For Better Or Worse

In Hawaii, a showdown over marriage tests the limits of gay activism

Last week, as Americans embraced the oldest and easiest part of the gay agenda--the feel-good idea that we can "outlaw" hate toward people just because they are gay--voters in one corner of the country struggled with the most difficult and radical part of that agenda: the idea that same-sex relationships should not be morally, religiously or legally any different from opposite-sex ones. Marriage is lush with symbolism--pastors and vows, rings and rice--it's the civil heart through which the blood of state and religion both flow. "Going for marriage is like shooting for the moon," says Elizabeth Birch, head of the Human...

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