Bush married to old ways

I guess my future wife can sleep easy at night because George W. Bush is here to save the day. Our institution of marriage cannot be threatened now thanks to our ultra-American president.

As has long been expected, Bush has publicly endorsed a Constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriages across the country. What should be called into question is not the evidence Bush uses to support his stance — even though he is wrong in assuming the guardianship of Americans’ “morals” — but rather the sense in supporting such a clearly unconstitutional idea.

According to the old cliché, those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. Apparently nobody has bothered to share this with Bush. If they had, maybe he would not stand up against a civil rights progression when virtually every other civil rights advancement in this country’s history has succeeded against popular opposition.

Women’s suffrage, the lowering of the voting age and the outlawing of racial segregation have all come about in the last 150 years despite the fact that large numbers of people, using logic similar to Bush’s, tried to prevent them.

Like those debates, the gay marriage issue is cut-and-dry. The proposal Bush endorsed would differentiate between “marriages” between a man and a woman and “civil unions” between same-sex partners. But that still goes against every principle this country supposedly stands for, as it is no more legal to discriminate against people because of their sexuality than it is to do so by race, gender or age. As with its past mistakes, eventually this nation will realize its faults and gay marriages will have to be legalized.

I can’t understand how oblivious a person must be to convince himself that any kind of discrimination is not only a good idea, but also necessary to protect the American people. If Bush really thinks, with unemployment, violent crime and other serious problems begging for attention, that he is doing anyone a favor by trying to “protect the institution of marriage,” then he desperately needs to re-evaluate his priorities.

What really frustrates me, however, is that Bush is not alone in supporting anti-gay marriage legislation. Democratic front-runner John Kerry, while opposing a constitutional amendment, still discriminates against gays by taking the “civil union” route. With San Francisco “marrying” thousands of gays in the last two weeks, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed his discriminatory attitude as well. Aside from a few city mayors and some U.S. congressmen, officials all over the country are imparting hatred and insecurity by discriminating against a group of people entitled to the same constitutional rights as the officials themselves.

It took nearly a century of women campaigning before the right to vote was extended. Laws have been passed for the last 150 years protecting the rights of all races in America. It may not come easy or soon, but someday, gay marriage will be legalized in this country. It has to be because there is no legal reason for it not to be. The reasons are simply ideological. Bush probably won’t be in power when America wakes up and realizes this terrible hypocrisy, but eventually a public figure will have to stand up against the cowards now who are afraid of change.

“American values,” Bush’s trump card at every turn, are not to oppose gay marriage. Theoretically, American values would mean permitting gay marriages because to deny anyone the “pursuit of happiness,” as that silly little document called the Declaration of Independence called it, is unjust. Of course, we can’t let things like the basis on which this country was founded get in the way when “American values” are in danger, can we?

I have no idea what the next civil rights movement might be after discrimination against gays comes to an end; whatever it is, a similar fight will likely be waiting for them. Americans refuse to learn from their mistakes, and the result is repeated embarrassment, as every few decades we have to redefine the term “all” in “all men created equal.”

Adam Becker is a freshman majoring in mass communications and Assistant News Editor at The Oracle.