Sunday, April 23, 2006

Steven Ricks & the Marriage Amendment

Steven Ricks is running for Senator in Dist 21, Kuna, and has mailed out the flyer, part of which is shown on the right [update; used to say left; jeezus]. This flyer is seven pages long, all dense text except for the single picture, and is entirely focused on the Marriage Amendment.

Ricks explains that he wants to show he is thoughtful, and wants to do more than speak in what he calls "sound bites". Credit the guy for explaining his thinking. It's interesting he chose this issue to stake his campaign on. He says in the flyer that his campaign will be able to afford only the one mass mailing.

Ricks argues that marriage is a tradition based on customs and culture, and that it is not and was not created by government. It was created by people primarily to promote raising children. Since same sex marriages can't bear children, they don't need marriage. He says that preventing same sex marriages is not sex discrimination because homosexuality is conduct, not a status such as race or gender, and therefore non-discrimination is not constitutionally protected.

Ricks manages to stay on point for most of the flyer, but he drifts toward wingnuttery near the end when he talks about the ills of divorce. He writes "Women raising children alone need help." Ricks then explains that this help comes in the form of "government services" which leads to "-taxation. There is no other way." He says " 'social progressives' who brought us unrestricted divorce now want us to adopt unrestricted marriage." I'm not sure how problems caused by divorce lead to opposing same sex marriage. Maybe fewer marriages will lead to fewer divorces.

Ricks does not mention civil unions or other laws short of marriage that would secure marriage-type benefits, nor does he really explain how allowing same sex marriage harms traditional marriage. Much of his argument boils down to "it's always been that way," the classic argument from tradition.

Again, I'll credit him with being thoughtful, but it bothers me that he focused his campaign on this single issue. No mention of aquifer recharge, coal fired power plants, funding education, or anything else. I suppose his point is that he will be as thoughful about all issues as he is about this one, but he is obviously aligning himself with the extreme social conservatives.

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