'God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”
That invocation of divine creation once sufficed to block same-sex marriage.
Sure, many folks here in Charleston condemn the U.S. Supreme Court's decision Wednesday overturning the Defense of Marriage Act.
But Americans' approval keeps rising at a rapid rate for this defining change in matrimony: What once was a union between “one man and one woman” is now increasingly deemed a union between “one person and one person.”
If you doubt it, ask young people whether they're OK with gay marriage. Then do the demographic math on the inexorable equation of the young, who generally favor it, outliving the old, many of whom don't.
Then realize that though the high court margin against DOMA was only 5-4, gay marriage's support in the court of public opinion will continue to climb.
Indeed, lots of locals applauded the judiciary's de facto rewriting of marriage's meaning.
Of course, Charleston has long been a regional mecca of sorts for gay people. Many Charleston-born and -bred Baby Boomers, including this one, recall that The Battery, White Point Garden and Folly Beach were hangouts for homosexuals decades before “gay” became the accepted term for them.
We also recall that harassing homosexuals used to be a mean-spirited sport of sorts in these parts. Local cops even used to hassle homosexuals at gay nightspots, including the Stardust Club.
Three's a crowd?
So don't pretend that times — and now the definition of marriage — haven't changed. Don't pretend, either, that the “consenting adults who love each other” pitch can't be applied to a person wanting to marry two people.
And don't pretend that this isn't a chilling assurance from President Barack Obama in his statement Wednesday hailing DOMA's dumping:
“On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation's commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision — which applies only to civil marriages — changes that.”
Why does the president, who less than 14 months ago still officially opposed gay marriage, have to tell us that?
Because last year his administration ordered religious institutions to, against their deeply held beliefs, provide insurance coverage for sterilizations, morning-after pills and contraceptives.
Meanwhile, tolerance for gay marriage, in too many cases, has warped into intolerance against those Americans who, as the president put it, have “deeply held beliefs” against it.
Then again, some people alter their beliefs. From Wednesday's celebratory statement by Bill and Hillary Clinton: “By overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, the Court recognized that discrimination towards any group holds us all back in our efforts to form a more perfect union.”
They didn't mention that President Clinton signed DOMA in 1996.
So happy together
As for this conservative, hey, if two gay people want to marry each other, let them.
After all, homosexuals have long been condemned as promiscuous — as if heterosexuals aren't. Codifying a monogamous commitment should encourage marital fidelity.
Well, in theory, anyway.
And before losing sleep over the apparently irresistible triumph of gay marriage, toss and turn over much bigger problems: North Korea's nuclear arsenal, Iran's nuclear ambitions, Washington's snooping, Obamacare's colossal costs, and the Crosstown's evidently eternal habit of flooding when heavy rain coincides with high tide.
Compared to those relentless menaces, same-sex marriage is a walk in Hampton Park — or White Point Garden.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is email@example.com.