MARRIED, OFTEN WITH CHILDREN. The biggest story in the country today is gay marriage, and Massachusetts is the epicenter, as same-sex marriage becomes legal here for the first time anywhere in the United States. (Globe coverage here; Herald coverage here.)
Not to focus on the negative, but I feel compelled to reproduce the first few paragraphs of Howie Carr's column in Sunday's Herald. Unlike his fellow columnist Joe Fitzgerald, who at least appears to be a true believer (sub. req.), I find it hard to accept that the sneering Carr really cares one way or the other. Yet this is how he began his hateful little screed (sub. req.) yesterday:
Gay marriage, another mega-embarrassment for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but what else is new? Imagine the circus this evening out on Mass. Ave. in front of Cambridge City Hall - one shudders to think of what sort of XXX-rated products the hawkers will be trying to peddle to those who once were referred to in simpler times as "brides" and "grooms."
"Hey, get your amyl nitrites here. Poppers here, poppers!"
This is the liberal credo: If it happens in Abu Ghraib prison, it's a war crime. If it happens at a rest stop on I-495, it's true love.
Welcome to Massachusetts. The Gay State. Sodom and Begorrah.
And everyone has to pretend that this will be the end of it. You will be hounded by the PC Police if you state the obvious, that if the perversion du jour is "gay marriage," then tomorrow it will be polygamy, and the day after tomorrow incest, and then the final frontier ... bestiality.
Elisabeth Beardsley, Thomas Caywood, Thea Singer, Marie Szaniszlo, Franci Richardson, and other Herald reporters trying to cover gay marriage with the seriousness it deserves must cringe when they see garbage like this.
The Globe's anti-gay-marriage columnist, Jeff Jacoby, complained yesterday that "the media depiction of the same-sex marriage controversy has been strikingly one-sided." No doubt I'm caught in my own paradigm, but I can't help but think that that's because there is a right and a wrong regarding gay marriage, and that the vast majority of the media have sided with those who are right.
Those of us who think this week's revolution is a terrible mistake need to do a much better job of explaining that the core question is not "Why shouldn't any couple in love be able to marry?" but something more essential: "What is marriage for?" We need to convey that the fundamental purpose of marriage is to unite men and women so that any children they may create or adopt will have a mom and a dad.
Marriage expresses a public judgment that every child deserves a mom and a dad. Same-sex marriage, by contrast, says that the sexual and emotional desires of adults count for more than the needs of children. Which message do we want the next generation to receive?
Well, marriage is for many things, but I agree with Jacoby that child-rearing is by far the most important. I would even agree that there are many advantages to raising children within the context of a family headed by a mother and a father - advantages that are difficult to replicate with two mothers, or two fathers, or a single parent.
But this is theory. The reality is that there are already same-sex couples and single parents raising children, and that, in many cases, they are doing a far better job than some traditional families. Children are raised by actual people, not by theories about what constitutes the ideal. We ought to recognize that. And today, at least in one state, we do.
RUMSFELD'S LAST WEEK? Here is the latest from Seymour Hersh, in the current New Yorker, on a secret order signed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld that may have led directly to the abuses at Abu Ghraib. The most chilling paragraph:
The government consultant [a source of Hersh's] said that there may have been a serious goal, in the beginning, behind the sexual humiliation and the posed photographs. It was thought that some prisoners would do anything - including spying on their associates - to avoid dissemination of the shameful photos to family and friends. The government consultant said, "I was told that the purpose of the photographs was to create an army of informants, people you could insert back in the population." The idea was that they would be motivated by fear of exposure, and gather information about pending insurgency action, the consultant said. If so, it wasn't effective; the insurgency continued to grow.
When you consider the incredible damage that has been done to American interests by the abuses and torture at Abu Ghraib - when you consider that terrorists executed Nicholas Berg in retaliation (or at least used it as a convenient excuse) - then, if this is true, Rumsfeld's resignation should be on President Bush's desk by noon today.