Pity the poor cultural conservative. George Delano, to his credit despite his obvious discomfort, is being forced to unveil one desperate last attempt to turn back the forces of social dissolution. It won’t work, of course, because granting the state the power to approve is granting the state the power to destroy and redefine. It is only a matter of time. Consider that traditional marriage, as a church-granted sacrament, survived without much trouble for almost two thousand years of the Church. And in less than one tenth that time, perhaps one-twentieth – I have not yet determined precisely when the state began to supplant the church by granting state licenses – the institution is in complete disarray and is on the edge of being defined out of existence altogether. Once again, government proves to be sheer poison, destroying everything it touches.
Conservativism through strong government, indeed, through any government, is doomed to failure. This is why de Tocqueville made his comment about America having to be good in order to be great. The quality must come from within the people, not be imposed from without. One cannot make a people moral via government fiat, regardless of how one defines morality. The Soviets have learned this, the Arab countries living under Sharia know this on some level, and America is on the verge of discovering this. Many of the negative moral developments have been brought about with the help of government intervention, not all, to be sure, but turning to one of the instruments of social dissolution in order to prevent it is markedly unlikely to prove successful.
I do not oppose the goals of the Federal Marriage Amendment, I simply regard it as a last-ditch stop gap effort that will probably fail. Exactly how it will fail I do not know, but the chances of its success are low. If social conservatives truly wish to preserve the institution of marriage, they would do far better to remove marriage and all its aspects from the purview of government control.