GAY MARRIAGE AMENDMENT….Glenn Reynolds wonders whether a smart politician would really want to put his reputation on the line over a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage:

Most Americans, I think, are increasingly comfortable with gay people, but not as comfortable with the idea that gayness itself is truly acceptable. That’s changing, but the process is still underway. That means that there’s a lot of support for non-discrimination, but a lot less support for things seen as “mainstreaming” gays, or at least gayness. On the other hand, I suspect that this ambivalence translates into weak support for affirmative action against gays, too, but I don’t know how that would shake out in terms of a battle over a constitutional amendment.

I’m not sure anyone else does, either, which makes me doubt that canny politicians would want to bring this to a head. But I could be wrong.

I think I would guess differently. Although passing a constitutional amendment would be difficult, social conservatives must realize that this is their last chance since public opinion is obviously trending against them. Right now they control the House, the Senate, and the presidency, and if they’re ever going to pass a gay marriage amendment, now’s the time. Ten years from now it will be out of the question.

So….I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a big push for this. Whether President Bush will end up supporting it I don’t know, but luckily for him he doesn’t have to take any official action on it and thus might be able to weasel around on it.

UPDATE: Of course, canny politicians might also decide that it’s just a good grandstanding move. There’s only a miniscule chance of such an amendment passing, since all it would take is 12 13 states to block passage, but they might figure that forcing Democrats to oppose it was good politics. And they might be right….

UPDATE 2: Jay Caruso and I sort of agree on this. Hey, there’s a first time for everything!

What’s ironic is that, as Jay points out, I’ve been saying for a while that gay rights are a winning issue for Democrats. But what I really said was that gay rights of all kinds are a winning issue with the single exception of gay marriage.

So what do we get as an issue? Gay marriage. Go figure.

(For what it’s worth, my view is that the Democrats should all oppose gay marriage but favor civil unions, which gives them a good reason to oppose a constitutional amendment. I think civil unions are a perfectly good compromise, and the battle really ought to be fought on grounds of insurance benefits, inheritance rights, etc. If we can leave the emotionally charged issue of “marriage” out of it, I still think all this stuff favors Democrats.)