Since Nov. 18, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriages in Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health, reporters have been asking presidential candidates for comment. Their unresponsive answers reveal their hope that the issue will recede before the 2004 elections.
Because the issue won't go away, every candidate might as well prepare a coherent answer. The gay rights lobby smells political victory, while the majority of Americans are digging in to protect a fundamental prop of civilization.
Whining about discrimination, the gay lobby is trying to position the Massachusetts ruling as a logical expansion of the civil rights movement. It isn't.
No one has the right to marry whomever he wants. Gays can already get marriage licenses on exactly the same terms as anyone else.
Everyone is equally barred from marrying another person who is under a certain age, or too closely related, or of the same gender, or already married to another. Sound reasons underlie all these requirements, which apply equally to everyone, male and female.
Goodridge is the anticipated consequence of this year's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Lawrence vs. Texas. As Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said in dissent, Lawrence "is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda."
The Massachusetts Supreme Court for a decade has been itching to implement the gay rights agenda. It was the second state supreme court to rule that a lesbian could adopt the biological daughter of her partner and the first to grant visitation rights to a gay woman who had helped raise her former partner's child.
The media are now accelerating their spin for same-sex marriage even though the Pew survey shows that opposition to same-sex marriage has increased to 59 percent since the Lawrence decision. The New York Times is exulting that "the United States is becoming a post-marital society," creating "new forms of semi-marriages," blurring the lines between marriage and cohabitation, and imitating European types of "Marriage Lite."
Rejecting the claim that the primary purpose of marriage is procreation, the Massachusetts judges pontificated that the history of marriage demonstrates that "it is the exclusive and permanent commitment of the marriage partners to one another, not the begetting of children, that is the sine qua non of marriage." But that argument doesn't justify the court's decision because same-sex relationships are neither exclusive nor permanent.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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