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ClearDot.gif (85 bytes) Bedeviled by Devlin (cont.)
. . . . . .

Devlin argued in these ominous words that "if men and women try to create a society in which there is no fundamental agreement about good and evil they will fail; if having based it upon a common set of core values, they surrender those values, it will disintegrate. For society is  not something that can be kept together physically; it is held by the  invisible but fragile bonds of common beliefs and values. ... A common morality is part of the bondage of a good society, and that bondage is part of the price of society which mankind must pay."

• • • • • •
“Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. I will work to defend the sanctity of marriage.” —George W. Bush

In many cases, society agrees to a common morality and the weapon of law in that it accepts the validity of laws barring polygamy, adults seducing young boys, marriage of children, a father marrying his son's wife, a woman marrying her stepfather, or consanguinity marriages, say, between brother and sister. The issue today is, based on Devlin's questions, what or whose standard to adopt on social issues.

President Bush was surely reflecting majority public opinion when he declared in words Devlin would have approved:  "Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. Today's decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court violates this important principle. I will work with congressional leaders and others to do what is legally necessary to defend the sanctity of marriage."

Or should the decisive standard be public opinion as measured by polls?

Last month's Fox News Channel/Opinion Dynamics poll on same-sex marriage produced these results:

Opposed — 66 percent. In favor — 25 percent.

A Pew Research Center poll reported these results:

Opposed — 53 percent. In favor — 38 percent.

Since a large minority favors a change in the marriage laws should governments adopt the "civil union" formula as expressed by Gen. Wesley Clark and so reported in The Washington Times:

"People who want same-sex relationships should have exactly the same rights as people who are in conventional marriages. I'm talking about joint domicile rights of survivorship, insurance coverage and all those rights. I think that's essential in America today."

If we answer Devlin's questions to the satisfaction of the  overwhelming majority, what then of the dissatisfied and disobedient minority?

The debate continues.psst! Magazine

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