'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Moral Conservatives Want It Both Ways. Media Let's Them Have It

FAIR reports that media coverage of the proposed ammendment banning gay marriage has been misleading regarding the consequences of the legislation. Proponents of the ban and pundits are spinning advocacy of the ammendment from a state's rights angle, implying or openly declaring that although gay marriages would be illegal federally, states could pass their own civil union laws:

"[The amendment] would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, but allow states to establish civil unions for gay couples. Some conservatives are unhappy that the proposed amendment would allow civil unions for gay couples." -- Terry Moran, ABC World News Tonight correspondent

The thing is ... the above isn't clearly true. It's an issue that is under dispute; however, the media consistently reports the ammendment story such that it is implied civil unions will not be banned. Here's the text of the proposed amendment:

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

The second sentence is what is under dispute. Conservative's backing the the-legality-of-civil-unions-will-be-up-to-states interpretation assert

The second sentence is directed at courts, stripping from them the power to compel homosexual marriage by appeal to other constitutional provisions.*

but even if the above is the intended interpretation if homosexual civil unions could not be compelled by appeal to other constitutional provisions, isn't it just a matter of time before they were banned outright. Furthermore, it is not at all clear that the above is the intended interpretation.

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