Rich Lowry: Gay Marriage Is Not Inevitable


Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review:

"...History is littered with the wreckage of causes pronounced inevitable by all right-thinking people. The failed Equal Rights Amendment looked inevitable when it passed Congress in 1972 and immediately 30 states ratified it. Opposition to abortion that was supposed to inevitably wither away is as robust as ever. The forces favoring gun control seemed unstoppably on the march when Congress passed the Brady Bill and the assault-weapons ban in the 1990s, but there are more protections for gun rights now than two decades ago.

Gay marriage’s inevitability hasn’t been evident to the voters in 31 states who have written into their constitutions that marriage is between a man and a woman. The latest is North Carolina, where 61 percent of voters embraced the traditional definition of marriage in a referendum. North Carolina isn’t Mississippi. President Obama won North Carolina in 2008, and Democrats are holding their convention there. Nation-wide, no referendum simply upholding traditional marriage has ever lost, and even in Maine, voters in 2009 reversed a gay-marriage law passed by the legislature.

... There’s no doubt that supporters of gay marriage have made progress, but they shouldn’t congratulate themselves yet. Their cause is still subject to events, such as President Obama’s fate this fall. If the president’s newly frank support for gay marriage costs him crucial swing states, his coming-out party will be seen — inevitably — as more a setback to the cause than a watershed.