"The axiom on which many of the arguments supporting the original version of the Civil Rights bill were based was Universal Suffrage. Everyone in America is entitled to the vote, period. No right is prior to that, no obligation subordinate to it; from this premise all else proceeds.
That, of course, is demagogy. Twenty-year-olds do not generally have the vote, and it is not seriously argued that the difference between 20 and 21-year-olds is the difference between slavery and freedom. The residents of the District of Columbia do not vote: and the population of D.C. increases by geometric proportion. Millions who have the vote do not care to exercise it; millions who have it do not know how to exercise it and do not care to learn. The great majority of the Negroes of the South who do not vote do not care to vote, and would not know for what to vote if they could."
"One still sometimes hears people make the allegedly “conservative” case for same-sex marriage that it will reduce promiscuity and encourage commitment among homosexuals. This prospect seems improbable, and in any case these do not strike us as important governmental goals...
Both as a social institution and as a public policy, marriage exists to foster connections between heterosexual sex and the rearing of children within stable households. It is a non-coercive way to channel (heterosexual) desire into civilized patterns of living. State recognition of the marital relationship does not imply devaluation of any other type of relationship, whether friendship or brotherhood. State recognition of those other types of relationships is unnecessary. So too is the governmental recognition of same-sex sexual relationships, committed or otherwise, in a deep sense pointless."
Or as a reader sums it up:
National Review in 1957: Blacks shouldn't be allowed to vote, of course, because 10-year olds aren't allowed to vote. And besides, it wouldn't do them any good to vote anyway.
National Review in 2009: Gays shouldn't be allowed to marry, of course, because brothers aren't allowed to marry. And besides, it wouldn't do them any good to marry anyway.
I wonder how deeply National Review's editors considered the final sentence of their repellent editorial:
If worse comes to worst, and the federal courts sweep aside the marriage laws that most Americans still want, then decades from now traditionalists should be ready to brandish that footnote and explain to generations yet unborn: That is why we resisted.
Does Rich Lowry believe his magazine's position from 1957 should be held up similarly today as a prophetic warning? Was Barack Obama's election the awful consequence of giving the Negroes the vote they didn't know what to do with?
Maybe that was indeed why they "resisted." And maybe gay really is the new black.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.