the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

October 17, 2005

Brownback Watch


Senate Appropriations Chair Sam Brownback has proposed and begun hearings for creating Marriage Development Accounts:

The marriage development account program would simply build on the concept of already existing individual development accounts—IDAs—which came out of welfare reform.

IDAs are basically savings accounts, with the federal government matching every dollar saved with a $3 contribution. The idea is for account holders to save money that they can invest in an “asset” they want to acquire—such as a first home, a degree or starting a small business.

Curiously, he isn’t proposing MDA’s for Kansas, where he was elected, but for here in DC. Brownback likes to think of our nation’s capital as a proving ground for new ideas. It’s only natural, then, that those of us that live here should be thought of as Republican test subjects, guiney pigs to get the bugs worked out before new programs are approved for, you know… regular people.

I can’t help but think of another recent episode involving Brownback, DC, and marriage.

Last April, Brownback threatened to retaliate against the District if same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts were recognized in DC.

As the Post reports:

A leading Senate Republican warned Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) yesterday that a move to recognize gay marriages in the nation’s capital would trigger a sharp backlash from Congress, and the mayor acknowledged that the District could jeopardize its budget agenda and domestic partner benefits if it mishandles the issue.

Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback (R), the new chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the District, said he wanted to hear more from Williams but opposed a statement by the city’s attorney general that “validly married same-sex couples” may file joint D.C. tax returns.

Maybe it’s just me. But, I don’t see how Brownback’s behavior, his insistence on applying his personal values to life in a city nowhere in the vicinity of where he was elected, geographically or culturally, is consistent with the notion of government by the people.


  1. Brownback couldn’t care less about the basis of our democracy. He is a dominionist through and through. To keep up with the latest Brownback news and foibles keep an eye on:

    — Dedicated to the Savaging of Senator Sam Brownback

    KansasNate9:49 pm

  2. Whoops… that would be:

    Seems wordpress doesn’t take too kindly to links in the comments

    KansasNate9:50 pm

  3. *grins*

    I really wonder if they know what a can of worms they’re opening here. I look forward to the reaction among Conservatives the first time it’s mentioned that marriage is a religious institution before the Supreme Court, and it’s argued that the government has no business being involved with it at all, under the First Amendment.

    It may be twenty years, and even if it’s argued, that argument may fail. But by making an issue out of marriage, they’ve exposed a glaring internal contradiction in how our society views the mingling of the civil and spiritual when it comes to marriage. One that makes “Under God” in the Pledge look like a typo in the Food section of the Washington Post.

    StealthBadger11:04 pm

  4. There are some religious folks who agree with C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity, 1943):

    … I should like to distinguish two things which are very often confused. The Christian conception of marriage is one: the other is the quite different question — how far Christians, if they are voters or Members of Parliament, ought to try to force their views of marriage on the rest of the community by embodying them in the divorce laws. A great many people seem to think that if you are a Christian yourself you should try to make divorce difficult for every one. I do not think that. At least I know I should be very angry if the Mohammedans tried to prevent the rest of us from drinking wine. My own view is that the Churches should frankly recognise that the majority of the British people are not Christians and, therefore, cannot be expected to live Christian lives. There ought to be two distinct kinds of marriage: one governed by the State with rules enforced on all citizens, the other governed by the Church with rules enforced by her on her own members. The distinction ought to be quite sharp, so that a man knows which couples are married in a Christian sense and which are not.

    Not many, admittedly.

    Keith12:11 am, October 18

  5. KansasNate, WordPress handles links in comments fine. You probably just had a typo, like mistyping “href” or leaving off the quotes around the URL. I really should put in some sort of comment preview, but WordPress doesn’t make that very easy.

    Keith10:23 am, October 18

  6. That’s a good quote from a Christian icon. It is wishful thinking on Lewis’s part, though, as the church wouldn’t really have any power to enforce “Christian marriage.” Power in marriage comes from its legal definition. Nonetheless, I will keep that quote in mind when this issue comes up.

    Jason Bradfield1:54 pm, October 18

  7. Churches have whatever enforcement power their members give them. Excommunication, shunning, or even simple shame can have enforcement effects.

    We do have a bit of this separation already, since some churches perform marriages that aren’t recognized by the government because they’re same-sex marriages or polygamy, for example. I agree that it’s wishful thinking, though. A bit too libertarian to actually be enacted.

    When C.S. Lewis married, incidentally, he did have separate civil and religious ceremonies.

    Keith2:49 pm, October 18

  8. […] for marriage are not included anywhere in this legislation. AltHippo at the DC blog DCDL declared a Brownback Watch. Maybe it’s just me. But, I don’t see how Brownback’s behavior, hi […]

    Noli Irritare Leones » Blog Archive » Marriage Development Accounts11:11 am, June 15, 2007

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