February 24, 2004

OKAY, this AP story says that Bush is for “banning gay marriage.” But when I read his statement and the Scott McClellan press briefing it seems more like what he’s talking about would basically be the constitutionalization of the Defense of Marriage Act — which would do exactly nothing, since, even pre-DOMA, states didn’t have to recognize each others’ marriages. There is some stuff about marriage being between a man and a woman, but it also seems as if that wouldn’t be binding on the states (or, if it is, only to the extent that they can’t call it “marriage.”) At any rate, I’m now thoroughly confused. I’ll have more on this over at GlennReynolds.com as soon as they get it posted.

And note this confusion, too.

UPDATE: Okay, the GlennReynolds.com post may be a bit longer — I had a few legal thoughts that I need to think about some more. But in the meantime, here’s my bottom line on the amendment issue:

I’m still against this, just as I was against the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act. I know plenty of gay people who are, for all practical purposes, married. I don’t see what’s wrong with them getting married. I don’t understand how letting gay people get married threatens heterosexual marriage. And, in fact, I suspect that to the extent it makes any difference at all, gay marriage will prove to be a fundamentally conservative institution, with married gays taking the role of solid citizens that married people have traditionally taken.

I think that the country will figure that out, and sooner than many people think. I also think that the country ought to be given a chance to figure it out, and not be prevented from doing so by a constitutional amendment.

UPDATE: Interesting developments in California. It looks like Virginia Postrel’s prediction last fall that all hell would break out was true.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Stephen Green is rounding up negative blogosphere reactions to Bush’s announcement. There are a lot of them. More here. And this is interesting: “Bush’s decision today will advance the rights of gay Americans beyond anything anyone is predicting. In 15 years, most States will allow gay marriage — thanks, ironically, to George W. Bush.” That’s just perverse enough to be true!

But I think that Bush should have taken Jim Glassman’s advice.