Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Stopping Short My Ass... 

Yahoo! News - Bush Stops Short on Constitution Gay Marriage Ban
"If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process," Bush said.
That doesn't sound like stopping short to me.

Conservatives love constitutional amendments. They want one for to outlaw flag burning. They want one to require prayer in schools. They want one that requires a super majority to change tax laws. They want a constitutional ban on abortion. The list goes on and on.

The Constitution has three basic functions. First, it defines the structure of the government and the relationship between the three branches. The second function is the limitation of the powers of the government. The third is the protection of minorities against the tyranny of the majority. The Bill of Rights speaks mostly to the second function. The 11th, 12th, 16th, 17th, 20th, 22nd, 23rd, 25th, and 27th amendments deal with the function of government and the relationship between the branches. Most of the remaining amendments seek to protect minorities. The 13th outlawed slavery. The 14th established due process and equal protection. The 15th guaranteed minorities the right to vote. The 19th gave women the right to vote. The 24th eliminated the poll tax.

That leaves the 18th and the 21st. The 18th was Prohibition. The 21st repealed it. Prohibition did not fit into the framework of the Constitution. It did not define the structure of government. It certainly did not limit the power of the government. It did not protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority. What it did was inflict the moral beliefs of a particular group upon the entire country. 14 years later that mistake was corrected.

The proposed amendment to ban homosexual marriage is similar to Prohibition. It does not serve any of the three functions of the Constitution. It will inflict the moral beliefs of a particular group upon the entire country. This amendment is just another example of the GOP's inability to play within the rules. They impeach, recall and redistrict when they can't win. The recount when they lose. Now they will amend when they violate our most sacred document.

The founding fathers made the amending the Constitution extremely difficult for a reason. The tyranny of the majority can and often does harm that takes decades or centuries to correct. The Republican party would do well to learn a valuable lesson. We did not inherit the Constitution from our forefathers. We are merely borrowing it from our children. Don't handcuff future generations for short term political gain.