This week the Republicans who run the nation are undertaking another cynical attack on the issue of gay marriage. As a wedge issue that enflames the GOP’s homobigot base, same sex marriage has occasionally returned dividends. In fact, conventional wisdom has it that an anti-gay initiative on the Ohio ballot in 2004 tipped the state into the Bush-Cheney column, giving them another term in office they would have otherwise lost. (Others believe the votes in Ohio were stolen.)
Ten years ago, the leaders of the GOP in Congress — including Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and House Speaker Newt Gingrich — were successful in passing the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), a law that banned states from recognizing same-gender marriages sanctioned in other states. Timed to arrive on President Clinton’s desk just before the 1996 presidential elections, DoMA was intended to insert a wedge between the President and gay Democrats and supporters of civil rights.
The real threat to the institution of marriage does not come from gay people but rather from heterosexual adultery, which is the cause of most divorces. Now, as Republicans return once again to the well of homophobia, it is important to remember that in 1996 the men who led the fight to pass DoMA were all adulterers themselves.
The GOP adulterers of DoMA included:
- Rep. Bob Barr (R-Georgia), the author of the bill:
According to an affidavit filed by Barr’s second wife Gail Barr, Bob Barr paid for and did not object to her having an abortion in 1983. This is rather amusing for two reasons: first of all, Barr is a member of the pro-life caucus. The fact that Barr did not discourage her from having an abortion is rather interesting in light of his strong pro-life stance. Second of all, Barr, in divorce court in 1986, stated that the did object to the abortion. Gail Barr’s affidavit, if true, proves that he committed perjury in divorce court…Bob has been divorced twice, failed to pay child support to the children of his first two wives and while married to his third and present wife was photographed licking whipped cream off of a few chesty strippers at his inaugural party.. this guy is deciding that a whole segment of the population is less moral than him and is unfit to claim marriage benefits?
- Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas), Majority Leader of the Senate:
Sen. Dole dumped his first wife and child. Dole on his child: ï¿½Sooner or later, you have to make a decision ï¿½ is the child going to become fatherless? ï¿½ If you become married to politics, something else is going to suffer.ï¿½
- Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia), Speaker of the House:
In 1981, Newt dumped his first wife, Jackie Battley, for Marianne, wife number 2, while Jackie was in the hospital undergoing cancer treatment. Marianne and Newt divorced in December, 1999 after Marianne found out about Newt’s long-running affair with Callista Bisek, his one-time congressional aide. Gingrich asked Marianne for the divorce by phoning her on Mother’s Day, 1999. [Source: New York Post, July 18, 2000, Newt's Ex Wife Aiming to Pen Book by Bill Sanderson, available on lexis].
Of course, DoMA was signed into law by President Clinton, who — if my calculations are correct — was in the midst of his affair with Monica Lewinsky at the time.
There is a move afoot in the Capitol to examine the married lives of all the leaders in the House and Senate who are pushing the Federal Marriage Amendment.
There’s no telling what they might find under those rocks.