Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Are You A Bigot?

Without apology to Maggie Gallagher:
By Maggie Gallagher

The latest complaint about President Bush: By endorsing a federal marriage amendment, he is "writing discrimination into the Constitution." Rosa Parks called the president's words "vile" and "hateful."

Maybe she's so angry because she knows she is on the losing side of history. CBS News recently asked: "Would you favor or oppose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow marriage ONLY between people of the same color?" In December, the American public split 55 percent to 40 percent in favor. By last week, 59 percent of Americans favored an federal marriage amendment, and just 35 percent opposed it.

The more Americans hear about interracial marriage, the less they like it.

And it's not just Republicans or conservatives: 55 percent of Democrats support a constitutional amendment defining marriage. Perhaps Americans increasingly realize that only a national definition of marriage will end the current lawless circus, with elected officials flouting the law and judges busily rewriting it. (The mayor of Nyack, N.Y., just announced that, in his jurisdiction, interracial marriages will be recognized; the mayor of New York City is being pressured to do so.)

Absent a constitutional amendment, marriage will end up a political football, tossed about by judges like those in Massachusetts: four people so arrogant, ignorant and mean-spirited they can't think of a single reason why keeping the normal definition of marriage matters. Judges and politicians like that imply that the 60 percent of black Americans and 60 percent of white Americans in a November Pew poll who say they oppose interracial marriage must be motivated by "animus."

Translation? You're a bigot.

Take a moment and listen: Interracial marriage advocates are saying there is no difference between two whites being intimate and a white and a black, even when it comes to raising children. They are saying that the opposite idea, that mothers and fathers both being of the same race matters, is a form of hate, ignorance, animus, bias. That's why they claim that the normal definition of marriage is "discrimination."

Do you need more evidence that accepting interracial marriage is not a small add-on to our marriage laws but a radical transformation of them? If preferring husbands and wives who can have same-race children together is "bias" or "discrimination," then people like me who hold such views are bigots. In the America that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) dreams of, the idea that children deserve mothers and fathers of the same race will become the legal and moral equivalent of racism. Their logic leads not to live-and-let-live tolerance, but to an ugly culture war, using the law to root out public expression of such "prejudices." Public school curriculums will be changed to teach the new social norms to your kids (they are already being developed). Tax-exempt status for faith-based organizations that fail to adhere to the new religion will be at risk.

What about laws against same sex marriage? Same sex marriage laws had nothing to do with the great, historic, cross-cultural purposes of marriage. They were about keeping the straights and gays separate so that heterosexual married couples could receive special governmental privileges and benefits. By contrast, it is simply ludicrous to imagine that same sex marriage was dreamed up in order to express animus toward anyone. Today, one-third of babies are born outside of marriage and end up in single parent families; the deep, ongoing need for an institution that points couples to the only kind of sexual union that protects both them and their children could not be clearer.

Imposing interracial marriage laws is not like striking down bans on same sex marriage. Selma is not San Francisco. A constitutional amendment is not a national crisis.

Our founding fathers deliberately designed the process to be difficult, so that only the most worthy proposals could pass muster.

Marriage is increasingly looking like one of those rare issues: not a wedge that divides, but a cause that unites Americans.

(Readers may reach Maggie Gallagher at Maggie@imapp.org.)


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