Friday, June 09, 2006

The "Gay Marriage" Red Herring

President Bush is not popular these days. There are many reasons for this. Despite the recent good news of the killing of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Iraq is a big mess now, with high financial and human costs for America and seemingly no end in sight. Economic growth have stayed at a fairly high rate, but because of rising inequality and higher gas prices, most ordinary Americans do not feel that their economic situation is improving. Meanwhile, Bush's conservative base is angry with him because they feel he spends too much and because they do not like his proposed amnesty/guest worker scheme for illegal immigrants.

While Republican Brian Bilbray won a recent election of a House seat in California, this was after trying to disassociate himself from the President, particularly on immigration. But despite this and despite the incompetence and repulsiveness of the Democrats, the Democrats still looks set to make big gains in November's congressional election, maybe even taking over one or both of the two chambers of Congress.

It is in this context we should see Bush's strange push for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. It might seem puzzling that he would spend so much time on it because 1) He have never cared about the issue before apart from -not coincidentally- during the previous election 2) Since it is Congress and State legislatures who decides on this issue and not the President, he really don't have much influence on the issue 3) It was well-known that there was no way it would get the required 2/3 in the Senate.

So why did he do it? Simply because he know that this will mobilize his conservative base, who on religous grounds are obsessed with the for all rational people uninteresting and irrelevant issue of whether or not homosexuals can call themselves married or not. It was largely the desire of Christian fundamentalists to prevent "gay marriage" who helped Bush get re-elected in 2004, so now he tries to do it again.


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