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Let No Law Put Asunder

A constitutional amendment defending marriage is worth the effort.
2004This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court gave new meaning to the phrase "raw judicial power" when it ruled last November that the commonwealth must begin accommodating same-sex couples who apply for marriage licenses.

This court's ruling is the latest volley in a relentless, multifaceted campaign for what activists invariably call "gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender" liberation. These activists have sought from sympathetic judges what they've been unable to win in most legislatures or Christian denominations. Because of the aggressive efforts by political action committees and courts, it now appears necessary to codify in the U.S. Constitution what has been obvious to most people for centuries: that marriage refers exclusively to the union of one man and one woman.

Of course there have been also counterfeits of marriage for centuries, chiefly cohabitation and polygamy. But no successful political movement has ever proposed elevating heterosexual cohabitation to marriage (Why bother, really?) and Americans rejected polygamy, firmly and even violently, in the late 19th century.

Friends of traditional marriage had hoped the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, would provide sufficient protection for traditional marriage. It has not. Courts still hammer at the boundaries of DOMA, and some apparently won't stop short of a demolition.

Will Americans turn to the Constitution to protect marriage from judges' grandiloquent efforts at social engineering? The earliest signs after the Massachusetts court's ruling are less than encouraging. Already the movement to protect marriage is divided on whether legislation should prohibit states from extending any recognition to civil ...

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