In case you haven't heard, the vote in the United States Senate to invoke cloture on SJ Res-1, the so-called, "Protection of Marriage Amendment," did not receive the required sixty votes to pass. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, the kowtow to far right fundamentalistic Christians--protect marriage, ya'll--to amend the United States Constitution to that particular end, is dead. For now, at least. It's a good bet that Colorado's Senator Wayne "Potted Plant" Allard will bring the issue to the floor again and again and again. After all, it's the only thing the pitiful dullard does all year for the flatlanders up north. (Note: According to my definition, you can live up north and not necessarily be a "flatlander." A "flatlander," by the way, still leans toward the belief that the world is flat and, in addition, would be as comfortable living in Topeka, Kansas and in, oh, say, Loveland, Colorado.)
The supporters of this ignoble attempt to pullback and reign in their Christian wingnut base (a base that threatened wholesale abandonment of their Republican Party come this November if the amendment were not put on the table again) gained one yea vote over the 2004 totals. 2004: 48yea, 50 nay. 2006: 49yea, 48nay. Once again, 60 votes were needed to pass this ridiculous bill. Interestingly, however, there are three additional Republicans in the Senate this year as opposed to 2004.
It is important to note that DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act--which Bill Clinton signed, by the way (and, indeed, wasn't it Bill Clinton under whom the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," abortion was accomplished!) establishes the definition of marriage as solely between one man and one woman. DOMA also evokes the power of Congress under the "Effect" clause of Article IV, Section 1 of the constitution, known as the "Full Faith and Credit Clause," to preclude the necessity of any state to honor the marriage of a same-sex couple that occurred in another state. Citing the realities of DOMA in one sense obviously precludes the necessity for an Amendment to the United State Constitution and, in another, begs for the larger argument which Justice Kennedy noted in Romer vs. Evans that, "We must conclude that Amendment 2 classifies homosexuals not to further a proper legislative end but to make them unequal to everyone else. This Colorado cannot do. A State cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws. Amendment 2 violates the Equal Protection Clause, and the judgment of the Supreme Court of Colorado is affirmed." You may recall Amendment 2 was a successful referendum that precluded all legislative, executive, or judicial action at any level of state or local government designed to protect the status of persons based on their ``homosexual, lesbian or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships."
So, sue me, if I cannot see the compatibility of DOMA with Romer vs. Evans. Isn't there still the larger issue to be resolved? Are gay folk "equal" under the promise of the United States Constitution?
As to an amendment to the United States Constitution with regard to flag desecration... This is, of course, another hot button issue that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (you remember him, don't you, making a diagnosis on the Senate floor in the Terry Schiavo case? Real class act.) is brining up next in order to, yes, solidify that God-fearin' base for this November's elections.
My view of this one--although I was surprised how abhorrent I found it when the Fred Phelps folks showed up from Topeka (you know, the "God Hates Fags" good Christian folk who picket funerals of fallen soldiers!) and three or four of their group stood on American flags, walked on the flag, scuffed their feet on the flag. It bothered me. It still bothers me.
But, an amendment to the United States Constitution limiting that particular expression of free speech (as flag desecration has been found to represent is prior SC decisions)? Nah, I just don't see it. Those who desecrate the flag should, ahem, be punched in the Goddamn face. The Constitution doesn't need to deal with this ignominiousness behavior. Let a vet handle it.