Feature

Gay Marriage

Here we go again.

Don't say we didn't warn you, said National Review Online in an editorial. After the Massachusetts Supreme Court declared in 2004 that gays there have the right to marry, people who believe in the sanctity of marriage began calling for a constitutional amendment declaring that marriage is reserved for a man and a woman. We were called 'œalarmist' and assured that in other states, there would be no push to 'œimpose same-sex marriage on a balking public.' But last week, New Jersey's highest court did just that, ruling that under the state's constitution, gay couples must have all the 'œrights and benefits' of marriage. The court gave the state legislature 180 days to decide whether to call such partnerships 'œmarriages' or 'œcivil unions,' said David Wagner in The Weekly Standard, but that's just semantics. That this ruling passes for a 'œSolomonic compromise' only shows how far the gay agenda has progressed.

The decision was bad news for Republicans, said Alan Cooperman in The Washington Post'”'œthe bad news they were hoping for.' Down in the polls going into next week's elections, Republicans are now hoping that the ruling will rouse dispirited social conservatives, especially in the eight states that have constitutional amendments barring same-sex marriage on the ballot. President Bush, out stumping for GOP candidates, immediately picked up the get-out-the-vote theme that has worked for Republicans in past elections. 'œAnother activist court issued a ruling that raises doubts about the institution of marriage,' Bush declared. The ruling, said Tony Perkins of the conservative Family Research Council, would remind Americans 'œwhat this election is all about.'

Don't count on it, said USA Today. Most Americans agree that 'œWestern civilization hasn't collapsed' because gays can marry in Massachusetts. And while a majority of the public isn't ready for gay marriage, it believes discriminating against gay people is wrong. The New Jersey court struck the right balance, by recognizing that gays should have the right to form legal unions, while leaving it to the people's elected representatives to figure out the details and terminology. As a gay man, I personally believe we are entitled to full marriage rights, said Andrew Sullivan in Andrewsullivan.com. Society only benefits when more people sign on for the commitment, stability, and responsibility that marriage should entail. But in a democracy, it's best not to push the law too far ahead of the public. So in New Jersey and in other states, 'œlet's leave the M-word to the churches, but let the state grant equal protection under the law.'

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