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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Rallying against homosexual marriage tough for Republicans

House Republicans have mounted their anti-homosexual horse yet again this week as they have pledged their efforts to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

Rather than bring the topic up on the House floor, Republican leadership announced a statement of intent to defend the 1996 law, which prohibits the federal recognition of same-sex marriages. This was done strategically to avoid illuminating an inner-party clash. As part of their plan to support the legislation, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio outlined his idea of creating a bipartisan legal advisory group to consist of three top Republicans and the two senior Democrats. The group could either file a brief to make an argument as an observer in federal cases pertaining to the issue of same-sex marriage or they may be appointed as a party involved in federal cases.  

The issue of same-sex marriage is perhaps most indicative of the struggle within the Republican Party, and also could shed some light on why the previous Democratic majority in both the House and Senate failed to accomplish all of their goals.

Now, before we start beating away at our keyboards calling one side or the other incompetent, let’s first step back and recognize what we’re truly dealing with. The Republican Party is currently dealing with a split within its own ranks. Some Republican congressmen and women, including Raul Labrador, R-Ind., have been mute on the issue of same-sex marriage because their main focus is on economic issues. Others, like Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., will admit that they don’t support gay marriage, yet they stick to their guns of fixing economic matters first. What we’re witnessing here is a schism between fiscal and social Republicans.  

Of course they can work together, and that is a part of the political process, but they certainly have a tough road to walk to meet each other halfway. On one hand, you have Tea Party candidates who were elected solely on the basis that they would rein in federal spending. It will be immensely difficult for them to go back to their constituents and get them to rally behind spending tax dollars and legislative time on a social matter like this. On the other hand, you have strong anti-homosexual Republicans who can’t keep going back to their constituents, who most assuredly are just as opposed to gay marriage as they are, and tell them that they just can’t push the agenda.  

Some might say that Republicans have the majority and ought to be pushing the agenda now to gain steam. When the 2012 elections come around, if they can get a Senate majority, they will have a solid chance at putting more blockades against same-sex marriage. However, this is counterproductive to our American ideals of the legislative process and the entire political process, for that matter. As a legislative representative, your constituents come first, not your party. Democrats witnessed this firsthand when they held the majority. Try as they might to pass what they thought was proper legislation, many party members weren’t buying into it and neither were their constituents. Republicans will have to beg and bargain within their own ranks, to stay united in their causes.

To be clear though, this is a conditional phase for the Republicans. Republicans may temporarily turn away from the same-sex marriage topic, but they will never fully negate it. You can’t change the culture overnight.  

To Republicans, don’t be upset that your party has members who are sticking to their own platforms. To Democrats, if you didn’t learn from your own failure to recognize that there may be fault lines within a party, now would be a good time to take note. To homosexuals who truly just want to be treated fairly, I’m sorry, but it looks like only another economic depression could get the Republicans worried enough about money to completely back down from disallowing your marriages.

— Storm Byrd is a political science sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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