“Commentator J.C. Watts explains why he sides with efforts by Senate
Republican leaders to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gay
“Aspen should take a formal stand against a constitutional amendment that
would ‘advance discrimination’ by banning same-sex marriages, according to
City Councilwoman Rachel Richards.”—The Aspen Times
“Three gay couples in Tampa and Orlando sued to overturn Florida’s ban on
same-sex marriages Monday.”—The Ledger (Lakeland, FL)
“Amendment backers say the constitutional amendment is needed to make it
more difficult for a court to potentially toss out the state’s existing law
banning gay marriage.”—News-Leader (Springfield, MO)
Excuse me, but it is now routine — even on Fox News Channel, I just
heard — to talk about “banning” homosexual marriages. Isn’t language being
misused here? Can you ban something that has never existed? The way
marriage is currently, and has traditionally, been defined restricts legal
marriage to one man and one woman, both of sound mind, not close blood
relatives, neither currently married to someone else. I suppose you could
say that that “bans” all sorts of unions: mine with my sister, yours with
your town softball league, Jonah’s with Cosmo, and so on. But is it really
proper to speak of these restrictions as “bans”? Who ever thought like this
until about a year ago?
The proposed Federal Marriage Amendment would codify the conventional
definition of marriage (see above). In doing so, I suppose it would “ban”
polygamy. So why is this “the Constitutional amendment to ban gay
marriage,” rather than, say, “the Constitutional amendment to ban polygamy,”
or “the constitutional amendment to ban marriage between human beings and
I suppose you might argue that the *intent* of the FMA is to “ban gay
marriage,” even thought that isn’t its wording. Even that is questionable,
though. What supporters of the FMA want is to *maintain* marriage in the
form in which it is currently understood, and to shield it from assaults by
homosexuals, polygamists, incestuous couples, and anyone
else who might seek to change the institution.
That’s not an aggressive state of mind, marching out to “ban” something.
It’s a defensive state of mind, seeking to *preserve* something in its
ancient and traditional form. Conservatives did not seek this fight. It
was brought to us by radicals who want to upturn our customary laws,
understandings, and culture. We are not seeking to change the world by
“banning” something that some people want to do. We are seeking to keep
things as they have always been.
All this use of the word “ban” seems to me highly dishonest.