Friday, June 02, 2006

AJC's Cynthia Tucker: On gay unions, pandering rises above principles

On gay unions, pandering rises above principles--excellent op-ed by Cynthia Tucker at "Doing the right thing is difficult because it often means losing. And the typical politician is willing to lose anything — honor, integrity, dignity — but an election.

That helps explain why, during this election season, so few politicians have stepped forward to denounce initiatives against gay marriage as the cynical and opportunistic tactics that they are. They know that playing on prejudice and fear can rally a certain constituency and provide the winning margin in tight races.

It certainly worked two years ago. Republican tacticians maneuvered to add amendments against gay marriage to the ballots in 11 states, including Georgia. The result was to lure religious conservatives to the polls in large numbers, probably giving President Bush the boost he needed in the battleground state of Ohio.

This year, conservative Republicans — struggling against voter discontent over Iraq, health care and high gas prices, among other things — are desperate to bring those religious conservatives back to the polls. So they've resurrected the same tired tactic. Next month, the Senate is expected to vote on an amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex unions.

Senate leaders haven't made much of an effort to disguise the initiative as anything other than the base political ploy that it is. After a frenzy of gay-bashing during the 2004 campaign season — they thundered against gay marriage as a threat to just about every family tradition, from man-woman marriages to peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches — Republican leaders hadn't even mentioned the issue again. The threat disappeared for two years. Until now, when they're facing the prospect of losing control of Congress."


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