subconcious Naderism

Kos takes Kerry to task for supporting the "Hate Amendment" in Massachusetts. However, I don't equate Kerry with Bush for doing so, because there are significant differences:

1. Kerry supports an amendment to the MA state constitution, not the federal US Constitution. State constitutions are not iconic in the sense that the US Constitution is. Much of the anger at Bush is because he is using an Amendment to enshrine discrimination into the foundation of law. The argument goes, this is a states issue. You cannot have it both ways and argue that states are free to decide this issue, but then demand that states adhere solely to one position. There's little difference between such a stance and that held by the conservative right.

2. The MA version explicitly allows for cvil unions. The proposed Musgrave Amendment slams the door shut on civil unions completely. Rejecting the MA amendment solely on the basis of a semantic argument is a classic example of "perfection is the enemy of the good." Worse, it undermines the civil rights argument that gay couples are making, because this entire issue hinges on the legal benefits of marriage, not the spiritual/emotional ones. I feel that the thousands of gay couples married in San Francisco these past few weeks were already married in the latter sense, if they were in a committed, monogamous, long-term relationship (which is defined as "common law marriage" for heteros, mind you). Why does the state need to explicitly call their relationship a mariage in order for it to be valid?

3. Kerry's position is exactly the same as Howard Dean, who signed a civil unions bill and has said that he does not favor gay marriage (and that it is a decision best left to the states, see point 1). It's also the same as Edwards. If this is truly an ideological litmus test that is being applied, then Kos might as well endorse Kucinich and drop the pretense.

I'm not a ADD (Any Damn Democrat) kind of guy, but I am ABB (Anybody But Bush) and so my immediate goals coincide with Kos. But the insistence that the Right Thing to Do is automatically equivalent to the left-most Progressive vision of total gender indifference to the institution of marriage is as mis-guided as the same confident assertions from the right. And in that sense, maybe Nader has a point. Or at least, he will, if the Democratic Party becomes infiltrated by these Green-inspired litmus tests. Intellectual moderation has no home in either party, apparently.

UPDATE: in case anyone is thinking of using gay marriage as a litmus test to endorse Edwards over Kerry, here are some facts to chew on:

from USA Today's The Candidates Positions on Gay Rights, John R. Edwards (D-NC) opposes same-sex marriages, supports domestic-partner benefits for same-sex couples.

Kerry was one of only 14 senators to vote against the "Defense of Marriage Act" in 1996.

Edwards in his own words:

"As I have long said, I believe gay and lesbian Americans are entitled to equal respect and dignity under our laws," Edwards said in response to the court's November 2003 decision. "While I personally do not support gay marriage, I recognize that different states will address this in different ways, and I will oppose any effort to pass an amendment to the United States Constitution in response to the Massachusetts decision."

emphasis mine.

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