Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mmmmmm, That's Good Adultery!

Courtesy of the Carpetbagger Report, I'm happy to pass along this choice little nugget from today's House debate on the Federal Marriage Amendment.

It comes from Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.) -- whose oxymoronic name could only be topped by "Senator Roosevelt Hitler" -- and presses a point I've long been making about the hypocrites who claim to be "defending" marriage from teh gay all the while having affairs and committing adultery themselves. (Look no further than the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which was championed by Rep. Bob Barr, who's now on his third marriage.)

Anyway, Think Progress has the transcript:
LINCOLN DAVIS: Marriage is for life, and this amendment needs to include that basic tenant. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I think we should expand the scope of the amendment to outlaw divorce in this country. Going further Mr. Speaker, I believe in fidelity. Adultery is an evil that threatens the marriage and the heart of every marriage, which is commitment.

How can we as a country allow adulterers to go unpunished and continue to make a mockery of marriage? Again by doing so, what lessons are we teaching our children about marriage? I certainly think that it shows we are not serious about protecting the institution and this is why I think the amendment should outlaw adultery and make it a felony. Additionally, Mr. Speaker, we must address spousal abuse and child abuse. Think of how many marriages end in a divorce or permanent separation because one spouse is abusive. ...

We should also prevent those who commit adultery, or get a divorce, from running for office. Mr. Speaker, this House must lead by example. If we want those watching on CSPAN to actually believe we are serious about protecting marriage, then we should go after the other major threats to the institution. Not just the threat that homosexuals may some day be allowed to marry in a state other than Massachusetts. An elected official should certainly lead by example.
It's not clear whether or not this is a tongue-in-cheek suggestion by Rep. Davis, or an honestly held belief. (As some commenters at TCR note, Davis is a Blue Dog Democrat with a 72% rating from the Christian Coalition.) I don't think it matters whether or not he's sincere or sarcastic. Either way, his comments serve to remind his colleagues that once they get into this issue, they're going to have a hard time not going all the way.

Update: Steve Benen called Davis's office and was told that, yes, this was tongue in cheek. Nice.


Mike said...

His use of "tenant" also indicates that the worlds of Property Law and Immutable Law are sure to conflate at some point in the future.

Otto Man said...

I caught that too. I'm hoping that's a mistake by the C-SPAN intern doing the transcription.

S.W. Anderson said...

Setting aside adultery, out of morbid (literally) curiosity, it would be interesting to know how many Americans a year were murdered or allowed to die by their spouse during the "marriage is for life" regime. It would be especially worthwhile if we could determine the ones not caught, as well as the ones who were.

Davis did a good job of illuminating the road religious-right Republicans want to take us down.

J. Clifford said...

Thanks for that check from Steve, and thanks for putting this news up.

It certainly is a confusing thing to evaluate whether Lincoln Davis was serious, because although he is a Democrat, he has a nasty right wing voting record, and so it is plausible that he might come out in favor of a ban on adultery and divorce.

So someone checked with his congressional office, and he was being sarcastic, but it's really hard to tell. I posted the movie on my web site so people can have a look for themselves:


Next time Lincoln Davis decides to be tongue-in-cheek, he ought to be a little bit more plain. When he pulls the right wing lunatic act, his constituents just might take him seriously.

On second thought, maybe he knows that. Is he trying to have it both ways?

Otto Man said...

That could very well be the case. He gets to seem pro-family to the nth degree while sticking it to the GOP. Fine by me.

Thrillhous said...

I don't know anything about Davis, but I do like the speech. Even though it was tongue in cheek, I am generally a fan of raising the stakes on religious claims. Gay marriage is bad cuz God said so? Fine, let's talk divorce. Abortion is bad cuz God says all life is sacred? Fine, let's talk death penalty.