It had been a few days of calm on the front lines, an uneasy cease fire in the Culture Wars while the country (aka the people with jobs on cable TV) anxiously waited for last Friday’s employment numbers. The numbers were released, but numbers are boring, so it was inevitable that another sexier War (a War without math) would be declared to kick start the presidential campaigns and ignite the patriotic and moral passions of the out-of-work cable viewers.
Unbeknownst to President Obama, it was his shy and reserved Vice President who would fire the opening salvo of this skirmish by declaring on national television that he favored same sex marriage. The VP was under strict orders not to shoot his mouth until his boss gave the order, but Biden is nothing if not trigger happy. Once his verbal shot was fired, the War was on. President Obama had to drop the Big One. He came out of his political closet and openly declared support for same sex marriage equality loud and proud on ABC News.
Fox News declared it a War without the conventional vote of all Republican leaders authorizing such a conflict. No matter. The rank and file was ready to combat the homosexual Axis of Evil: Obama, Will and Grace. Will and Grace have been cancelled so Obama is the only member of the Axis left to cancel, and cancel the Right will try, with, as the soldiers would say, “extreme prejudice”. All’s fair in war, but apparently not in the realm of love. I must have been misinformed.
GOP leadership was mostly mute on the topic of gay marriage post-Obama’s outing, preferring to take the hilltop of The High Ground for once and pivot to Obama’s vulnerable flank, the economy. Not every GOP Congressman got the memo on the new War strategy…or maybe GOP members of the Armed Services Committee were secretly ordered to give the gay community a Code Red.
Members of the House Armed Services committee voted to include the measure offered by Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-Miss.) into the panel’s version of the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill that banned “marriage or marriage-like ceremonies” between same-sex couples from taking place at American military bases. (“Marriage-like ceremonies” – I wonder what exactly they were picturing as a marriage-like ceremony when writing this prohibition. Dinner and a movie?)
Republican panel members also approved language sponsored by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) to protect homophobic military personnel from reprisals for expressing “their moral principles and religious beliefs… concerning the appropriate and inappropriate expression of human sexuality.”
So the Atkins Amendment would protect with the power of law the right of one soldier to shout at another soldier, “Hey you f^c&ing f@gg@t!” under the guise of religious freedom and self-expression of heartfelt beliefs. I do not doubt for one minute that the beliefs are heartfelt, although it is oddly ironic that such overt hate can be described as heartfelt, when its public expression reveals the absence of a heart. Without a heart, how can you feel it?
The gentle phrasing of “inappropriate expression of human sexuality” is a poorly disguised message to all the haters out there. You could consider the friendly butt slap or most hip-hop dances to be an ‘inappropriate expression of human sexuality”, but I do not think that is the behavior Rep. Atkins is looking to punish and abolish. The law has one target, and it is the expression of legal behavior in a free society that makes some people uncomfortable.
I cannot recall a time when the protective immunity of crying “religion” could be placed around hateful and bigoted behaviors. Never mind, yes I can. That didn’t take long.
All this language written and added to the law to help win the War on Marriage, slipped into a defense appropriations bill that is designed to provide more money to the Pentagon than it asked for at the expense of social programs. All this, despite that fact that military leaders agreed to and in some cases advocated for an end to DADT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), and all this, despite the fact that ‘unit cohesion’ has not been compromised. What are you afraid of? Never mind, we know.
When the Far Right starts advocating for a ban on divorce in this country, I’ll start taking the faux outrage over the imaginary end of traditional marriage more seriously. Look it up, brethren. Adultery – it is mentioned prominently in Commandment #6, and The Holy Trinity appears to be against it in a 3-0 party line vote.
If you really want to protect traditional marriage, ban heterosexual divorce. You promise before God and man to love, honor and cherish ‘til death do you part, you wear a ring symbolizing your fidelity, so live with it. It’s a contract, and the rule of law is sacrosanct. In fact, it's God's law #6. Until then, I cannot take the chorus of voices pushing to legislate the definition of traditional marriage seriously.