Monday, July 1, 2013

The Federal Marriage Amendment's Impending Doom

From Raw Story
The Republican congressman [Tim Huelskamp of Kansas] accused the Supreme Court of allowing “the desires of adults to trump the needs of children” by striking down a key section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 earlier in the day. 
“This radical usurpation of legislative and popular authority will not end the debate over marriage in this country,” Huelskamp said. “Congress clearly must respond to these bad decisions, and as a result, I plan to introduce the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) to amend the United States Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” 
The constitutional amendment would prohibit same-sex couples from marrying nationwide. Republicans had attempted to pass a similar constitutional amendment in 2006, but failed.  
“Decades of research on families, combined with generations and centuries of human experience, all agree – children do best when they have a married mom and dad in the home,” Huelskamp claimed. “This ruling further undermines that ideal, causing harm to America’s children and all of society.”
And here comes the backlash/overreaction from social conservatives. It is not surprising, but it is disappointing on MANY levels. This particular response speaks to the tone-deafness of social conservatives as well as how oblivious Huelskamp is to how this issue has played out and will continue to play out in society at-large and in Congress more specifically. And Congress is the first hurdle. In order for the amendment to pass, it will need a supermajority of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The former is not likely while the latter is just delusional. In the Senate, all but three Democrats (Democrats holding the majority in the Senate) support marriage equality, but three Republicans make up for those lost Democrats. Thus, not even a simple majority of the Senate will support this amendment.

Let's pretend that somehow this amendment made it through Congress (as my friends across the pond would say "not bloody likely" but anyway...). The amendment then faces the states. 38 state legislatures would have to ratify this amendment. These amendments take years upon years to make their way through the process whether they succeed or not, and time is not in this amendment's favour. When a similar bill made its way through seven years ago, as the article noted, it failed. Since then, public support for marriage equality has only risen. Several state legislatures, including with Republican support, passed marriage equality measures. In short, this country is moving towards supporting marriage equality regardless of socio-economic strata or political ideology. Yes, even conservatives and Republicans are increasingly supporting equality. As time continues to pass, this amendment's chances of passage will only wane further.

Republicans of late (specifically in the House of Representatives) have seemed to pass bill after bill that has no chance of becoming law. remember, they have voted 37 times to repeal Obamacare and failed every time. Such is the fate of this federal marriage amendment. The GOP will also show yet again how while America is progressing forward into the future, the GOP will try to drag the nation kicking and screaming back into the past.

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