When Meredith Willson wrote the wildly popular musical "The Music Man" half a century ago, Harold Hill proclaimed trouble had come to River City, Iowa in the form of a pool hall, which he claimed would corrupt young people unless the local citizens bought the musical instruments he was selling and got their kids into a marching band. He promised that playing music would keep kids from "fritterin' away their mealtime, suppertime, chore time, too" and going to the track to watch "some stuck-up jockey boy sittin' on Dan Patch."
Neither Willson, nor his mythical character Hill, could have foreseen what "trouble" the Iowa Supreme Court has brought on the state (and potentially the nation) when it unanimously ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marry "does not substantially further any important government objective," in the words of Justice Mark S. Cady, who wrote the opinion for the seven-member court.
Opponents of same-sex marriage vow to fight the ruling; but Iowa law requires a two-year process to amend the state constitution and with Democrats controlling the legislature and homosexuals a significant part of the party's base, it is unlikely the ruling will be overturned.
One must hand it to the gay rights movement. They have taken advantage of a morally exhausted nation that tolerates so many things that used to be intolerable -- from abortion, to easy divorce, to pornography. And they have attacked American traditions at their strongest points, from the military, to pressuring Disney to allow "gay days" at their amusement parks, to marriage.
The problem with the Iowa Court ruling is that it vitiates a standard that defined marriage as between two people of the opposite sex, which was God's idea, not government's (see Genesis 2:24), while failing to substitute a new standard.
If homosexual marriage is now one of two equally valid choices, will other options be available anytime soon? On HBO, a popular series called "Big Love" portrays a Mormon polygamist and his three wives (he nearly took a fourth wife this season). I wonder why this never works with a woman having three husbands? But I digress, or do I? If this man lived in Iowa and wanted three wives, how could the Iowa Supreme Court stop him? Utah was not allowed to enter the Union until it agreed to outlaw polygamy. Today, under the new "no standards" established by the Iowa Supreme Court, it would be impossible to enforce anything.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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