Don’t rush to amend Constitution

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 26, 2004

The headlines in Wednesday’s papers made much ado about President Bush urging a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

Critics of the president said he was merely pandering to his party’s base – Christian conservatives.

While that’s likely somewhat true, one can’t dismiss the fact that polls show the majority of Americans are opposed to putting society’s stamp of approval on gay marriage. In effect, the president is speaking up for the majority.

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Regardless of how one feels about the subject, the bigger issue is whether a constitutional amendment is necessary. It’s not.

As one congressman was quoted, a constitutional amendment should be a last resort, not a first resort. Currently, 38 states have laws on the books not recognizing gay marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act is the law of the land.

Let’s hope Congress does not have a knee-jerk reaction to what is going on in California and Massachusetts. Our Constitution is our most sacred secular document and it should not be changed on a whim, or to energize any particular constituency.

Traditional marriage has been under assault for years from divorce, adultery and domestic violence. It was on the decline long before the Massachusetts court said it was OK and the mayor of San Francisco began granting licenses. Changing the United States Constitution won’t fix the problem.