John McCain showed up on Larry King Live the other day talking about his recent rapproachment with Jerry Falwell and about the issue of GLBT rights, among other things
Senator McCain had this to say about GLBT rights:KING: Do you support gay rights?
MCCAIN: Yes, sir. But I do not believe in -- I believe in the sanctity of heterosexual marriage.
KING: But didn't you support pro-union?
MCCAIN: I will vote against -- yes. I will vote against the constitutional amendment concerning gay marriage. Gay union...
KING: That would ban it. That would ban gay marriage. MCCAIN: Because I believe that the people of Arizona should make the decision concerning the sanctity of heterosexual marriage and union between a man and woman. And I believe the people of Massachusetts should make their decision, and others. I think it's up to the states to make those decisions. And by the way, that's the federalist approach.
KING: I know. And if Massachusetts would say it's OK, then you?
MCCAIN: I will respect the opinion of the people in Massachusetts. But the people of Arizona, I hope, would decide that a union between man and woman has a unique status.
KING: Do you favor a civil union?
MCCAIN: I think that...
KING: Arizona proposed that.
MCCAIN: I think it depends on -- well, I would respect the majority opinion of the people in Arizona. But a lot of times it depends on what do you mean by gay union? Does it mean that they're able to enter into certain contracts, people have a partnership? I think so. But to give it the status of heterosexual marriage is not something that I would support.
I agree with Senator McCain's federalist approach to marriage. Marriage has historically been a "reserved power" and the FMA, which would introduce federal regulation of marriage into the Constitution, is wrongheaded, to be polite about it. Our constitutional system was designed to distribute power between the federal government and the governments of the several states, and we erode that balance at our peril.
But Senator McCain's actions belie his bright "Yes, Sir!" when asked "Do you support gay rights?"
Senator McCain is a co-sponsor of the "Protect Marriage Arizona Amendment", which reads: "To preserve and protect marriage in this state, only a union between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage by this state or its political subdivisions and no legal status for unmarried persons shall be created or recognized by this state or its political subdivisions that is similar to that of marriage."
The PMA bans same-sex marriage, as well as civil unions, domestic partnerships and other "legal status for unmarried persons ... similar to that of marriage".
The PMAA, like the proposed amendment in my state, Wisconsin, is a "nuclear option" amendment that is intended to remove the possibility of state legislatures and state courts from granting any
legal protection of a type akin to marrige to GLBT couples and their children, and to remove the question from the political arena, permanently.
If the PMA passes in Arizona, the people of Arizona will have no further say in the matter, either through their legislature or their courts. If the PMA passes, the only
forum in which the struggle to protect GLBT couples will be fought is the federal courts.
The effect of the PMA -- sold as a "let the people decide" amendment -- is not to empower the people of Arizona to find a reasonable, practical and sensible way to protect traditional marriage while protecting GBLT couples and families, but to disenfranchise the people of Arizona and prevent them from doing so.
To which I can only reply, "No, sir!"