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Biennial Division Politics

Editorial for June 15, 2006

Security at our ports. Endless fighting in Iraq. Ever-increasing energy prices. Ever-expanding national debt. Rebuilding of the Gulf Coast. Global warning. Standoff with Iran. Allegations that U.S. troops murdered unarmed Iraqi citizens. A prescription drug plan for seniors that is confusing, expensive, and unwieldy. Government wiretapping of U.S. citizens without court orders. Identity theft potentially impacting millions of our veterans. Corruption in Congress. Corporate control of major news outlets. Excessive secrecy from the White House. The possibility of a bird flu pandemic that could kill millions.

The list goes on and on to a dizzying degree.

Yet if President Bush and the leadership of our Congress are to be taken seriously, more important than any of these issues is the specter of "gay marriage." Bush spent several days last week focusing on this topic, and the Republican-led Congress dutifully set all other issues aside to push on this point.

It doesn't even matter where you stand -- whether you believe gay marriage is a terrible thing, or you think it's none of the federal government's business. The reality is, this is simply an attempt to divert attention from the problems listed above.

Our political leaders seem to have no answers, no solutions, and no ideas on how to improve the conditions that really do impact the lives of American citizens. So rather than discuss their failure of leadership and failure of competence, out come the diversions and distractions. "Look over here, everyone! Never mind what's going on anywhere else!"

Have we heard anything about gay marriages from our national political leaders since the 2004 election? No. This is an election year phenomenon (aka "sham"). And it's far from over. The House of Representatives will wait another month, get a bit closer to the November elections, then wade into the gay marriage issue again. Never mind that since the Senate has rejected the amendment, what the House does on this topic is irrelevant.

This is not about getting results, it's about cynically trying to change the equation as the mid-term elections loom, and those behind the scenes don't care who gets hurt in the process.

The fact is, all but five states in this nation already have laws on the books that stipulate that "marriage is a union between a man and a woman." Further, all 50 states are already covered by federal legislation on the matter. The Defense of Marriage Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, bars recognition of same-sex marriages and allows states to ignore gay marriages performed elsewhere. So where is the crying need for a constitutional amendment?

After this November, if you're really interested in gay marriage -- from either side of the equation -- you can expect the debate to resume at just about this time in 2008.

Odd, isn't it, how these divisive social "crises" surface only when we're deep into the election campaign season. If the American voters fall for it yet again, we'll get to keep the broken government we have -- and it will be the government we deserve.

JB

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