On Fox News Sunday, Sen. John McCain announced: "I will vote against it because I believe very strongly, first of all, in the sanctity of union between man and woman, but I also believe that the states should make these decisions."
Leave marriage to the people in the states? We'd love to, senator, but at this point the judges won't let us. From Oregon to Louisiana, wherever the American people have had a chance to vote, strong majorities have voted to keep marriage as a union of husband and wife. It is the courts that are redefining common sense as bigotry and hate-mongering. Judges in one state have already imposed gay marriage (Massachusetts). Judges in two states (Nebraska and Georgia) have already struck down state marriage amendments. Courts in eight states will soon rule on gay marriage as a civil right.
By opposing the Marriage Protection Amendment, McCain leaves himself with a position on gay marriage that is virtually indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton's. McCain says that makes him one special guy: "I've found in my life that when I do what I think is right -- for example, on the marriage amendment -- it always turns out in the end OK," he told Fox News. "When I do things for political expediency, which I have from time to time, it's always turned out poorly."
I'm betting the good senator has miscalculated. In the first place, he is likely to find burnishing his mainstream media halo futile now that he's the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president. Meanwhile, the latest Gallup poll released this week finds 79 percent of Republicans oppose gay marriage (as do 45 percent of Democrats); two-thirds of Republicans support a federal marriage amendment. As Gallup notes: "There has been no appreciable change over the past two years in Americans' attitudes about legal recognition for same-sex marriage."
Opposition to gay marriage is holding, in spite of the vitriol of its advocates (or maybe because of it?). First lady Laura Bush recently told Fox News Sunday: "I don't think (gay marriage) should be used as a campaign tool, obviously. It requires a lot of sensitivity to just talk about the issue -- a lot of sensitivity."
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.