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The Only True Way to Save Marriage From Obama

Posted on May 17, 2012

By Joe Conason

For honoring his conscience on the issue of marriage equality, President Obama earned angry rebukes from all quarters on the right, including the Uncle Toms of the Log Cabin Republicans, who said he was “a day late and a dollar short”; teenage mom Bristol Palin, who mocked him for invoking his daughters in changing “thousands of years of thinking about marriage”; and 50-year-old virgin Ann Coulter, often engaged but never wed, who called his decision “a sign of desperation.”

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On the Fox Nation website, minions of Roger Ailes accused Obama of declaring “war on marriage,” echoing Rush Limbaugh’s charge that “the president of the United States is going to lead a war on traditional marriage,” while Karl Rove simply gloated that the controversy has left him “in a bad place” with Catholic and conservative voters.

All of these reflexive attacks were consistent with Republican propaganda shrieking that matrimonial rights for gay people will destroy the institution they hope to uphold. It is a puzzling argument, especially because the principal right-wing complaint against homosexuals for so many years was their alleged promiscuity. Now gays and lesbians are charged with trying to ruin the family because they want to take vows of fidelity.

In this historic moment for human rights, listening to the likes of Ailes (now on his third marriage) and Limbaugh (currently married to wife No. 4), not to mention Rove (divorced twice), it is impossible to believe that Republicans screaming about the future of wedlock are sincere. If they are truly worried about marriage, they should stop harassing gays and campaign for the only change that might make a real difference.

They could outlaw divorce, or least repeal the ultra-liberal, no-fault divorce laws that they’ve used to their own advantage.


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Across America—and particularly in the red states that have rejected gay marriage—divorce rates are continually rising, along with teen pregnancies, out-of-wedlock births and single motherhood (which somehow afflict gay-friendly blue states far less). Gay rights obviously isn’t the cause of marital strife and separation in those places where hostility to same-sex relationships is considered a religious duty. To achieve their professed goal of protecting marriage, shouldn’t the divorce addicts of the Republican right renounce their sins and return to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Old Testament, which forbid divorce except under a few very restricted circumstances?

Of course such a return to bygone moral standards would severely inconvenience men like the hypocrites named above—along with Rupert Murdoch, Newt Gingrich and a very large proportion of the GOP congressional caucus—and will therefore never occur. Restricting divorce wouldn’t be good social policy, anyway. Yet it is worth noting that the most enraged defenders of the traditional, heterosexual conjugal bond are men who have repeatedly trashed their own marriages.

Why should Limbaugh and his ilk deny gays and lesbians a chance at wedded bliss? Can they possibly set a worse example, after all, than he did?

Joe Conason is the editor in chief of

© 2012

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By kazy, May 19, 2012 at 11:02 pm Link to this comment
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loneagle: “I don’t like watching men make out.”

I don’t like watching men make out either - with other women. I think if men and women need to show PDA - please go indoors where I don’t have to see their ugly privileged asses. They have enough perks, I don’t need to watch their foreplay.

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By Marian Griffith, May 17, 2012 at 10:33 am Link to this comment
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—-Every culture on earth observes marriage as a ceremony born of religion.—-

In truth VERY few cultures do so. And if you go by population numbers it is an even smaller fraction. If you take into account historical cultures as well it becomes an insignificant small fraction.

The vast majority of cultures today and in the past have viewed marriage as a economic transaction between families. In cruder terms: One family sold their daughter to another (or in many cases: one family had to pay for the right to have the other family take the daughter off their hands). Marriage ceremonies were conducted by a priest because that was usually the only authority figure in the village. And for most of history, and in most countries, marriage ceremonies do not require the consent of the woman. The woman was told she has to obey this man. Her father was asked if he gives away his daughter and the groom was asked if he consented to the marriage. In many cultures even the last part is not happening and the families simply inform their children who they will be marrying.

In Europe religion played a role in it because it played a role in everything (and those who rejected that were first tortured and then burned alive). This was subsequently exported to the USA where the exclusivity of the church when it comes to controlling and regulating social relations holds sway to this day.

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By it's only Scott, May 17, 2012 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

So then, by the same token, wouldn’t state laws banning same-sex marriage or defining marriage also be arrogant - authoritarian, as well as a violation of the separation of church and state?

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By BARBBF, May 17, 2012 at 7:18 am Link to this comment
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Obama made the pro-same-sex-marriage announcement…got 15 Million $$$$ from George C. fundraiser…and Romeny polled 50 over Obama’s 43 points.

New Poll Shows Romney up by Seven Points

May 11, 2012 12:22 pm

Scott Rasmussen has just released a new presidential tracking poll with some significant results. Mitt Romney has opened up a seven-point lead over Barack Obama.  Romney hit the 50% mark for the first time in Rasmussen’s polling.

  The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows Mitt Romney earning 50% of the vote and President Obama attracting 43% support. Four percent (4%) would vote for a third party candidate, while another three percent (3%) are undecided.

  This is the first time Romney has reached the 50% level of support and is his largest lead ever over the president. It comes a week Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage and another disappointing jobs report that raised new questions about the state of the economy.

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By loneagle, May 17, 2012 at 6:10 am Link to this comment
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I don’t like watching men make out.

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By IMax, May 17, 2012 at 4:26 am Link to this comment

Every culture on earth observes marriage as a ceremony born of religion.  A ceremony between a man and a woman.  Forcing the vast majority to alter core beliefs in spirituality is arrogant. - Authoritarian.

State governments should end the practice of issuing “marriage licenses” and, in stead, issue certificates of “civil union” with all the legal rights and privileges afforded by law.  If a particular church or culture then wish to marry two people under the auspices of it’s doctrine or charter, so be it.

This solution also speaks to the issues of separation of church and state.  Marriage is an issue for each individual church or religion.  Divisions of property and the sharing of rights and benefits are matters of the state.

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