Thursday, May 10, 2012

Federal Action Needed

Stop the presses, he says sarcastically.    Barack Obama finally has evolved in favor of same-sex marriages.

State Senator Obama, in a liberal district in Chicago, supported a right of consenting adults to marry whomever they chose.     In 2004, U.S. Senator was opposed, a prudent position for someone eyeing the presidency.     Now, he has evolved back to his original position, which most people always believed was his perspective.

It is, in a way, a conservative point of view- not in the sense of supporting a state of matrimony, a stabilizing influence in society- but in the very important manner of process.  President Obama told interviewer (transcript here) ABC's Robin Roberts (not this Robin Roberts, regrettably)

And what you're seeing is, I think, states working through this issue-- in fits and starts, all across the country. Different communities are arriving at different conclusions, at different times. And I think that's a healthy process and a healthy debate. And I continue to believe that this is an issue that is gonna be worked out at the local level, because historically, this has not been a federal issue, what's recognized as a marriage.

That is an issue on which Barack Obama should evolve.    The President believes it "a healthy process" that "different communities are arriving at different conclusions, at different times."    Roberts, herself black, failed to ask Mr. Obama if (had he been an adult at the time) he would have taken a similarly sanguine view of segregation.

Restriction of same-sex marriage is not on the same moral plane as segregation.    But it is, as was legally-sanctioned separation of the races, a matter which should not be decided on a state-by-state, ad hoc basis.       This is a national issue, and should be decided on a national basis.    Gay marriage should be banned, or the states barred from prohibiting same, by one of the three branches of the federal government.     That would preclude the problem faced by two lesbians, reported last month by ABC:

But for some, like Jessica Port and Virginia Anne Cowan, who were married in California in 2008, divorce is hard to come by.

Maryland’s highest court is hearing arguments today on the precedent-setting case to determine if same-sex marriages granted in other states can be dissolved in one where the marriage is not recognized.

“It’s critically important for married same-sex couples in Maryland, that their marriages be recognized and respected,” said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco and one of the attorneys representing Port, told ABC News.

Granting divorce to same-sex couples has been an inconsistent practice within the state, lawyers involved in Friday’s case said. Though they believe judges have granted about a half a dozen divorces for gay couples, their clients, Port and Cowan, and at least one other couple were recently denied that.

Minter emphasized that divorces “shouldn’t depend on what judge you get.”

No, approval of a divorce for Port and Cowan should not depend on what judge they were assigned- or in what state they attempt to obtain that divorce.       But in Barack Obama's world of evolution, it might depend on the state in which they file their action.    The number of such conflicts will only grow, probably exponentially, as states go their own way on gay marriage.

President Obama told Roberts, approvingly, "what I'm saying is is that different states are coming to different conclusions. But this debate is taking place-- at a local level."     The left's enthusiasm for Obama's endorsement yesterday is slightly odd, given that, as Roberts pointed out, 30 states have debated the issue, with the voters turning thumbs down on same sex marriage in each.     Those progressives who believe it is a humans rights issue might want to heed the words (emphasis mine) of a real Democrat, the late Hubert Humphrey, who declared  "The time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states' rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights."

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