Cultural Revolutions

Republicans and DoMA

Republicans, including President George W. Bush, may have some explaining to do if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Suppose a lot of people were counting on you to accomplish something and there were two ways—one hard and one easy—to do it.  Which would you choose?  If you picked the hard way, and then failed, how would you explain that to the people counting on you?

“Gay-marriage” cases are now wending their way up to the Supreme Court.  There are two ways to stop them.  The hard way is by constitutional amendment, which requires a two-thirds vote of both the Senate and the House.  On July 18, the Marriage Protection Amendment failed in the House 236-187, 47 votes short.  The amendment, even had it passed the House, was going nowhere since it had already failed in the Senate, garnering only 49 votes—out of a needed 67—on a procedural vote in May.  So, in this case, the Amendment Route is worse than hard: It’s impossible.

In contrast, the House demonstrated the easy way when, the very day after the Marriage Protection Amendment failed, it passed a statute removing cases involving the Pledge of Allegiance from the U.S. Supreme Court’s docket by a 260-167 vote.  The easy way is the Statutory Route—a simple statute limiting what cases the Supreme Court can hear.  The House, in 2004,...

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