The congressional jockeying and debate - so-called - about a proposed constitutional amendment proscribing homosexual marriage (HM) has not solved much except to clarify where certain political lofties stand.
That's often the way it is on divisive issues.
Currently, one camp holds that the Constitution shouldn't be loaded down with such frippery - an argument recalling perhaps nothing quite so much as a leading line years ago in the debate about the proposed Equal Rights Amendment.
Lately pro-HMers have taken to contending that the question is best left to the states - and never mind that Massachusetts, along with principally the city of San Francisco, has done so much to move the nation to its present divide.
What's more, leaving HM to the states is an odd construct for those who unrelentingly resist a diminished federal role in just about anything. Right now, for instance, many pro-HMers are flipping out over the Bush administration's proposal to rewrite a Clinton administration rule and return to the states the power to determine whether 60 million acres of national forest should be off-limits to road-building and logging.
And let us not overlook those who want to stand on both sides of every issue. John Kerry says he is for homosexual rights and homosexual civil unions, but against HM and a constitutional amendment forbidding it. This is the same John Kerry who voted in the 85-14 minority against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act signed even by President Clinton.
It is the fear that ideologically indisposed judges might overturn - neuter? - not only that federal statute but similar laws in at least 38 states that has fueled the drive for a constitutional amendment.
The leading amendment under discussion consists of 51 words in two sentences. It reads:
Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.
Complexifiers and sophisters find all manner of darkness and confusion lurking in those simple words. Yet hefty majorities of Americans favor a constitutional amendment banning HM. In 2000 even California's voters, trending ever more sharply left, lopsidedly backed Proposition 22 limiting marriage to a man and a woman.
Most supporters of an amendment tend to accept and abide the reality of homosexuals in society; they do not accept homosexual sexual practices, however, as normal. Further, amendment supporters recognize the procreative purpose of the sexual union at marriage's core. There can be sex - and procreation - without love; there can be love without sex. There cannot be legal procreation without marriage.
To include under the definition of "marriage" a relationship between two individuals of the same gender genetically incapable of procreation, would render the word (and the relationship) meaningless on behalf of individuals unable to achieve the full present meaning of "marriage" in a homosexual union.
Speaking of intangibles, what of the consequences at law of HM regarding the division of assets, alimony and child support in cases of adoption? The lawyers would love it.
And speaking of tangibles, what would flow from HM with virtual inevitability: polygamy, polyandry, pederasty, incest, bestiality?
Columnist William Safire: "Civil union connotes toleration of homosexuality, with its attendant recognition of an individual's civil rights; but marriage connotes society's full approval of homosexuality, with previous moral judgment reversed."
Texas Senator John Cornyn: "Either we define marriage in the Constitution or [activist judges] will redefine it for us."
Colorado Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave: "If we redefine marriage, anything goes."
Ultimately, a Supreme Court that has sidestepped an opportunity to uphold "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance in a nation with an overwhelming religious and Christian identity, is a court that without compunction can overturn any state or federal statute limiting marriage to the union of a woman and a man.
Given the demands of the homosexual lobby and the havoc homosexuality has wreaked in our mainline denominations and the culture at large, the nation needs a constitutional amendment grounded in normalcy and limiting marriage to heterosexuals.
There likely will be one, but the hour is not yet.