Saturday, July 17, 2004

Comparison: DOMA vs. Western Alienation
Recently in the US the DOMA, or Defence of Marriage Act, failed miserably in the Senate by a margin of 52-48. Besides the Democrats obviously voting against the act, the senate Republicans were not all in line with voting for this measure, even though many of them are staunch social conservatives. The reasoning? The states already have laws on their books to "defend" marriage if they so wish, and intruding on the States' laws is not what the federal should be doing. Here's a little bit of the reasoning over at Logcabin:
Senator McCain’s opposition to the amendment came just hours after Senator John Warner (R-VA) took to the floor and announced his opposition to the anti-family amendment. In addition to Senator McCain and Senator Warner's floor statements, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) told reporters on Tuesday that, "I see no need for a constitutional amendment ... at a time when we already have a federal law on the books that protects the rights of states to define marriage as between a man and a woman."Log Cabin has made it clear from day one that this debate is not about protecting marriage, but is really about protecting the Constitution and protecting federalism. Over this past weekend, Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) added to the growing voices of Republican opposition to this unnecessary amendment by stating, "I believe that marriage should be defined as a marriage between man and woman, but I don't think that a constitutional amendment is necessary." Even some of the most conservative members of the Senate expressed reservations about amending the Constitution. Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) said, "a federal constitutional Amendment is premature at this time, as federal law already gives authority to the states in recognizing marriage."Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) made his opposition to this amendment clear. "I do not support amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same sex marriage at this time."Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) courageously spoke out against the amendment in the midst of a difficult primary campaign against an anti-gay opponent. Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) went as far as to circulate a letter to his colleagues asking fellow Republicans to reject this anti-family amendment.

Whatever you think of the amendment, the Senators were able to see past the agenda of the federal government and hold its overriding, natural inclination to extend its powers beyond its naturally reach. They might agree wholehog with the measure, but they object more to the governments' reach.

In Canada, by contrast, the actors on the federal stage are almost always from the centre of power (Ontario) and think nothing of extending their powers to any corner of the Dominion, without fear of repercussions and without worring about how the majority will vote (the west votes for the other guys anyways, right?). What if there was a triple E senate?

Would the gun registry have ever passed, if so many western senators would haven attempted to nix it, immediately? Would mandatory, federal bilinguilism ever have become necessary in Vancouver, of all places?

Just something to consider when Canadians watch the American Senate and see how little regions matters when the affects of distorted representation through population can be countered by geographic equalization.

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