Some pundits took the passage of seven out of eight state initiatives banning gay marriage as a sign of the socially conservative cast of the American electorate, and a warning to those wild-eyed, man-on-dog Democrats to move quickly to the center. I took it a different way. To put it simply, the social conservatives are running low on ammunition.
The bigoted anti-homosexual streak through America has grown ever narrower in my lifetime, but it's still enough to get some folks all bothered, still enough to put silly amendments denying civil rights on the ballot, and still enough to prop up the dying far right religious party that used to be the GOP since Reagan.
But the all-in throw of the gay marriage haters - indeed, Mitt Romney's pathetic fliperoo to try and become the David Duke of sexual orientation - is, to me, a clear sign of desperation.
Fear-based, biblical legislation is a total flop in this country of late. And demographics are the reason. The boomer generation is beginning to move from pure money-making to society-changing mode, windmilling their arms like 60-something Pete Townshend as they get back into the activist business - this time without the tie-dye and acid, but with every bit of the pure confidence in their mission they once displayed on campus. It's a socially liberal generation, by and large; economics, foreign policy and other matters are more disparate.
Then too, the young people on the way up also display a pure form of tolerance that bordered on bored disinterest (this thrills me, frankly). When my kids are my age they'll look back and laugh at the ludicrous idea of constitutional amendments against gay marriage. Dad, were you crazy?
Finally, there are the libertarians to contend with. In the still-smoldering wreckage of the Republicans of Reagan, a small band of constitutionalists remains. They abhor government injection into private life more than almost any other action by the public sector and they're in direct opposition to the interventionist religionistas. Question is: when do they speak up?
No, these lame amendments (and let's pause for a cheer for the great state of Arizona, which rejected the proposition) were one of the last big gasps of the intolerance agenda. I believe they'll be relegated to an annoying and vocal minority. Let's work for it.