Hip, hot and evolving but the blessing will have to wait

Wesley Pruden

Sodomy is the latest hot thing in Washington. You don’t have to participate in it to think how cool it is. The love that dare not speak its name has become the passion that shouts from the housetops. Closets are emptying all over town.

From now on – “going forward,” in the cliché of washingtonspeak – reporters and pundits need not interview candidates for Congress. They’ll just talk to their kids to see what the candidates think. The Children’s Hour hasn’t been this popular since Jimmy Carter reassured us that he had consulted little Amy about arms control and she agreed that nuclear war is not good for living things.

Chief Justice John Roberts.
Chief Justice John Roberts.

Rob Portman, the senator from Ohio who was almost Mitt Romney’s running mate, took his marching orders from his son after the boy told Mom and Dad that he was gay. The senator couldn’t wait to announce it in the newspapers, writing a long op-ed about it in the Columbus Dispatch. We’re all for privacy in modern America until we get the urged to “share” the smarmy details of our lives.

Mr. Portman explained the deviation from his convictions of the past, when as a member of the House of Representatives he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act now being argued at the Supreme Court, as a function of evolution. Evolution has hit hard in Washington, as the pols line up to tell everyone how they’ve learned to appreciate the yucky expansion of the marital bed.

First it was President Obama, whose mind turned out to be a triumph of Darwinian speculation. Then it was Joe Biden, or maybe the vice president leaped first and the president tagged along; then Hillary Clinton, followed by Bubba, who can’t remember everything he evolved from in that dark and mysterious land of the magic huckleberry. Evolution soon spread across the partisan aisle, first to Mr. Portman and then back across to Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

A first cousin of Chief Justice John Roberts arrived in Washington from San Francisco on Monday and announced that she is a lesbian and will attend the Supreme Court hearings as a guest of Cousin John. “He’s a smart man,” says Jean Podrasky. “He is a good man. I believe he sees where the tide is going. I do trust him. I absolutely trust that he will go in a good direction.” Ordinarily no one can guess what a Supreme Court justice will say or do, but Justice Roberts demonstrated in the Obamacare decision that he tries to fit respect for the Constitution into his decisions when he can, but a good public opinion of the court is more important. Like Justice Anthony Kennedy, he’s a swinger, too.

Over the weekend Karl Rove, ever in pursuit of the hip and the hot, said he could “imagine” the next Republican presidential nominee endorsing same-sex marriage. Karl suffers a stunted imagination. Republicans of Karl’s ilk are demonstrating evolution on steroids and by 2016 there may not be room on either ticket for anyone but a man of lace, lavender and peau de soie. Or Hillary.

Handicapping Supreme Court deliberations is a fool’s game, as any lawyer will tell you, and ordinarily the justices don’t read the Gallup Poll, or Rasmussen, either. But this is a new day and who knows? Justice Roberts’ cousin may be on to something.

The latest uninformed speculation is that the high court will find a middle ground, to leave it to the states to define marriage and what sanction to give synthetic versions of it. The Washington Post, always lustful about the latest fashion, decrees that “the political argument over same-sex marriage is over.” That’s what other wiseheads said about Roe v. Wade 40 years ago.

Nobody wants another 40 years of angry debate and contentious argument over a “right” found not in the Constitution but in a “penumbra,” like the one the high court found to support Roe v. Wade. If the justices find another one the debate will no more end than a penumbra ended the abortion debate. Like the abortion debate, the same-sex marriage argument is one between personal convenience and moral conviction.

Gays in America seek something beyond the power of the courts to convey – the blessing of the straight society they profess to disdain, and the recognition that homosexual union is equal to marriage as society has known it since before the Flood. Thousands of years of tradition, nurtured by the church, the synagogue and the mosque, can’t be dissolved by whim or caprice, however artful.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.