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Pioneer Editorial: Gay marriage ban another no-win issue

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Pioneer Editorial: Gay marriage ban another no-win issue
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

One has to wonder about the motives of continuing to push public policy knowing that it will go nowhere.

That's the case this week as the U.S. Senate is spending three days this week to debate a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage which won't even get majority support when a vote is finally taken, let alone the 60 votes needed to start the process of amending the U.S. Constitution, which would need two-thirds of the states to approve.

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So why engage in such a Don Quixote endeavor? With the president ever more slipping in public opinion polls, there is a danger of the Republicans also slipping in their control of both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. Giving such broad public attention to the issue -- President Bush himself has pushed the issue in recent days -- will reinvigorate the conservative base and begin to repair a cracking foundation that could crumble by Nov. 7.

While much of the American public supports traditional marriage of one man and one women, they equally don't want to see it become etched in stone in the U.S. Constitution. Many states, including Minnesota, have laws on the books prohibiting same-sex marriages and most Americans agree that's good enough.

Whether for or against same-sex marriages, there just seems something fundamentally wrong that a document that serves as this nation's foundation for liberty and individual freedoms would also dictate social behavior.

The case conservatives cry of stopping "advocacy judges" isn't the norm across the country. Especially in recent years where most of our judges are appointed by conservatives to begin with.

No, it seems that great push this week in the U.S. Senate is purely political and sadly serves to draw our attention away from the real priorities facing our nation -- figuring out a way to extricate ourselves from Iraq without leaving something behind doomed to failure, coming to grips with a growing federal deficit, shoring up Social Security and Medicare, making preparations to handle this hurricane season and continue to help those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and coping with skyrocketing fuel prices.

The gay marriage ban issue seems to be headed to the same no-win public policy arena as abortion -- a place where both sides of the issue are emotionally charged and where no decision either way will soon emerge. They serve as divisive wedge issues, diverting valuable time and energy away from the issues government should tackle.

That, we fear, is what is happening this week.

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