Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Protecting Marriage

This is kind of brilliant. Pennsylvania has been having one of those dreary episodes where very Republican legislators from very Republican, Christian districts are attempting to amend the state constitution to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman and ban civil unions.

This"Marriage Protection Act" comes despite the fact such dire threats to marriage as more marriage already are barred by the 1996 "Defense of Marriage Act."

But the backers are at great pains to insist this is not about discrimination. And it is not about religion. It's simply, entirely about protecting marriage, you see.

Against this stampede of stupid, a classically shady Philadelphia Democrat ward-lord named Vince Fumo has been fighting a rear-guard (ahem!) action. This week he unveiled his most simple secret weapon.

Sen. Vincent Fumo, D-Philadelphia, today plans to propose that Pennsylvania outlaw most divorces. Yes, make it illegal to get a divorce.

As the Senate prepares to take up Senate Bill 1250, which would amend the state Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages, Mr. Fumo said he will try to tack an amendment of his own onto the bill.

His amendment would "outlaw the dissolution of most marriages in Pennsylvania," he said in a news release. That would mean there would be few legal ways for the divorce of a married couple, a man and a woman.

Mr. Fumo, who leaves the Senate on Nov. 30, said the stated goal of Senate Bill 1250 is to "protect the sanctity of the marital institution" by defining a legal marriage as only between one man and one woman.

The next logical step, according to Mr. Fumo, is to also outlaw divorces, except for five specific reasons: if one spouse "willfully or maliciously" deserts the other; if one spouse uses "cruel and barbarous treatment" on the other; if a person endangers his or her spouse's health or life; if one spouse is found to be a bigamist; or if one spouse "imposes indignities to make the other spouses's [sic -- unless we're talking polygamy - ed.] life intolerable and burdensome."

Now THAT'S protecting marriage! Oh, it hasn't got a chance in Hell, and Fumo knows it. But it will be delicious to hear the arguments against it in a "Marriage Protection Act."

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