Maggie Gallagher

Last week the Iowa Supreme Court found a constitutional right to gay marriage, rejecting the arguments for marriage accepted by the state supreme courts of New York, Maryland and Washington.

Thus did the Iowa court -- as my colleague at the National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, said -- "misuse the law to impose an untruth on unwilling Iowans. Same-sex unions are not marriages, and Iowans should not be forced to treat them as such by law."

This week, by one vote, the Vermont Legislature overrode the governor's veto to impose same-sex marriage on that state. It's a breakthrough of sorts for the gay marriage movement: the first state to impose gay marriage through the legislature, rather than the courts. Expect Vermont to figure prominently in President Obama's crusade to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act later this year. The Democratic Party has now thrown its lot against the principles and priorities of the majority of Americans in favor of its richly endowed base of gay supporters. Democrats are the party of gay marriage -- a position opposed by 55 percent of the American people in the latest polls.

But the Vermont same-sex marriage bill was a breakthrough in another way which has received zero attention in the press. For the very first time, a legislature has formally acknowledged that gay marriage poses a serious threat to the religious liberties of Vermonters who disagree with the government's new definition of marriage. And the gay marriage movement has permitted -- if not exactly trumpeted -- that legislature to enact some imperfect yet substantive religious liberty protections, instead of the fake religious liberty protections generally offered to deflect voters' attention from the real issues at stake.

Same-sex marriage is quite different from bans on interracial marriage in one powerful respect: It asks religious Americans to surrender a core belief -- no, not Leviticus (disapproval of gay sexual acts), but Genesis -- the idea that God himself made man male and female and commanded men and women to come together in a special way to image the fruitfulness of God.


Maggie Gallagher

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.