Damn you, activist judges! You flighty, elitist homewreckers may exist only in the hypothetical realm, but you've got Idaho's illustrious citizen legislature terrified--so terrified, in fact, that they're willing to double outlaw something that's already illegal. That's right, both the House and the Senate voted to amend Idaho's constitution to say that the status of pre-divorce--also known as marriage--is the only legal domestic union, and only between a man and a woman. Even though Idaho law already says that. Sigh.
What would this big bad amendment do? Other than revive the same discriminatory dialogue that we thought couldn't get any worse when we had to go through it a dozen years ago for Proposition 1 ... it really isn't clear. The general consensus among the flurry of sound bites is that the constitutional amendment would make it more difficult for the current law to be overturned, should any of Idaho's gay couples be so eager to wed that they are willing to battle all the way to the Supreme Court, where they will, the logic goes, be backed up by their old drinkin' and dancin' buddies, those aforementioned activist judges. But that's by no means a sure thing. The law may be nearly as vulnerable after as it was before. Or maybe not. In either case, the stench of "Let's just let our children deal with our election-year mess" is all over this turd.
In fact, the only thing that's clear in this whole debacle is the shameful--yeah, we said it!--way that Idaho's lawmakers have skirted the issues in their testimony and interviews. More than a few actually admitted to mainstream newspapers that they were opposed to the change, but voted for it only because of constituent pressure. Or they spewed non-answers, like when Sen. Tim Corder of Mountain Home testified, "Not every minority is right ... The greatest love of all is telling someone, 'You're wrong.'" Still others, like Sen. Dick Compton of Couer d'Alene, told newsies they would have voted against it, "if it would have made a difference."
Senator Compton, don't make us play the "It-worked-that-way-in-Nazi-Germany-too" card. Oops. Too late.
But all political humiliation aside, this mess is now yours to deal with, Idaho. The measure will read, on the November ballot, "Shall Article III of the Constitution of the State of Idaho be amended by the addition of a new Section 28, to provide that a marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state?"
Before you give your kneejerk answer, look hard at the flimsy reasons the pols are giving for this monumental waste of time and resources. Look hard at these pictures, past the vacuous grins and hair product. Peruse your old government textbooks again. Think about 50 years from now, when your grandchildren are reading about this decision in Idaho History class. And then remember: It's your vote. Eff the "prevailing winds" of moral legislation that currently blow in our country. And boy, do they blow.
(Oh, and not to beat the partisan drum, but the only Democratic Senator who voted for the amendment is Bert Marley of McCammon. He's also running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Be sure to remember that one on Election Day as well.)
--BW Editorial Staff