Former Senator John Danforth says that an ammendment to define marriage is silly.
Danforth, a Missouri Republican and an Episcopal priest, made the comments in a speech Saturday night to the Log Cabin Republicans, which support gay rights. He said history has shown that attempts to regulate human behavior with constitutional amendments are misguided.
“Once before, the Constitution was amended to try to deal with matters of human behavior; that was prohibition. That was such a flop that that was repealed 13 years later,” Danforth said.
Referring to the marriage amendment, he added that perhaps at some point in history there was a constitutional amendment proposed that was “sillier than this one, but I don’t know of one.”
Perhaps he does not consider Amendment XIII (Abolition) to be a real amendment; Missouri was a Confederate state, after all. However, I think he’s probably just being historically myopic to make a silly point.
The point is,
after all, rather silly. An amendment to define marriage would be just that: A definition of marriage. It would not attempt in any way to curtail anyone’s freedom. It would be an agreement of the United States on the definition of marriage. (One which, recent events should make obvious, is sorely needed. No one needs to define institutions we all agree upon; only when unstable people insinuate absurdities — which begin to be naïvely accepted by the masses — is society compelled to stop and define itself.)
When viewed realistically — and not as a stage for populist soundbites — the amendment aims to do what every amendment does: Define the jurisdiction of the federal government and the states.
In this case, the proposed amendment simply makes explicit that the federal government does not have the power to magically make absurdities into realities.
In truth, American society is doing what all societies do: Enacting legislation to protect its own existence and the welfare of its people. In this case, it is explicitly stating that the basic unit of society is the family and not the individual, that living in accordance with nature is better than chaos and anarchy. It is also protecting the welfare of future generations of Americans by refusing to allow dangerous fantasies to be masqueraded as healthy realities.
In short, this amendment is entirely unlike the eighteenth amendment (Prohibition). Whereas one attempted to outlaw a practice that has been a
generally felicitous part of the human experience since the first nomads discovered fermentation, the other explicitly approves and states what has been a part of the human experience since well before the dawn of reason upon our ancient hominid ancestors.
As for sillier amendment proposals, I’d say the title definitely goes to the proposed amendment to repeal Amendment XXVI (Right to vote for citizens eighteen years old) and grant
ing the right to vote to citizens sixteen years old.
Hat tip: Fr. Joseph Huneycutt
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