President Bush and congressional Republicans are aiming the political spotlight this week on efforts to ban gay marriage, with events at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue — all for a constitutional amendment with scant chance of passage but wide appeal among social conservatives.
But some critics say the Bush administration and the GOP are using the Marriage Act debate as a distraction from more important issues.
Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., said Sunday that the amendment is unnecessary. "You know, think about this. The world’s going to Hades in a handbasket. We are desperately concerned about the circumstance relating to avian flu — we don’t have enough vaccines, we don’t have enough police officers — and we’re going to debate, the next three weeks, I’m told, gay marriage, a flag amendment, and God only knows what else," Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Read more.
We want to know what YOU think — Are the GOP's efforts to ban gay marriage an act of protection or distraction?
E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and jump into the debate!
Check out what FOX Fans are saying:
"I find it humorous that the same good Christians who get married in the church and who want a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage use the state laws and a good lawyer to get their divorce." — L.J. (Dallas, TX)
"It is NOT a distraction. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Period." — Jay (Knoxville, TN)
"Gay people have the same rights as anyone else in this country. They can get married if they want to. They can marry someone of the opposite sex just like anyone else. They shouldn't have the right to promote a deviate lifestyle. They should keep it in the closet. The marriage amendment is needed." — The Eudys Family
"This law doesn’t stand a chance of passing, and these people know it; especially since we have gay friendly judges on the dockets. I think this is another sleight of hand politicians like to use to show they care about something when, in reality, they have proven themselves either inept or just totally gutless when it comes to taking care of important problems." — Tim (Maryland)
"The question needs attention far more than does most of the drivel on which our legislators spend time. If we allow such an important institution as marriage to be perverted by embracing sexual aberration, then the long term effects on society will be immensely destructive." — John
"The only possible motivation for this is to raise conservative turnout at the mid-term elections. They knew before this started that it had no chance to pass and are using this for political theater and as a distraction from Iraq and high gas prices." — Jeff (Lancaster, PA)"I think banning gay marriage is a good thing for America and is long overdue." — Sarah (Boston, MA)
"Bush and his rather worried GOP pals are nervous because it is election time. They just want to take people's minds off of all failures and blunders from the war in Iraq, Katrina, the intelligence leaks, Cheney's corruption, and on and on. And the most important issue to me, i.e. immigration, is being skirted by the president and his party. I will not forget and I see right through this silly gay marriage issue!" — Pat (Bethesda, MD)
“It is not a distraction. It is an important issue that matters to most Americans.” — Freddy (Hickory, NC)
"All I know is that marriage should be the union between one man and one woman. Actually, there is no should in it. That's the way it is no matter what anyone says." — David (El Paso, TX)
"Why would anyone fight against committed relationships? I don't see how it would affect marriages between men and women. Conservatives are always saying that gays cannot commit to each other, yet they don't want to give them an opportunity to have a committed relationship. If a gay child could think of marriage as a realistic goal, committed gay relationships would be more common." — Mark
"I am in complete support of a constitutional amendment to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. Marriage is a God-ordained, not a man-made, institution. Therefore, we have no right to attempt to re-define it. But I firmly believe that the real issue here is not about marriage itself. It goes much deeper than that. It is about a group of individuals wanting to legally force society to not only accept but embrace their chosen lifestyle. To force us to say that this way of life is okay. People have the freedom to choose the way they want to live their lives. But they do not have the right to force that upon others." — Mark (St. Louis Park, MN)
"We don't need any more distractions from oil prices and illegal immigrants. Let's face the tough issues and make some positive progress towards solving these problems. Down the road, after these politicians have the guts to deal with heavy decisions, then we can lighten up and look to some of these other political hot potatoes." — Mary (Kansas City, MO)
"Congress and the president have absolutely no respect for the intelligence of the American people. Whether you are for or against gay marriage is not the issue. This is simply a waste of our time and money." — Mike (Chicago, IL)
"They definitely need to protect marriage. Small groups are taking rights away from the majority of people a little at a time. Prayer and discipline are not allowed in schools. Acknowledging God and His guidance is not allowed in government or in history books. Now they're attempting to destroy families by saying marriage isn't between a man and woman. What will it take for us to stand up and pay attention?" — Chris (Chattanooga, TN)
"The bestselling book of all times is the Holy Bible. It is without error from the front cover to the back, including the word 'Holy.' For thousands of generations it has been made clear that a marriage is between one man and one woman. God created Adam and Eve. The younger generation has been brainwashed with this thing called tolerance. With true Christianity there can never be compromise." — Paul
"If they really wanted to protect marriage, they would outlaw divorce. Of course, that's not their goal, and we all know it." — Michael (Knoxville, TN)
"Freud was the first person that I know of to postulate that, all other things being equal, children need both sexes to act as parental role models at various times during their development. Any nationwide policy, constitutional or otherwise, which promotes a man and a woman working together to be positive and active parents in one home, is a good thing. I believe this measure can accomplish that, so I support it" — Mike (Las Vegas, NV)
"It's stupid. There are more important issues to concentrate on. I also feel the amendment would be un-American. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights guarantee the rights of all Americans, and adding an amendment to ban gay marriage makes it legal to discriminate against specific Americans. What's next? An amendment to ban short people from marrying?" — Rhonda (Utah)
"I honestly cannot say whether the GOP's efforts to ban gay marriage is an act of protection or distraction, but I can tell you I am more concerned about finding a practical solution to the immigration issue, the war in Iraq, the nuclear issue with Iran, and the continued corruption scandals that too many people are content with sweeping under the rug." — Mario
"Whether it's 'gay marriage,' religious monuments in courthouses, intelligent design in biology class, 'officially' making English the national language, or a myriad of other things that have little impact on the lives of everyday Americans, the politicians are using these emotional hot buttons to distract the voting public from how they are running this country." — John (Cincinnati, OH)
"This is absolutely the most important social issue of our day — strengthening the family by recommitting ourselves to the view of marriage that has served societies well for thousands of years. It takes the incredible arrogance of a cultural elite to think that we can do well to change the basic building block of society. " — Jeff (Knoxville, TN)
"It's about time this gay marriage amendment be brought before the Senate. This is the first time in a long while that I actually applaud the Bush administration! If we, as Americans, continue to overlook the moral-less cancer that is plaguing our society (like homosexuality), we will have far worse things to worry about then avian flu." — Brandon (Denver, CO)
"I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Republican. That's what makes it so painful to watch the Bush administration set up another silly straw man issue in order to score a few political points. A gay marriage amendment? Forgive me, but who cares? We have stellar deficits, a pending Iraqi civil war, a foreign policy that in shambles, border security issues, gas at $3.00 a gallon etc. As a Republican, I cannot wait for the next presidential election. I'm sick of my party being led by a man whose sense of achievement is predicated on catching a big fish." — Shane
"Why is it the government's business to regulate with whom I fall in love, and to whom I want to make a lifelong commitment? Judges overturn gay marriage bans because the judicial branch of our government exists to protect the 'little guy' in situations like this. Yes, the majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage, but minorities have to be protected in a free society like ours. I don't believe that allowing same-sex marriage will have a large impact on our society as most conservatives believe. Heterosexual marriages don't affect my life. How will a marriage to my partner affect theirs?" — Blake (Arlington, VA)
"I am outraged by this! I can't believe they want to ban gay marriage across the entire nation! I have never supported Bush before, and if he expects me to support him now, he can forget it. Who cares about gay marriage? If they're happy, then what's the problem? Our nation has way bigger issues than gay marriage. Pass the law where gay marriage is allowed and let the gays be recognized by our government. If my neighbor is gay, it's not like it's hurting me. I believe this is just a big distraction for Bush and he needs to quit worrying about people's private lives." — Richard
"As we are now seeing in state courts, common sense does not prevail anymore. Protection of marriage in the Constitution is the only way to protect our children from the continued moral decline of a society where the 'if it feels good, do it!' attitude prevails. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there. The 'alternative lifestyle' then has to be forced upon everyone else by judicial politicians. The homosexual movement can only recruit, because it cannot reproduce." — Matthew
"It most certainly is a protection for marriage. This will prevent a lot of bad things from happening if this is passed." — Clarissa (Banner Elk, NC)
"I think the Republicans are doing anything they can to avoid dealing with the illegal immigrants, closing the borders, and protecting our Constitution from militants that wish to tear our country down." — Stephanie (Ohio)
"Republican Senators are attempting to distract the conservative base. They have no intention of passing this bill." — R.S.
"Personally, I think their efforts would serve the nation better if used elsewhere. Although I am solidly in favor of same-sex marriage, I would vote solidly against a constitutional amendment for it. Marriage is a sacrament of the church (any church); as such, its regulation needs to be left to the church. The government may weigh in on civil unions as much, and as often, as it chooses, but it needs to keep its nose out of marriage and other church business. This is where separation of church and state comes in, NOT in whether or not to permit prayer in schools, or the public display of the Ten Commandments or similar documents. This is what the framers of the Constitution meant when they said that government should not interfere with or establish religious practice." — Hopkins"What we have here is a too obvious political play that unfortunately scapegoats a minority as a means to gather votes. This is unkind, manipulative and divisive. My wife and I are Christians. We are not remotely confused abut our own marriage. Are we supposed to care about this because some other Christians are offended? Does this really threaten traditional marriage? Are there truly couples in traditional marriages who are personally confused and threatened by this? Fear not! We know two women who both earlier had children from a traditional marriage. They later lived with one another. They’ve also made sure their children have male influences. Why not let them and all their children have health insurance benefits and no extra problems? I say this to President Bush: We as a nation ought not impose particular religious beliefs on strangers doing no harm in the name of gathering votes." — Stanley & Connie (Mill Valley, CA)
"I agree with Sen. Biden. It is just a distraction from the real important issues that should be dealt with. I think that immigration is the first big issue. I don't care one little bit about gay marriage. I'm a poor, old, single, straight woman. I'm more interested in healthcare and eldercare. But, since I am not rich and famous and beautiful, nobody cares what I think. I'm just one American who feels more lost everyday." — Nancy