The New Jersey supremes were supremely right in their unanimous decision in October calling for civil unions or gay marriage in the state. What does equal protection mean if not that laws apply equally to all people, regardless of who they fall in love with?
Legislators took the cowardly course yesterday, opting for civil unions. I can't get too riled up about that personally because I don't believe in marriage anyway. But I do think the people who defend the institution of marriage are starting to sound a lot like Neanderthals.
Bush called in 2004 for "an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife."
The day after the New Jersey decision, Bush said, "We believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman."
The same day, racist George Allen said, "I’m for marriage between a man and a woman while my opponent is against it." Actually Democrat James Webb, who won, does not, in fact, oppose heterosexual marriage; he does, however, oppose gay marriage.
The Arlington Group, a creepy coalition of congressional Republicans and Christian right organizations which has been one of the most powerful forces behind anti-gay marriage amendments, defines its mission as "Protecting the traditional institution of MARRIAGE being between 'one man and one woman.'" Perhaps they got a little self-conscious about the caveman-like repetition of "one man and one woman," and so included the quotes. Or then again maybe they have no basic understanding of punctuation.
In a creepy twist, Tennessee Republican Bob Corker, who beat Harold Ford, said "I voted...to prohibit same sex marriage because it protects...the sanctity of marriage between a man and women."
And finally, New Jersey Senator Robert W. Singer, a Republican who sponsored an amendment to yesterday's civil unions bill that would define marriage as—you guessed it—the union between a man and a woman, explained, "I believe the foundation of our state is families, marriage, one man, one woman."
The problem is, when you try to add any substance to the the caveman formula, you quickly get into trouble. Len Deo, the president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, made that mistake yesterday, saying "People have rights, but they don’t have a right to redefine an institution that’s served us well for 2,000 years."
Which institution would that be?