August 21, 2008
The sanctity of McCain's marriages (II)
Posted by: Chris
After watching the excerpt below from a CNN report on John McCain's life, all I can say is it's about damn time.
I have written many times that I do not believe in general that opposition to gay rights makes a person's private sex life fair game on the basis that the issue relates to sex and morality.
Civil marriage is a public institution, however, and a basic human right. When a politician opposes allowing same-sex couples access to that basic human right, his own marital history is fair game -- especially when that politician justifies our exclusion as a defense of "the sanctity" of the institution.
When Bob Barr, the former Republican congressman from Georgia, introduced the notorious federal Defense of Marriage Act, it was absolutely relevant for debate that he had been married three times. (Barr has since quit the GOP and is running as the Libertarian Party's nominee for president, and has renounced DOMA even though he remains personally opposed to gays marrying.)
The same holds true for John McCain, who opposes not just marriage but any form of legal recognition of gay relationships -- whether civil unions, domestic partnerships or even D.P. benefits from public entities. Now he's even backing away from his previous opposition to a federal constitutional amendment to prevent states from deciding the issue for themselves -- setting a very low bar for the full reversal of his position that is sure to come.
Pointing out McCain's hypocrisy on marriage doesn't require invading his privacy; it's all there in the public record or his own writings. Especially now that he is hyping his Vietnam POW history as proof of moral credentials to be president, the public should know how when he returned from captivity he began cheating on his first wife Carol McCain, the one who waited for his return over for those agonizing long years.
The CNN excerpt tells even more about how McCain has distorted the truth about that period. He has claimed he was long separated from Carol when he met and courted and became involved with Cindy Henley, the much younger, beautiful and wealthy woman who would become his second wife. In fact, his own divorce filings show he was still living with Carol for nine full months while carrying on his affair with Cindy.
McCain even applied in Arizona for a license to marry Cindy while he was still in fact married to Carol. This is the "sanctity" of marriage in Arizona that McCain so fears that gay couples will erode?
McCain fails utterly to explain his conduct or subsequent distortion of it when gently prodded by CNN's John King. "That was 30 years ago," McCain keeps saying. Yes, but so are those POW years he claims show us what stuff he is made of. He can't have it both ways. George Bush's problems with alcohol were just as dated, but he wasn't pointing to the same period of time as a primary credential to be president.
Unfortunately, CNN did not go on to connect the dots for viewers, but McCain's hypocrisy also lays bare the base political motivations underlying his view on marriage as a policy issue. When President Bush used and abused our basic human rights for his own political gain, the public could be fooled into believing his motives were more genuine. Not so John McCain.
(Hat tip: Jed Report)
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