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No State Has “Banned” Gay Marriage

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During remarks at the recent CPAC—the Conservative Political Action Conference—I inspired great controversy by declaring that “no state has ever passed a ban on gay marriage.” I wanted to challenge dishonest language suggesting that affirmation of the traditional definition of marriage amounts to a “ban” on anything.

When states limit matrimony to one man and one woman, is that really a ban on polygamy? Actually, most states have separate laws to prohibit multiple wives and incest, but they don’t ban homosexual relationships. Two men wanting to join their lives in a contractual bond, or seeking a church to bless their partnership, are free to do so.

A recent Washington Post headline appropriately avoided misleading references to “gay marriage bans” by announcing: “Lawsuit Challenges Marriage Definition in Indiana.” Other news outlets should follow this example of unbiased clarity.

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