The Wall Street Journal editorial page the other day featured a column by a Harvard law professor touting the anti-gay marriage amendment that was recently endorsed by President Bush. In the article, the professor defines gay marriage as “special benefits for a group of relatively affluent households, most of which have two earners and are not raising children.”
First, I find it rather odd that someone writing on the WSJ editorial pages would be outraged about the prospect of giving more tax benefits to the affluent. I thought that was what being a conservative these days was all about. But I also have a more personal reason for taking offense at this specious argument.
For the first 13 years of our marriage, my wife and I were unable to conceive a child. We were both working full-time jobs during this time and while I wouldn’t say we were affluent we were not poor either. So by my reckoning, this Harvard professor did not consider my marriage to be legitimate during this time. (Note: We were blessed with the birth of our first child six months ago).
President Bush’s decision to endorse an anti-Gay Marriage amendment to the Constitution is clearly an election year ploy meant to shore up his base of support among hard right-wing Christian evangelicals. There is little chance that such a divisive and controversial amendment would ever make its way through the lengthy confirmation process. Nevertheless, the move is still reprehensible and belies Bush’s now long-forgotten promise to be a uniter and not a divider.
But I also believe Bush has once again come down on the wrong side of history. The world is slowly evolving into a more enlightened and tolerant society that recognizes that sexual orientation is determined at a biological level and is therefore not a “choice.” While Bush may indeed shore up his support amongst the religious hardliners, he will also succeed in driving away many moderate and swing voters who may well prove to be the deciding votes in this election.