Things To Act
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Marriage Amendment Debates
A helpful reader sends me the link to this NRO article which continues to take The Weekly Standard's Maggie Gallagher to task for her attacks on Senator Hatch's proposal. The article itself is relevant, but I find the framing of the larger debate quite relevant as well. Some excerpts:

"For this idea, he was subjected to some fairly harsh attacks on his motives from the likes of the Family Research Council. For the time being, the opponents of Hatch's idea have won this battle. They continue, however, to lose the war. It still seems highly unlikely that the Congress will vote for the FMA by the necessary two-thirds margin."

"To repeat a point I made in response to Gallagher's last blast: Who are the 20 Democratic senators who might even in theory be willing to support the FMA? The social-conservative groups are circling the wagons now and trashing Hatch. I have seen joint letters against Hatch including signatures from people who three weeks ago were saying they liked Hatch's idea. They were open to the idea, that is, when they didn't have other social-conservative groups looking over their shoulders. If the social groups want to have a debate whose purpose is to prove that there's nobody more opposed to same-sex marriage than they are, that's fine. It will probably make them all some money. It is less likely to result in an actual amendment to the Constitution."

I find this particularly significant as the professor I work for researches this sort of framing conflict in other contexts (such as environmental politics). History is replete with examples of those who gamble and win spectacularly, and those who refuse to compromise and end up losing everything. The trick, of course, is sorting out which case is which. Thus far, I'm inclined to think that the FMA might be overreaching at this point, at least without much more of a concerted public campaign for it (which would provoke a significant backlash as well). Family groups need to realize that they're not playing defense anymore, and solidarity amongst themselves is not enough to get their way. If they can't convince majorities, they'll lose.

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