Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Base instincts

The liberal blogs were all abuzz yesterday afternoon over White House press secretary Tony Snow's comparison of the Marriage Protection Amendment to "civil rights matters." (The proposed Constitutional amendment, being debated today in the Senate, would, if passed, forbid judicial challenges to anti-gay-marriage legislation at both the state and federal levels.) Raw Story has posted the relevant piece of the transcript from yesterday's White House press briefing:

WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY TONY SNOW: Whether it passes or not, as you know, Terry, there have been a number of cases where civil rights matters have risen on a number of occasions, and they've been brought up for repeated consideration by the United States Senate and other legislative bodies...

BILL PLANTE (CBS News): You mentioned civil rights. Are you comparing this to various civil rights measures which have come to the Congress over the years?

SNOW: Not -- well, these -- it --

PLANTE: Is this a civil right?

SNOW: Marriage? It actually -- what we're really talking about here is an attempt to try to maintain the traditional meaning of an institution that has maintained one meeting for -- meaning for a period of centuries. And furthermore --

PLANTE: And you would equate that with civil rights?

SNOW: No, I'm just saying that I think -- well, I don't know. How do you define civil rights?

PLANTE: It's not up to me. Up to you.

SNOW: Okay. Well, no, it's your question. So I -- if I --

PLANTE: (Chuckles.)

SNOW: I need to get a more precise definition.
Think Progress has the video.

John Aravosis of America Blog asks, "How dare they?" He also makes the observation that in television coverage of President Bush's address today on the Marriage Protection Amendment, none of the eight religious right leaders, including Pat Robertson and James Dobson, who were present at the event were visible on camera.

In the meantime, together with PoliticsTV.com, Aravosis is leading a posse of readers into calling senators and asking them about their personal sexual practices.

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