Millions of people who lost their jobs two years ago are still out of work, despite our president's rah-rah claims about the economy. Iraq has melted down to the point where our fearless "bring 'em on" leaders are crawling back to those yellow-bellied "weasels" on the U.N. Security Council. (It's amusing to see Colin Powell suddenly romancing the French and the Germans, who, so far, are rightly balking, since Bush & Co. still wants them to be the bottom boys.) The Environmental Protection Agency, we now learn, didn't think the air at Ground Zero was safe in the days after the World Trade Center attacks-but did want us all to get back to work, so they kept the news to themselves. Quietly, the Bush administration last week relaxed the rules on emergency room care, meaning that when any one of us has a heart attack or gets into a car accident we might just be left to die because we're poor or lack health insurance-another favor to the corporate Bush buddies who run hospitals and insurance companies.
And the current issue of Vanity Fair reveals that the White House signed on to whisking 140 elite Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, out of the country in the days immediately following 9/11. While the rest of us were grounded for a week, the oil-rich Arabs were jetted out by the oil-rich Bush/Cheney crowd, flying out from as many as 10 cities, apparently without a thorough background check and enough FBI interrogation. The supposedly tough-on-terrorism president may have let some people who aided the hijackers out of the country, sending them back to Riyadh where they may be plotting the next big attack.
With these and plenty of other scandalous shams for the U.S. Senate to be investigating, what do you suppose your tax dollars were being spent on protecting you from last week? Those evil homos and their attempts to hijack the institution of marriage.
Yes, Senate Republicans, who are among the 50 percent of heterosexuals whose marriages fail due to no fault of any gay or lesbian couple within a million-mile radius-the moralizers who are among the many married men who can't seem to keep their own dicks in their pants-have decided that a top priority right now is to sit around and talk about an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that defines marriage as between a man and woman. This, in spite of the fact that we have the heinous Defense of Marriage Act already on the books, passed in 1996 and barring any federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
The subcommittee on the Constitution, civil rights and property rights, held a public hearing last week on the need for a constitutional amendment, pandering to right-wing fears in the wake of Supreme Court decision striking down the Texas sodomy law. Backers of a federal marriage amendment believe that same-sex marriage is more of a threat to civilization, than, say, the Bush administration's years-long refusal to pursue diplomatic means with North Korea and Iran as they pursued nuclear weapons programs.
"Two years ago we were all united against the common threat of terrorism," Keith Bradkowsi, whose partner was killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, said in response to Republican inquiries during the Senate hearing. "Now, less than two years later I am sitting here and being told that my relationship was a threat to our country."
Bradkowski was one of only two people that the Democrats were allowed to call as witnesses. The Republicans brought forth at least four people, including the syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher (formerly of the New York Post), who last July wrote in the National Review that, "Polygamy is not worse than gay marriage, it is better."
Appearing on my radio program last week, Gallagher actually told me that gays can in fact get married-to someone of the opposite sex, including straights! She said she was "not advocating" what she called "mixed marriages" per se, but that if gays and lesbians do want the benefits of marriage, there is that option. Gallagher's entire shtick is about the protection of children and making sure they have "a mother and a father" who are married to one another. Though she attempts to appear moderate, she couldn't care less about the rights of gays, and even expressed reservations about the sodomy decision if it means marriage is the next option on the table. Better to lock gays up for the sexual activity in their own homes than risk their relationships ever being legally recognized.
Gallagher is what some might call a marriage fundamentalist: no middle ground, (including civil unions). Except, of course, if gays marry straights, her so-called "mixed marriages." So, this is what the debate has come to, where conservatives would actually suggest people do something that is a true insult to marriage: Get into an "arrangement," a sham like Arianna and Michael Huffington had, married for the sake, pretty much, of getting the closeted Republican billionaire into the Senate, even though it didn't work. (He lost in his bid to unseat Senator Dianne Feinstein of California). Rather than allow gays who are committed to one another to marry, Gallagher condones loveless, sexless marriages of convenience. And this is somehow supposed to set an example for children?
I also had an interesting discussion with Bob Barr, the former Republican Georgia representative, manager of the Clinton impeachment trial and co-author of the Defense of Marriage Act. Now a consultant on privacy for the ACLU and a staunch conservative critic of Attorney General Ashcroft and his Patriot Act world tour, Barr is still very much opposed to same-sex marriage. But he thinks a constitutional amendment is a waste of time-as he wrote on the op-ed page of the Washington Post two weeks ago-and is an infringement of states' rights. Funny how politicians suddenly become consistent once they leave office.
Nonetheless, it is true that for conservatives to demand a constitutional amendment to restrict states from enacting their own laws on same-sex marriage while simultaneously bellowing the mantra of states' rights is stupendously hypocritical. Not to mention that passing the amendment would require getting two-thirds of the House and Senate and two thirds of the states behind it, thus constituting an enormous waste of taxpayer money-something else conservatives are always harping about. Wouldn't it be better to spend our money looking into why those 140 oil-rich Saudis were given a free trip out of the country after 9/11?
Michelangelo Signorile hosts a daily radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio, stream 149. He can be reached at [www.signorile.com](http://www.signorile.com).