Today on the Times op-ed page, Max Boot advises his fellow conservatives to quit wasting energy against gay marriage and move on to more important, and more winnable fights. Basically, his argument is that society's acceptance of gay marriage is inevitable, just like the end of slavery was, and it won't have any actual impact on the lives of opponents.
For decades, social conservatives have been fighting and losing culture wars. Contraception and abortion — once taboo topics — have been enshrined into law. The rates of premarital sex, out-of-wedlock births and divorce have soared since the 1950s (though lately most of these indexes have leveled off or declined slightly). In school, prayer is out; sex education is in. On TV, characters used to say "gee whiz" and sleep in twin beds; now they curse as if they had Tourette's syndrome and flash skin as if they were Gypsy Rose Lee.
This doesn't mean that America is in cultural decline; no one who saw the response to 9/11 can think we are soft or decadent. It does mean there is little mystery about how the latest culture war — over gay marriage — will turn out. Opponents of same-sex marriages may have most of the public on their side for now, but they've already all but lost this battle.
Faced with virtually inevitable defeat, Republicans would be wise not to expend too much political capital pushing for a gay marriage amendment to the Constitution. They will only make themselves look "intolerant" to soccer moms whose views on this subject, as on so many others, will soon be as liberal as elite opinion already is.
Also on the LAT op-ed page: former Republican congressman and Senate candidate Tom Campbell blasts the Patriot Act for "an outrageous invasion of privacy and a violation of academic freedom," and Crispin Sartwell rails against the way public schools teach writing.