Let’s face it, there is something giddily unsettling about those wedding photos of same-sex couples – – two women in bridal gowns plighting their troth to each other or two men engaged in a double-ring ceremony. But juxtaposed to those photos of disorder and death in Iraq and Afghanistan they fade or should fade into obscurity as matters of concern. Besides, how is the sanctity of marriage served by those who engage in multiple unions and divorces, or who betray that special contract from time to time in extra-marital affairs?
Some on the religious right say that marriage is mostly for procreation. One must assume, then, that couples who are unable to bear children do not have sexual lives or that people past child-bearing age simply have hand-shake relationships. More to the point, however, why should anyone be forced to accept life according to someone else’s particularized religious tenets? And why, of all things, should this debate form the basis upon which a political party ‘gets out the vote?’ Are the real problems of the day just too thorny for leaders to handle?
It is obvious to most people that Republicans are trotting out the gay marriage issue to reinvigorate right-wing constituents in November so as to hold their majorities in Congress. Unfortunately for the country, that may be an accurate assessment of what moves enough of the electorate to turn an election.
It is disturbing that the leadership will debate this issue and bring it to a vote in the Senate, that it will be placed on numerous ballots this fall, that various pundits of dubious intellectual depth will discuss it ad infinitum as if it really bore some relationship to the problems faced by the nation both domestically and internationally. It’s the same old spectre back to haunt the halls of Congress factionalizing the country and jeopardizing the future of our children as battles rage in Iran and Afghanistan.
And it’s those same purveyors of “morals and ethics” who rail against gay marriage and abortion who are content to send our young people to be killed and maimed on the streets of foreign lands and to make phony assertions about patriotism and what is acceptable in battle and interrogation techniques. Sean Hannity asks “where’s the proof” that our troops willfully killed civilians in Haditha? Mr. Hannity will no doubt be rewarded in time by ample proof of what happened there, but by then his viewers will have digested the implication that our military may and should do whatever they feel inclined to do in the process of “protecting our freedoms”.
Likewise, Bill O’Reilly, apparently in some misguided attempt to mitigate events in Haditha, claimed that U.S. soldiers shot German prisoners in WWII at Malmédy during the Battle of the Bulge. In fact just the opposite was true as Keith Olberman of MSNBC-TV has pointed out – – German troops shot over 80 U.S. soldiers there as they surrendered.
How these media types in their demented netherworld are able to persuade so many to disbelieve what should be obvious and what a modicum of research would indicate is astonishing. The fact that our leadership similarly sidesteps difficult issues to feed the fears and prejudices of a sometime passive but increasingly restive nation is even more dispiriting.
If our leaders really want us to trust them and believe that they “Support the Troops” they should be working to find a way out of the morass created by their foreign-policy decisions and, as for the issue of gay marriage, get over it.

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