A proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage was tweaked Monday to give states the right to recognize same-sex civil unions, but sponsors shied away from including language that could squelch legal challenges in Utah to the constitutionality of prohibiting polygamy. …
Still, the Colorado senator [Wayne Allard] acknowledged that he and [Colorado Rep. Carolyn] Musgrave purposefully did not define marriage as a union between “one man and one woman,” which would have effectively eliminated any possible ambiguity over the unconstitutionality of plural marriage, which Congress outlawed in 1882.
“We had a real definite debate on that,” said Allard. “If you say ‘one man and one woman,’ that creates issues about divorces and remarrying, so we didn’t want to go into that. So that’s why we have ‘a man and a woman.’ ”
The Salt Lake Tribune, March 23, 2004
Every day these folks make it clearer and clearer that the intent of the Federal Marriage Amendment is not, in fact, to “preserve the sanctity of marriage” but merely to enshrine in the Constitution their contempt (if not outright hatred) of and bigotry towards gay people.
Given that they were so careful about the language in this one phrase, though, it certainly belies their claims until recently that the original language of the amendment wouldn’t prohibit legislated (as opposed to constitutionally or judicially mandated, which they still intend to ban–so it’s ok for Congress to take away rights using the federal constitution, but not for states to given them with their own) civil unions, language they’ve now changed explicitly.
I must admit to some gleefulness contemplating the potential fallout if they hadn’t seen this potential problem with their words, and had ended up constitutionally prohibiting divorce and remarriage.