constitutional outlaw

I hardly know how to describe how I feel today; since my lunch break from the training class today, when I came back to my desk to discover those big bold top-of-the-page headlines on The Washington Post and The New York Times noting that Bush is calling for codifying discrimination against an entire class of American citizens in perhaps our most fundamental document of national identity, the one that otherwise provides for our civil liberties, I’ve been shaking. I feel just as though I’d been slapped in the face, punched in the stomach or spit on. I’m angry, I’m saddened, I’m embittered. I’m sick and I’m tired. I expected this announcement, though, so why am I having such a visceral reaction?

I might be able to muster some respect for those who call for a constitutional amendment “defending the sanctity of marriage” and “concern for the welfare of our children” if it were accompanied by a clear consistent message on those fronts; if it outlawed divorce, say, or prohibited marriage to the infertile, closed down quickie wedding chapels in Nevada, or mandated extreme penalties for heterosexual adultery and infidelity. But this message and those who carry its banner are–purely and simply–hateful, shameful, ignorant and obscenely misanthropic and, yes, the real anti-Americans, religious fundamentalists at least as dangerous to this country in their own way as any religious extremist. I’m sickened to my very core about the theocratic undertones to this administration and its actions.

Once our place as second-class citizens of this country is enshrined in the Constitution–hell, our place as Constitutionally mandated sub-humans, given that Bush would have us denied access to (as historically wrong as his claim may be, though that’s never stopped him before) “the most enduring human institution”–then, I ask you, who’s next? The Patriot Act, a Constitutional amendment… folks, the frogs are in the pot, and the water’s starting to warm up.

[The other] Jeff posted a link to an incredible, powerful letter, published in a Vermont newspaper during that state’s rancorous debate on homosexuality and civil unions, by a mother of a gay son. Read it. I intend to send a copy of this letter to all of my friends, to all of my family. I intend to work my hardest to defeat this proposed amendment, and to get Bush out of the White House this fall.

I used to believe that those of my friends and family who supported Bush did so with the best of motives and intentions, and that we could still love and support one another regardless. And at the time, that was true. No more. This is a matter of my life, my liberty and my personal pursuit of happiness. I have learned the language of the other side: either my family and my friends are with me on this, or they are against me. There can be no more middle ground where this religious zealot in the White House is in question. As far as I’m concerned, a vote for Bush in 2004 from anyone I know and love quite simply is a statement of ignorance, hatred and scorn, and I will no longer need that person in my life.

One does not have to support gay marriage to understand that amending our Constitution is unequivocally the wrong way to express that point-of-view, and that our country’s leader should have much higher priorities right now than fomenting, endorsing and enshrining hatred in a document as precious to our liberty and national identity as the U.S. Constitution.