This week, the Proposition 8 trial draws to a close.
This is the trial that never should have been, by a judge who has systematically telegraphed his sympathy for one side.
The lawyer for the plaintiffs is Ted Olson, once a GOP advocate for judicial restraint. Yet this week, he will be pleading with the judge to nullify the votes of 7 million Californians -- and, by extension, the votes of millions of Americans in other states who have exercised their right to vote for marriage as the union of husband and wife.
Perry v. Schwarzenegger is not a case about California law. This is the case that will decide the future of marriage for the entire country.
When I entered this debate in 2003, gay marriage advocates scoffed at the idea that a federal constitutional amendment was necessary. Now gay marriage advocates applaud as Ted Olson tells the world that our marriage laws are grounded only in hatred and bigotry, that they are akin to racism. Ted Olson's team actually read Catholic and Baptist doctrine into the court record, to persuade the judge that to be a Christian is to be a bigot.
Will it go that far?
I hope not. But that is the heart of the case against Prop 8: Gay marriage advocates believe there isn't any difference between two men in a sexual union and a husband and wife, and those of us who see this difference are blinded by hatred and prejudice. They delegitimize opponents, brand us as haters, and then try to strip us of our rights.
The trial that wraps up this week in California has a special resonance for me and many others. Hundreds of thousands of Americans invested their time, their treasure, their blood, sweat and tears to defend at the ballot box what they saw as an important principle: Marriage is the bringing together of male and female in a union like no other.
For these Americans, gay marriage does not merely expand marriage to more people, it abolishes the historic core conception of marriage and replaces it with a new government-mandated genderless marriage. Gay marriage means that our maleness and femaleness does not matter, our capacity to create new life is irrelevant to the public project of marriage. Henceforth by government decree marriage will mean a commitment of any two people; marriage will become a product of individual desire not rooted in any natural order, not rooted in our history or traditions and, incidentally, also not rooted in any coherent vision of constitutional limits on what government courts can do.
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.