Saturday, June 16, 2007

Fanning the Flames

After watching "The Daily Show" (Thursday night, which featured this cryptic video from Mike Gravel), I went to Mike Gravel's website to see if I could learn more. Once on the site, I was surprised to see Gravel come out in full support of equal marriage rights. I thought it was pretty brave of him to speak out so openly on an issue that has been so divisive and seems to strike people at such a deep level. So I decided to see if any other Democratic candidates were willing to address the issue directly, and how much play Republican candidates would give the issue on their websites. (Virtually every candidate has an "issues" button where they list their stands on a variety of key issues of their choosing. Dennis Kucinich's site lists dozens of issues, where

Unfortunately, the results were just about what I expected. Only two of the eight Democratic candidates would even touch the issue, though both (Gravel and Kucinich) were in favor of civil marriage equality. Of the ten Republican candidates, all but Ron Paul mention the issue, and all of them are against marriage equality. Giuliani, while reiterating that marriage is between a man and a woman, "supports domestic partnerships that provide stability for committed partners in important legal and personal matters." That's more than any other Republican candidate will do, but note it's not "ALL legal and personal matters," but only "IMPORTANT legal and personal matters." So I think we have to mark Giuliani as still standing for inequality.

Some Republicans went even farther. Three called for the U.S. Constitution to be amended to define marriage as one man and one woman. Four mentioned (though not necessarily in conjunction with same-sex marriage) that judges should not legislate from the bench. Personally, I think the Constitution does a pretty good job of defining who gets to make the law and who gets to interpret the law, and all the talk of "activist judges" is nothing more than inflaming the passion of their base.

Again, if only we could get our politicians (on all sides) to focus on reason and the common good, instead of fanning the flames of partisanship, we'd all be a lot better off.

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