Okay, so last night involved more rounds of pool and pitchers of beer than I originally intended. Hence, I didn’t think I was in the right frame of mind to post a respose. Though, if my golf game is any indication, I’d make a better point three sheets to the wind than now. But, here goes.
As I said, I was leaning towards the FMA, but really considered Jonah Goldberg’s idea of constitutionalizing the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) with additional language prohibiting any judiciary from imposing either gay marriage or civil unions.
Ramesh and I agree that this would be the better option than nothing, but it would greatly complicate matters. Having considered the issue, I’ve decided that the Federal Marriage Amendment is worth a shot.
It is not anti-democratic. If two-thirds of both houses of Congress and three-fourths of the states agree, there has got to be a heck of a lot of support. Additionally, it is not putting new social policy in the constitution, it would be preserving existing policy in the face of judges and gay rights advocates turning up side down several millennia of social policy by putting a new right in the Constitution without a national debate or an amendment.
The point of supporting FMA is that we should have debate on the issue. Marriage is a national construction, not a state construction. Having 50 different marriage policies would be cumbersome, complex, and costly. Besides, marriage has been between a man and woman since people saw the first sunrise. Why should we, in just a few years, completely undermine the institution? Maybe a majority of people will one day support gay marriage and FMA will be repealed. But, the day that a majority support gay marriage is not yet here and we should not have some elitist in a black robe push us forward at a faster pace than we are willing to go.
Saying that we should do something because it has always been done that way is rarely a good reason. But, we have had this institution of marriage for eons. We may have forgotten why it came about and we may at some point decide it is no longer needed. But, even though doing something because it has always been done is no good reason to keep doing it, we certainly shouldn’t abandon the way overnight because a small percentage of people think they know better. We should at least discuss it and debate it. Two lawyers in court with a judge who was probably selected because of which President appointed him is not a proxy for national debate.
The majority of people in the country are opposed to gay marriage. By putting the FMA to a vote, we will be inserting a needed debate into the free marketplace of ideas where either tradition or post-modern thinking will win.
This is a battle that advocates of the traditional family may very well lose. But it is a battle worth having. We should go no further down the road of judges undermining traditional social policy in the name of progress. We should be willing to defend traditional values.
We do not know what harm might ensue from destroying traditional marriage. It seems pretty obvious to me that there will be serious harm. There may be competing good, but I’d prefer not to rush toward it and risk there being more harm than good. We should consider ourselves blind to the future, which we are, and move very slowly and deliberately. In the meantime, we should not take the sledge hammer to what has always been. There would be no going back and what he have has served us all very well.
So, let’s fight for the FMA. It there is not enough support, let’s fight for DOMA as a constitutional amedment. But, at the very least, let’s nationally make this decision instead of leaving it to the New York Times editorial page as reflected in the selected writings of Sandra Day O’Connor.