Pro-family groups in California are scrambling to gather enough signatures to put an initiative banning homosexual marriage on the ballot in 2006. But then again--will it matter? A federal judge yesterday struck down Nebraska's ban on gay marriage, saying the measure interferes not only with the rights of gay couples but also with those of foster parents, adopted children and people in a host of other living arrangements. Nebraska's constitutional amendment, which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, was passed overwhelmingly by 70% of the state's voters in November 2000. U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon said the ban "imposes significant burdens on both the expressive and intimate associational rights" of gays, "and creates a significant barrier to the plaintiffs' right to petition or to participate in the political process." The judge said the law's "broad proscriptions could also interfere with or prevent arrangements between potential adoptive or foster parents and children, related persons living together, and people sharing custody of children as well as gay individuals."
Of course, the judge is completely wrong. The law merely defines marriage, and codifies the belief of the vast majority of Nebraska voters that traditional marriage should be the state-recognized and state-preferred building block for Nebraska society. Withholding benefits due married people from those who choose other living arrangements only strengthens and encourages the legal covenant prescribed, and discourages the many variations of "shacking up" that already exist...as well as those which might yet be invented by the depraved mind of man...which is exactly what a society's laws should do.
The people and their representatives in 40 states have already drawn the line on this issue. Obviously, a federal marriage amendment is the only option. How long will we stand by watching as a handful of men and women in black robes—and their accomplices in the US Senate—execute their coup d’etat?