What do I think of President Bush's proposal for a constitutional amendment to affirm marriage (search) as an exclusive relationship between men and women? I think it is a worthwhile idea. I think it is important. I don't believe it will pass.
Just think about this. The fact that we are at the point where such an amendment is needed to stop a lone ranger mayor in San Francisco (search) who is flouting the law and four unelected judges in Massachusetts who are making law, says something about the state of our culture.
A nation that won't stop abortion after more than 40 million of them is not likely to muster the moral courage and conviction to stop two people of the same sex from getting a license, engaging in a civil or religious ceremony and calling it "marriage." A nation that consumes large quantities of filth — from pornography on the Internet to soft-core porn on cable TV, to bad language and sexual situations of all types on broadcast television — is unlikely to say "no" to much of anything, including same-sex marriage.
Do I think this would be an issue of it weren't an election year? Probably not.
President Bush needs to shore up his base, which has become increasingly concerned as he presides over huge spending increases and bigger government. Democrats see it as a wedge issue for them, shoring up their base. We live, as Time Magazine once observed, in a "morally exhausted empire." Among other things, that means we are not going to muster the strength necessary fight for a marriage amendment to the constitution. If we had enough strength, we would already have fought and won other battles.
What's next? Polygamy? Intermarriage with close relatives? Not possible? Give it time. Wait for the groups to get organized and start calling you a bigot if you oppose them.
Having ceded the territory called "normal," on what basis can you successfully deny tem their desires? As Cole Porter wrote, "Anything goes." I hope the president and Congress and the legislatures pass this. But I doubt it from what I know about politicians?
And that's Column One (search) for this week.
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