MPA: The Money Producing Amendment
By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.
Journal Contributing Writer
Jun 19, 2006, 10:38
For weeks the media had been filled with reports on and
arguments about the Marriage Protection Amendment, which was soundly defeated
in the Senate on June 7, as everyone knew it would be. But it served its
fund-raising purpose nevertheless.
�I don�t believe there�s any issue that�s more important
than this one.� That statement
by Louisiana Republican senator David Vitter underscored the absurdity -- there is no more
appropriate word -- of the Marriage Protection Amendment.
After its defeat, Don Feder made a similar claim
saying that the MPA represented �the most important social issue of our time.�
Forget the disaster in Iraq. Forget the enormous -- and
still growing -- deficit. Forget that the government is spying on private
citizens. Forget that education is failing miserably. Forget that 43 million
Americans have no health insurance. Forget Medicare already pays out more than
it takes in. Forget the homeless. Forget the poor. Preventing gay and lesbian
Americans from committing to each other is, for Mr. Feder, �the most important
social issue of our time.�
Who�s Don Feder? His
self-description says it
all: �I�m to the right of Sharon
on Zionism, to the right of Pat Buchanan on immigration and Americanism, to the
right of Mother Angelica on abortion, to the right of Chuck Heston on
Second-Amendment rights, and generally make the legendary Atilla [sic] look like a limousine liberal.�
Lots of words, lots of sound and fury, and lots of
fund-raising, all well orchestrated. The carefully planned failure of the MPA on the floor of the Senate was meant not
only to rev-up the Republican�s ultra-conservative, evangelical power base and
generate funds for the fight on the state level -- �Foes Secretly
Hoping For Gay Win In State Courts� by Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press --
but also to �embarrass�
senators who voted against it. That particularly strategy may have backfired.
Lou Dobbs is definitely not a �liberal,� nor is he
especially a friend of the gay and lesbian community, especially when it comes
to civil marriage, but even he lashed out.
Dobbs said that "a constitutional amendment to ban gay
marriage is utter and complete nonsense. It�s an insult to the intelligence of
every voter, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative."
In conclusion, he said, "I wonder if the president�s
political advisers know just how ill-advised and smarmy this wedge issue looks
to the millions of us who want solutions to the critical, urgent problems
facing this nation. Worse, I wonder if they even care."
Sadly, �caring� is not part of the program of those who
supported to MPA. In his June 3 radio address and again in his June 5 press
conference, President Bush said he, his �handlers� in the Christian Right, and
the Marriage Protection Amendment sought �to strengthen families not undermine
them.� Knowing -- as he must -- that
gay and lesbian parents are rearing hundreds of thousands of children, such a
statement is the epitome of not caring.
But clearly, the MPA had another purpose, as Sylvia A. Smith
so astutely noted in her June 11article,
�Marriage brouhaha all about money�:
The Family Research Council, Traditional Values
Coalition and likeminded ilk won�t admit it, but they and their buddies on
Capitol Hill were in cahoots last week to make fools out of the social
conservatives who are the Republicans� most reliable voters.
That wasn�t their stated agenda, of course. What they
said they were doing was saving every
American married couple from inevitable divorce and preventing American society
from crumbling under a force more powerful than the al-Qaida attacks five years
ago: two lesbians who join their lives and their finances.
In fact, the three days the Senate
devoted to blathering about a constitutional amendment to ban marriages between
two men or two women was a cynical sham. . . .
So why are some in Washington defying both their
states�-rights roots and the wishes of a majority of the country? Because of
political jobs and interest groups� bank accounts.
Interest groups of all stripes are always in need of
more cash. There is no better way to get sympathetic Americans to grab the
checkbook than to present them with a crisis. A hurricane tears apart an entire
region of the country, and generous Americans respond. A �grave moral crisis�
threatens the fabric of society, and Americans dig deep to help the crusaders
fend off the apocalypse.
(If you have any doubts about the
manufactured hysteria of these interest groups, consider this overheated warning
by the Traditional Values Coalition: �The homosexual activist movement and
organized pedophiles are linked together by a common goal: To gain access to
children for seduction into homosexuality.� Does anyone really think Dick
Cheney�s daughter is out trolling for 12-year-olds? What a crock.) . . .
My disgust is with the interest groups
who exaggerate the situation for the purpose of raising money -- and with the
politicians who are using gay marriage as a way to create a froth among a
voting class they can�t afford to lose.
One of the attendees at Bush�s June 5 press conference
further attested to the ploys and non-caring attitude, as well as the money
Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, the
nation�s largest �ex-gay� group, was an invited guest at the White House press
Wayne Besen, author of Anything
But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth,
explained in a recent
article, "The reason the president is embracing Exodus is because
polls show that Americans who believe homosexuality can be cured are far more
likely to support anti-gay legislation. For example, a November 2004 Lake,
Snell, Perry and Associates poll shows that 79 percent of people who think
homosexuality is inborn support civil unions or marriage equality. Among those
who believe sexual orientation is a choice, only 22 percent support civil
unions or marriage rights."
�ex-gay� therapies and like-minded �ministries� have been called �dangerous�
and �harmful� by every legitimate medical authority, including the American
Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American
Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National
Association of School Psychologists, and the American Counseling Association.
But would anyone be surprised to see some �faith-based
initiative� federal money making its way to organizations who run �ex-gay�
therapy programs? Does anyone doubt the Christian Right and their pocketed
politicians will use the �ex-gay�
sham to increase contributions to fight the "scourge" of �the
The Christian Right and the
politicians indebted to them will, without doubt, continue to fight for an
amendment to the Constitution. It�s good business: keeps the money flowing into
The call-to-donate was subtle but
clear in Star Parker�s June 13 article,
�Marriage amendment: It�s not over yet�:
. . . the Senate's vote this past week
rejecting the federal Marriage Protection Amendment may be a battle lost, the
prospects for long-term victory in the cultural war to preserve traditional
values in America remain excellent. . . .
reverence that Americans have for our Constitution is inherently good news. It
is this attitude that distinguishes our country. Other nations write
constitutions that wind up in the trashcan in short order. Ours stands as it
does because Americans both love and understand the importance of freedom, and
hold our national institutions in awe and respect that can only come from a
truly religious people. . . .
prodigious moral, social and economic costs of delay on taking action on
protecting marriage will become increasingly clear. The same factors that cause
some Americans to be skeptical of the marriage amendment will, I think,
ultimately lead them to support it.
issue is the cost of waiting. . . .
So donate now to
your favorite pro-discrimination organization and the reelection campaigns of
their Republican gofers.
James Dobson appeared
on Hannity and Colmes on Fox �News�
on June 9. He offered the same flaccid arguments -- �marriage is under attack�
by �imperious judges� out to destroy the family -- as Hannity unctuously
praised Dobson and hawked his 2004 book Marriage
Given Focus on the
Family�s and its political arm Focus Action�s track record, no doubt Dobson�s
latest TV appearance brought in some major money to �continue the fight� against
those �imperious judges� hell bent on destroying �Christian
values� and those nasty, subversive gay and lesbian American citizens who have
the audacity to want to commit to each other in a state-sanctioned civil
In the first six months of its existence (April through
September 2004), James Dobson�s Focus Action took in $8.8 million, all from
�individuals� whose identity is protected, so there�s no way to know if these
�individuals� actually represent political and religious organizations and/or
corporations. Shouldn�t there be a public record of who�s contributing large
sums of money to help influence government and public policy?
One hundred fifty-two donors contributed $5,000 or more. The
largest contribution was $150,000. Five donors contributed $100,000 each. �That
is quite a lot of money,� noted Frances Hill, tax program director at the
nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. "But with Focus on the Family, it is
not so surprising. They have an enormous money engine.�*
Pastor Roger Ray of National Avenue Christian Church in
Missouri made the obvious point in his June 14 OpEd,
"In the gospel of Luke we see a sad portrayal of Pilate, as a politician,
having Jesus flogged in order to satisfy a mob of people whose support he hoped
"The gospels tell us that Pilate knew that Jesus was
innocent, but he gave the order to have him flogged and crucified to make
himself more popular with his 'voters.' This image came to me the moment I
heard that President George W. Bush was once again dragging the more than
20,000,000 gay and lesbian Americans into the public square to flog them in
order to mobilize conservative voters. . . .
"There is no benefit to society by keeping same-sex
couples from sharing in inheritance rights, access to health insurance or child
"Gay people pay the same taxes as the rest of us. They
are productive members of society and they bear absolutely no threat to
traditional heterosexual families since, after all, they are not heterosexuals!
"Note that the state with the lowest divorce rate in
the nation is Massachusetts, which is the only state in the union that
presently allows for same-sex marriage.
"There is no evidence that same-sex marriage will do
anything harmful to the rest of society."
But fairness, equality, and common sense have nothing to do with the Money Production
From �Following the money trail: The profitable business of discrimination and
hate,� OnLine Journal, June 11, 2005.
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