"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wWednesday, July 02, 2003

IF ANA MARIE COX CALLS ME GAY OVER THIS I'LL...: Shrug, I suppose. My latest "Latte Sipping" column is on gay marriage, which I believe is more constitutionally important than what to do with the salad fork. The money graphs:

The governing statute on gay marriage is the Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1996. Theoretically, it would skirt the problem of some states recognizing gay marriage and others not. Practically, our newly activist Supremes (and can we please stop pretending that we have an even marginally "conservative" high court?) could shred it faster than you can say eminent domain. Now that serious constitutional interpretation has been replaced by counting to five, gay marriage is looking like the odds-on favorite.

Quite a few conservatives are not sure how to respond to all this. Marriage, historically, has been an arrangement between a man and woman with the ostensible purposes of carving out a place for access to guilt-free sex and the raising of children. To most Americans, the very idea of gay marriage is a contradiction. From one angle, the marriage amendment is all about protecting the institution from being defined out of existence. And as for the argument that the federal government shouldn't step in, they might point to Utah. There's a reason that the modern LDS church excommunicates polygamists, and it has little to do with Mormon theology.

Advocates of homosexual unions reply that marriage is hardly the inviolable institution that conservatives make it out to be. It was made less permanent in the 1970s with the introduction of no-fault divorce and the transformation of "shacking up" into common law marriage. Now, the reasons for tying the knot have shifted away from old notions of duty and legacy to personal fulfillment. It is less about doing good than being happy. And if marriage has already been changed, gays and lesbians are entitled to ask, why not again? Why deny its benefits, both tangible and otherwise, to us? [more]

posted by Jeremy at 12:36 AM