On what basis could the "right" to marry be denied persons who happen to be closely related by blood? Taboos against incest are as old as civilization itself. But then so were taboos against homosexuality. If two men have the right to marry, what rational basis is there to deny that same right to a brother and a sister who want to do so, or a father and daughter, for that matter, so long as both are adults?
Make no mistake, gay marriage will fundamentally alter the institution itself, rendering it virtually meaningless. Some gay rights activists have been more open and honest about their aims. Jonathan Katz, the executive director of the Larry Kramer Initiative for Gay and Lesbian Studies at Yale University (named for the founder of the confrontational gay rights group ACT-UP) admitted on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" this week that gay marriage "would revolutionize the institution of marriage itself. The advent of lesbian and gay marriage might, in fact, serve to not only reinvigorate but to redefine an institution that is increasingly viewed by many in our culture as having outlived its usefulness."
Perhaps Mr. Katz believes that marriage has outlived its usefulness, but most Americans do not. The United States has the highest marriage rate of any nation, according to the United Nations' Bulletin of Statistics. If marriage is going to be redefined, shouldn't the American people have some say in it? Voters or their representatives in state legislatures in some 38 states have made it clear that they want to restrict marriage to the union of one man and one woman. In a democracy, those votes should count for something, the defiant acts of San Francisco's mayor notwithstanding.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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