Amending Marriage

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Constitutional father James Madison argued that the document must provide an open road to amendment only “for certain great and extraordinary occasions.” As same sex couples exchange vows in San Francisco, President Bush may be arguing that the nation is facing such a great and extraordinary occasion, and that only the Constitution can protect marriage from so-called activist judges and rogue mayors.

But many on both sides of the aisle in Washington have cold feet about taking the amendment vows. Even opponents of gay marriage argue the issue is too divisive and controversial to be permanently woven into the legal fabric of the nation, and the states should retain the right to decide who can wed. Is it true, as our parents told us, that you need a strong constitution, to have a happy marriage?


Sanford Levinson, chair of the University of Texas Law School, Austin, Texas, and visiting professor, Harvard Law School

Rick Duncan, professor of law at university of Nebraska College of Law

Dr. Billy McCormack, founding board member of the Christian Coalition

Gary Daffin, co-chair of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus

Peter Ragone, Communications director for the city of San Francisco