Maybe I'm a little slow on the uptake, but I just don't understand this. I don't understand how it's going to "preserve the sanctity of marriage" if we amend the Constitution to keep gay people from marrying one another. But that's what the president says. And that's what these geniuses who thought up this amendment proposal are saying. Oh, we've got to put a stop to these gay weddings to preserve the sanctity of marriage. I just don't see what harm they're going to do to marriage by trying to horn in on a little of it. I thought I had a pretty good marriage. Forty years, to one of them opposite-sex critters. We like each other. So why not? I've never thought much about our marriage having anything as important-sounding as sanctity; but now that they've brought it up, I'm pretty sure that any sanctity it might have is a brand of it that's tough enough to survive some gay people in California or somewhere getting together and exchanging vows and plighting troths and throwing out little bags of rice. In fact, my spousal unit and I were talking about it the other day and agreed that some of those couples on the TV were kinda cute. What's it to us? What's it to George and Laura? What's he doing expounding on this? He needs to get his mind on important stuff, like how much gasoline costs, and Iraq. Britney Spears recently got drunk and married a guy in Las Vegas, and got the thing cancelled 55 hours later, and while I didn't consider that a threat to the sanctity of my marriage, either, I thought it was more of an insult to marriage, more of a sliming of the institution, than anything those gay blades might be up to. I think this girl has the excuse of being an idiot, though. And we don't need to consider amending the amendment to head off additional such escapades by her or the likes of her. Marriage has survived the Liz Taylors and Mickey Rooneys; it has endured Clintonian Willarding and Mormonic pluralizing; it's been Yokoed, Jerry Leed, Dennis Rodmaned without expiring in disgrace; it has made it past royal princes who pine to be their mistresses' Kotexes, and P.T. Barnum using it for midget promotion, and that covenant nonsense that these ignorant sadistic preachers thought up. It got through those traumas with its sanctity intact, and it will handle with the same aplomb whatever rubber chickens and Dutch rubs the 21st century brings against it. As I said, as institutions go, it's a tough hombre. I would give favorable consideration, however, to banning by Constitutional amendment or any other way - maybe an old-fashioned shotgun would get the job done best - these marriage-hating TV "reality" programs like "Joe Millionaire" and "My Big, Fat, Obnoxious Fiance." The whole point of those programs as far as I can tell is to throw garbage at marriage, to show that it can be perverted into a vulgar, grotesque, embarrassing, and hurtful thing, and I don't think we ought to let them get away with such malicious mischief. In addition to talking about gas prices and Iraq, President Bush ought to be giving the makers and broadcasters of this hateful fare a hard time. How about it, Mr. President? If you want to do marriage a favor, get after these bastards, and ease up on the gays. "Protecting the sanctity of marriage": really and truly, I don't understand what's going on in these people's heads. It seems like they want to judge a marriage the way they would a jigsaw puzzle or an electrical outlet. By how the assorted genitalia line up. By whether the various prongs and receptors meet the specs of the underwriters' code. And if the approved and licensed matched pair are axe-murderer cannibals, the Constitution-amenders don't care a bit as long as one of them is male and the other one isn't. Sen. Bumpers was right: whenever they tell you it's not about sex, it's about sex. Whenever they tell you it's not about wanting to punish the homo brand of sex and pitch their own brand, that's exactly what it's about. Whenever they tell you their interest is in preserving the sanctity of marriage, they're either running pretty chickensquat scared for re-election or they're lying out their you-know-whatses. Their only interest is "preserving the sanctity of marriage," and their other only interest is "looking out for the welfare of the children." They never neglect to throw this in: Oh, the research shows that children need both a father and a mother, and that those children who don't have one of each suffer from gender confusion and other horrors too horrible to contemplate. The research shows this and the research shows that. Research. Who can argue with research? To sum up: "sanctity of marriage" - bogus; "welfare of the children" - bogus; "research" - bogus. Not bogus: a lot of people for one reason or another are grossed out by homosexuality. They don't want to see it given the respectability of being endowed with the matrimonial privilege. That might signify acceptance. Or somebody somewhere might interpret it as God-fearing normal-screwing people having given gays the proverbial inch by which they will take a mile, as having let them get that proverbial foot (or whatever) in the door. It's part of our Puritan heritage to see all sex as devilment, but those of us in the hetero moral majority have managed over time to rassle a small concession from our consciences in this matter: we've learned to entertain the wistful notion that maybe the Lord, if not exactly happy about it, might out of pity be agreeable - at least until we've flagranted our delicto and got it over with, one more time - to politely looking the other way. Only for the duration, mind. And then sighing heavily in lieu of passing judgment. It's too much to think, of course, that homos might ever be given the same consideration.