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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


February 26, 2004

Who's Going to Come To Our Aid?

David 'Kip' Koontz

Through our nation's history, amendments to the Constitution have very often been used to right wrongs, protect rights or ensure the equal status of the citizenry.

For instance, we are ensured the right to a speedy and public trial and are protected from unreasonable searches of our persons and homes.

Slavery was abolished through Amendment 8, and Amendment 9 states that "no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Amendment 15 ensures that the right of citizens to vote can not be denied or abridged on account of race or color; while 19 ensures that the right to vote can't be denied on account of sex; while the 24th ensures the right to vote even if a citizen hasn't paid a poll tax or other tax; and 26 lowered the voting age to 18.

Only the ill-fated attempt to enforce prohibition, Amendment 14, stands alone as the sole amendment designed to deny the people anything.

It was repealed by the 21st and we could again, imbibe - legally.

Now, the President of the United States, George W. Bush, calls for the passage of an amendment that would limit marriage to an institution between a male and a female only.

The rationale for such an amendment stems not from any legal or constitutional rationale. Rather, it stems solely from an attempt from one sect's interpretation of Christianity to impose its will on what is supposed to be a representative democracy, not a theocracy.

When you look at some of those who have been pushing Mr. Bush to propose such an amendment, one can easily see that this is purely theocratic in nature.

Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council; Rep. Marilyn Musgrave and the Alliance for Marriage, which is a group of religious leaders; Pat Robertson, and James Dobson, both ministers; and Gary Bauer along with other religious leaders and organizations are the driving force behind this. They have the ear of Mr. Bush on this issue, making it clear this stems only from a religious, not legal or constitutional basis.

Don't you find it ironic that when this administration fears a religious-based government might form in Iraq, and rues the religious-based fundamentalist views of the government of Iran, Mr. Bush takes in these most fundamentalist Christians as his allies in the attempt to help craft this amendment?

It is not a secret that groups such as these hope to see the United States led, not by legal or democratic principles, but theocratic ones, based solely on their interpretation of the Bible.

It is not unreasonable to believe that if they are successful in this endeavor that their "holy war," as some of them have described it, against the founding principles of this nation will continue.

Next may be an amendment to ban all abortion, which already has been discussed. The erection of 10 Commandment monuments may become mandatory in our classrooms and courtrooms. They already call for a return to mandatory prayer in schools, so that issue will be a given.

It is doubtful sex education will occur in our public schools, unless you consider abstinence the only true education. And faith based programs could become the only venue through which those less fortunate may obtain assistance.

It is true that Mr. Bush stated that he would afford states the ability to determine whether they would create a formula that would allow same-sex couples some kind of civil union or domestic partnership agreements that confer some of the privileges of marriage.

These plans, however, still deny same-sex couples from receiving Social Security survivors' benefits, the right to inherit property without paying federal taxes, the guarantee of the same pension benefits, or the same hospital visitation rights as heterosexual married couples.

One has to wonder what Mr. Bush hopes to gain from such a proposal.

Already there are Republicans officials whose statements make it clear they are wary of such an amendment. Some leading Republicans are keeping an arm's length distance from an all out embrace of the proposal.

Surprisingly, even House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, who has been no friend to gay people, said that there is a need to "look at our options" before taking a "knee-jerk" reaction on this issue.

After all, Mr. Bush would, one would think, already have the votes of those who are inclined to discriminate against gays simply by virtue of his previous statements. So who will this appeal to, whose vote does he hope to gain?

One might think that this would make many a moderate Democrat or Republican, who is not as motivated by this issue as some are, look very closely at voting Democrat this November.

Using the Constitution as a weapon to promote discrimination may end up not being as popular in the long run as Mr. Bush might hope.

Let us hope that is the case, for one has to wonder, if Mr. Bush's theocracy comes to fruition, what nation or nations will help liberate us.



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