Just spoke to Gary Bauer, president of America’s Values, getting his response to Fred Thompson’s talk about a constitutional amendment that would “prevent state judges from altering the definition of marriage without the direction of their states’ legislatures.” Bauer suggests that social conservative leaders will be pleased, but not necessarily satisfied:
“A few weeks ago a statement issued by his campaign sounded as if he might favor just the federalism approach to efforts to change the definition of marriage, and that was troubling to a lot of social conservatives who had been favorably inclined to him. This statement is a step in the right direction, and it is true that all the efforts so far to pass same-sex marriage have been driven by the courts.
I welcome the fact that Thompson has thought about this some more and moved one step closer to where most social conservatives are. I think that many of these leaders are going to hope to have a chance to talk further with him to see if he might get any closer.
It sounds like its aimed at judges — and I’m guessing here – if it says, no court at any level can order a redefinition of institution of marriage, then by not mentioning legislatures, a legislature could still deal with this [and institute gay marriage]. What some people will question is, if two gays or lesbians are married in Massachusetts, when they move to Ohio are they then not married? I’m a federalist too, but there are some things where it’s really hard to get a federalist solution.”
Bauer is a member of the influential Arlington Group, an informal coalition of socially-conservative and pro-family organization leaders.