The Magazine

With this Bill . . .

The Senate debates marriage.

Jun 5, 2006, Vol. 11, No. 36 • By FRED BARNES
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

In Nebraska as well, a federal judge on May 12 nullified a referendum barring gay marriage. And in Massachusetts, the state supreme court by a 4-3 vote imposed same sex marriage, basing its decision on a state constitution adopted centuries before gay marriage became an issue.

In response, the Religious Coalition for Marriage was formed specifically to back the amendment. It grew out of two conferences of religious leaders and academics organized by Professor Robert George of Princeton. George and others found politicians, even conservative ones, are "afraid" to oppose gay marriage by backing the amendment: "They don't like to talk about it." The coalition was created to put strong public pressure on both politicians and judges.

The coalition's initial statement said: "We take the unprecedented stand of uniting to call for a constitutional amendment to establish a uniform national definition of marriage as the exclusive union of one man and one woman. . . . This is the only measure that will adequately protect marriage from those who would circumvent the legislative process and force a redefinition of it on the whole of our society."

What's surprising about the coalition is its breadth. It includes all eight Catholic cardinals in America, liberal and conservative, plus officials of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, the Church of God in Christ, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), among others.

As for Bush, he will appear on June5 in the Rose Garden before a gathering of amendment supporters and, a White House official says, "strongly support" the amendment. The president has rarely mentioned the amendment in the past. The choice of the Rose Garden as a venue means he is raising the marriage amendment to a higher level on his agenda, his wife's advice notwithstanding.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard and author of Rebel-in-Chief (Crown Forum).