President Bush was asked, in an interview with the Washington Post on Jan. 16, whether or not he was going to resurrect the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. He said, “The point is, is that senators have made it clear that so long as DOMA [Defense Of Marriage Act] is deemed constitutional, nothing will happen. I’d take their admonition seriously.” This statement must have caused a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over in James Dobson and Jerry Falwell land.

If the president intended to spend some political capital in his second term, then the people who put that capital in his pocket were not going to be left behind, so to speak. Within a few short weeks, fire and brimstone spewed out of Mr. Falwell’s mouth. No gay marriage amendment, no Social Security reform. Voila! In the blink of an eye, the president’s gay marriage ban was born again.

The president’s new commitment to the gay marriage amendment is troubling for numerous reasons, most of which have to do with what one evangelical friend of mine said last week, “An amendment created to discriminate against people is the most Un-American thing imaginable.”

But there is one little discussed aspect to this amendment that has more to do with the man proposing it than the amendment itself. George W. Bush prides himself as being the non-waffling, rock-steady paragon of leadership guided by the convictions of his principles and the very hand of the Almighty. He doesn’t even ask his “earthly” father for advice. George dials direct to God for guidance on matters ranging from killing civilians in Iraq to killing inmates in Texas.

God’s voice is always at the other end of every George Bush policy, so the president tells us. So was God’s line busy when George told Larry King in an interview way in February of 2000 that, “The state can do what they want to do. Don’t try to trap me in this state’s issue like you’re trying to get me into”?

Perhaps God should spring for “call waiting,” because he was busy again when George announced that he wasn’t going to waste time proposing the ban to unconcerned senators. Perhaps God wasn’t on the other line. Perhaps George W. is like all the rest. He’s guilty of that original political sin of waffling under the pressure of a formidable constituency. It’s time to move over neo-cons and make room for the neo-puritans. The president’s moral compass is being skewed by the magnetic pull of a few well-armed Christian soldiers.

The power of the neo-puritan constituency is staggering. The president is so afraid of their wrath that he shaped his entire State of the Union address around their pet gay-marriage issue. The president seemed more like a cash-and-carry televangelist than the leader of the free world. As an American who grew up in the racial turmoil of the ’60s, I found his language to be very, very disturbing.

President Bush:

Our second great responsibility to our children and grandchildren is to honor and to pass along the values that sustain a free society. So many of my generation, after a long journey, have come home to family and faith, and are determined to bring up responsible, moral children. Government is not the source of these values, but government should never undermine them.

Because marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation of society, it should not be re-defined by activist judges. For the good of families, children, and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage.

The underlying message here is that gay people threaten freedom. If cleanliness is next to Godliness, then being gay is next to being a terrorist. Because as far as Mr. George Falwell Bush is concerned, gay people and terrorists both undermine the foundation of a free society. Excuse me, but I thought that protecting minority rights – ensuring that minorities have equal rights, not special rights, is one of the founding principles of our nation.

There are over 1,000 rights that married couples enjoy that gay people will never have under the president’s proposed ban. The president’s ban effectively means that gay people do not deserve the same rights as every other American. The president’s incongruent logic reminds me of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” a book still read by almost every high-school student in America, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

The sad part about the president’s inability to stand up to the neo-puritans is that there are real people with families and loved ones who are caught in the middle of a political manipulation that edifies no one. The same people who are demanding this amendment do not have lower divorce rates, less child abuse, less domestic violence or less addiction afflictions than in the rest of society. Perhaps they would do well to pull the log out of their own eye, before they attempt to find the splinter in the eye of loving and committed Americans.

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