddenly you will have child services ripping children from their families if the parents are not married. Immediately, all the parenting rights of the partner in a civil union will be gone. How is this good for children? Sounds rather horrific, traumatic, and fascist.

We need the Marriage Protection Amendment to protect American families. Nearly every social indicator, from household income to individual health, moves in the right direction when marriages are strong and rates are high. Children who live in homes headed by married couples do better by every measure than children living in any other setting. In the Netherlands and many of the Nordic countries where the government redefined marriage - almost always without popular support - redefinition has correlated with a falling marriage rate, and worse conditions for children.

What I want to know is why are there so many single parent households? I would like Frist to convince me that the reason that we see so many broken homes is because we have, as a Nation, failed to protect marriage as between a man and woman. Perhaps you find so many single mothers because they fled abusive relationships with men or were abandoned by men . . .? Let's not forget that Murder is the leading cause of death among pregnant women. What is wrong, btw, with a falling marriage rate? If people choose not to get married, doesn't that mean they are following their own best interest? Are you suggesting that we need to legislate that more people marry, even if they are worse off by marriage or choose not to get married? Talk about social engineering (Happy Feminist had a good piece on this)! If people can enjoy the legal rights of marriage without getting married, and therefore choose not to get married, how is that an argument in favor of the MPA? Afterall, aren't you trying to base this argument on popular support? And, show me the statistics on how children are worse in the Nordic countries, Frist. I doubt you can.

The Marriage Protection Amendment also provides an important protection for religious liberty. Although it appears unlikely that the government would make any religion perform marriages contrary to its teachings, religious charities could suffer serious harm. Massachusetts Catholic Charities, indeed, has stopped placing children for adoption rather than follow a state mandate not to discriminate against same-sex couples. Other charities could face similar dangers if activist judges proceed with efforts to redefine marriage so radically.

Someone clearly hit this guy with the idiot stick. Since when did religious liberty amount to legislative activism intended to narrowly define what marriage should be and thereby prescribe a fundamentalist notion of marriage to all denominations, faiths, agonistics and atheists? Frist needs to take a look at the 1st Amendment again. Furthermore, it seems to me that if the Massachusettes Catholic Charities refuses to let same sex or non-married couples from adopting children, then we should be seriously concerned with how much these organizations value the life of these children. The obvious course to take if such short-sightedness is at work is certainly not the MPA.

Marriage ranks as one of our most important social institutions. Americans have made it clear that they want to protect it against activist judges like those who sit on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

No, Bill Frist and the looney Right Wing fringe, who want to impose their values and institutions on the entire nation are the problem. I don't know about you, but I am sick of this propaganda passing for helpful information, useful for making good and responsible decisions in a democracy.