It may well be that the reverence for our constitution is so profound that even with a sense that there is a high probability that the Defense of Marriage Act will be found unconstitutional, Americans will not move to amending the constitution until this actually happens.
This gets to my second point regarding my optimism.
Because Americans do want to preserve traditional marriage, the case seems compelling that a federal marriage amendment will be enacted if indeed the Defense of Marriage Act is negated by the Supreme Court.
The question remaining then is do we want to bear the costs of waiting until this happens.
The most simplistic argument made by opponents of the marriage amendment is that homosexual marriage legalization doesn't threaten traditional marriage. According to Sen. Russell Feingold, for instance, "All over the country, married heterosexual couples are shaking their heads and wondering how exactly the prospect of gay marriage threatens the health of their marriages."
What Feingold obfuscates is that this is as much about our future as our present. The erosion of tradition and gain in support for "alternate" lifestyles is among our youth. This directly flows from the environment in which these kids grow up and what they hear in the public schools they attend.
So what? Consider CNN anchor Lou Dobbs' diatribe against the marriage amendment, calling it "sheer nonsense." According to Dobbs, Republicans are playing politics with a "wedge" issue. Dobbs continues, "How can we tolerate elected officials who press wedge issues when 37 million people in the United States live in poverty?"
The black pastors from all over the nation who accompanied me to Washington this week to express support for the marriage amendment know that the large percentage of these poor Americans are black, who overwhelmingly live in broken families. Black homes with married husbands and wives earn on a par with white Americans.
The prodigious moral, social, and economic costs of delay on taking action on protecting marriage will become increasingly clear. The same factors which cause some Americans to be skeptical of the marriage amendment will, I think, ultimately lead them to support it.
The issue is the cost of waiting. This could be helped with some courageous leadership in Washington. Something all too rare these days.