Thursday, February 26, 2004

The Dems and Hate Amendment

I'm quite disappointed in the response of many of the Democrats on the issue of marriage rights and the Hate Amendment. I recognize that politics is always to some degree local, and at the end of the day of people can't get elected there isn't too much point in fighting courageous but self-defeating fights. On the other hand, people respond to leaders, and leaders are people who can get people to follow them despite disagreements. We need a few more leaders.

As I've said many times, I'm not a fan of the "I'm personally against same-sex marriage but we should leave it up to the states and I'm for this civil union thing which is just like marriage under a different name" position. I'm against it in principle and perhaps more importantly I'm against it in practice -- I don't for the most part think it's sensible practical politics either. But, I recognize that it is the default position of the Democratic party and it's sadly the best we're going to do.

However, I'm quite disappointed in the respone by the Herseth campaign to this issue. It's both offensive and legal gibberish. Herseth first came out strongly in support of the preznit on this issue:

Herseth backs the president on both counts.

'I agree with the president on this issue. Marriage is between a man and a woman,' she said."

which sounds like an endorsement of the FMA.

The campaign then released a statement to Kos which sort of backed off, but really makes no sense at all:

Stephanie and her campaign team understand the reaction to yesterday's news. Stephanie's position on the amendment is consistent with her position of the Defense of Marriage Act -- she believes the issue ultimately should be left to the states, whether they decide it individually under federal legislation or collectively within the ratification process. In this election year, we truly hope this issue doesn't distract from important discussions on issues like lowering the cost of health care, creating jobs, and getting our economy moving in the right direction.

the "federal legislation" part means in the context of being subject to DOMA. But, as for the amendment she's taking a non-position. I support the right of the states to participate in the amendment ratification process too, but it doesn't mean I support or reject any particular amendment.

The Herseth campaign should sit down with Daschle's people and come out with a position which is consistent with the principles of the Democratic party.