No doubt, the news from New York on same-sex marriage is disappointing. But I disagree with my conservative colleagues who portray a doom-and-gloom scenario for the cause of traditional marriage in the United States. I don’t see it.
Consider the numbers. Thirty states have amended their constitutions to protect marriage. With the exception of New England, those states encompass every region of the country — the Pacific and mountain west, the Midwest, and the south.
By my count, at least two more states will have amendments on the ballot in 2012 — Minnesota and (likely) North Carolina. If both pass, that would take the total to 32 states, or nearly two-thirds of those in the union. (Indiana might pass one in 2014).
Excluding one failed vote in Arizona, voters have approved a marriage amendment every time one has appeared on the ballot. Even in Arizona, a second try at an amendment was successful.
Compare that to the track record of same-sex marriage. Three states — Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa — redefined marriage through judicial fiat. Only New Hampshire, Vermont, and now New York have done so through legislative process.
Aside from the Iowa anomaly, no states outside liberal-drenched New England have OK’ed same-sex marriage.
That’s hardly a seismic political shift. Polling does suggest a gradual shift in public opinion on the issue, but since when do conservatives make core ideological decisions based on polls? If marriage is a principle worthy of protection — and I believe it is, for society’s good — we should work to defend it regardless.