Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Marriage Amendment

This morning, President Bush reiterated his support of a marriage amendment to the Constitution. From what I gather, the basic idea of the amendment would be to define marriage as an institution that involve one man and one woman. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave recently introduced such an amendment in the House, and Sen. Wayne Allard introduced one in the Senate. Thus far, the President has not endorsed any specific proposal.

I personally have mixed feelings about such an amendment. First of all, I think that amending the Constitution is the appropriate method of changing things that are truly Constitutional issues. I think it is entirely inappropriate when judges "interpret" the Constitution by reading it to say what they believe the Founders should have written. However, amending the Constitution is a big deal, and amendments that stand the test of time are difficult to draft.

Since I have not seen the text of any proposed amendment, I cannot offer any specific comments or criticisms. I would leave readers with this reminder, however. While changing the Constitution is a big and intimidating thing to do, it is important to remember that adding this definition to the text will not represent any change at all in national policy on marriage. The definition of marriage in our nation has long been recognized as an institution that involves one man and one woman. Just because it has not previously been written down in this form does not mean that it is not so. Furthermore, this is not the first time that the definition of marriage has been examined. A very similar issue involving polygamy was discussed in our country when Utah was admitted to the Union. While I am not fully prepared to get on the amendment bandwagon just yet, I want to remind readers that those seeking a radical change in our nation are the individuals who oppose the President's definition of marriage and not those who are proposing to amend the Constitution.