Wedge? Marriage has been around for, oh, 5,000 years. In every society, in every place, in every time it has been defined as an opposite-sex union. Then four robed eminences in Boston decree otherwise. With the stroke of a pen, they radically redefine the most ancient of all social institutions. And then those not quite prepared to accept this undebated, unlegislated, unvoted, unnegotiated revolution are the ones accused of creating a political wedge!
Who is dividing the country? Was it the Republican National Committee that told the Massachusetts court to make May 17, the midst of a hotly contested election year, the day on which gay marriage is to be imposed for the first time in America?
A front page Washington Post ``analysis'' piece asserts that with the constitutional amendment the
president is ready ``to rekindle the culture wars.'' Who did the kindling here? It was the mayor of San Francisco who, in violation of California law and in the middle of the 2004 election campaign, issued the first same-sex marriage licenses in American history.
Bush had no desire to get involved in this issue. If not for the activism in Boston and San Francisco, it would not be an election issue at all. Boston and San Francisco have made the question very stark: We are going to have national gay marriage or we are not. ``States' rights'' is a phony -- and ironic -- alternative that will not withstand constitutional muster.
I welcome the debate on the constitutional amendment because it will shift the locus of this issue from unelected judges to where it belongs: the House and the Senate and the 50 state legislatures. In the end, however, I would probably vote against the amendment because for me the sanctity of the Constitution trumps everything, even marriage. Moreover, I would be loath to see some future democratic consensus in favor of gay marriage blocked by such an amendment.
Nonetheless, that does not render the abusive, ad hominem charges made by the marriage revolutionaries -- that it is their opponents who are divisive and partisan -- any less hypocritical. Gay activists and their judges have every right to revolution. They have every right to make their case. But they deserve to be excoriated when, having thrown their cultural Molotov cocktail and finding that the majority of Americans have the temerity to resist, they cry: culture war!
Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.
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