February 27, 2004

"Vile and vicious and hateful." Rosie O'Donnell gives this reason for going to San Francisco to marry her female partner:
"We were both just trying to come here after the sitting president said the vile and vicious and hateful comments he did on Tuesday and inspired myself and my brand-new wife to fly here this morning."
Quite aside from how it sounds to cite hostility to President Bush as your reason to marry or, more specifically, whether the gay marriage cause is helped by presenting it as a political protest, is it really necessary to tar supporters of the Federal Marriage Amendment this way? It was only two years ago that O'Donnell first publicly said that she was gay. How fast can you expect social progress to take place? Only last summer, the Supreme Court withdrew the power to make homosexual sodomy a crime, and now, already, we are asked to think people are "vile and vicious and hateful" because they want to restrict marriage to different sex couples? It was only a couple months ago that Howard Dean was being praised for instituting civil unions in Vermont, while specifically reserving marriage for heterosexual couples.

The President Bush's statement this week takes a similiar approach to Dean's (albeit by constitutional amendment):
The amendment should fully protect marriage, while leaving the state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage.

America's a free society which limits the role of government in the lives of our citizens. This commitment of freedom, however, does not require the redefinition of one of our most basic social institutions.

Our government should respect every person and protect the institution of marriage. There is no contradiction between these responsibilities.

We should also conduct this difficult debate in a matter worthy of our country, without bitterness or anger.

In all that lies ahead, let us match strong convictions with kindness and good will and decency.
Now that is portrayed as "vile and vicious and hateful"? Supporters of gay marriage would do well to show some understanding for the feelings and beliefs of the people they are trying to persuade. The sense of alarm about the proposed amendment is understandable, though unwarranted, but it is counterproductive to become overheated and engage in this kind of inflammatory rhetoric. The light of reason is on your side: why act as if you don't think it is?

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