Same-sex marriage proponents have finally won a victory yesterday the old-fashioned and constitutionally legitimate way: through legislative action. On April 7, state legislators overrided a veto by Gov. Jim Douglas (R), making Vermont the fourth state with legalized same-sex marriage and the first through the consent of the governed as expressed through their legislature.
It didn't take long for USA Today religion blogger Cathy Lynn Grossman to seize yesterday's win for gay activists as an occasion to repeat a left-wing talking point. Grossman concluded her April 7 blog post by asking readers:
Should you be able to vote on who loves whom or how they live together?
Of course the loaded question automatically puts proponents of traditional marriage on the defensive. Legislate love? How un-American!
But states regulate who can "love" whom all the time in both marriage and age of sexual consent laws. That's why fathers can't marry their own daughters and first-cousin marriages in many states are not allowed. It's also the same reason the state can insist that no matter how much a 14-year-old "loves" her perverted 25-year-old boyfriend, she's a victim of statutory rape.
These laws vary from state to state, of course, which is perhaps why Grossman seeks to take gay marriage out of its strictly legal and constitutional concerns and imbue it with grander, metaphysical implications:
It comes back, perhaps, to how people view what is "true." As usual, I've got lots of questions:
Is there only one true definition of marriage? Can it change across time? Across state boundaries? Can there be multiple and conflicting "truths" in the laws of one nation?