Not long ago this past century when the strategy of gay leaders to ludicrously redefine marriage was put into tactical execution, the first vanguard in defense of marriage recognized how events would likely unfold. They realized that though the first onslaught on marriage would surely fail, the impetus for creation of or modifications to civil unions in support of the 14th Amendment would legitimize committed gay couple relationships, and thereby such would function as a closer base by which a subsequent attack on marriage might more easily win the war.
The first vanguard in defense of marriage reasoned that the reality of the age-old adage "give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile" was most certainly at play here .. and so they acted to institute bans on gay civil unions and domestic partnerships, thereby not giving "'em an inch".
Was that the the right thing for the first vanguard in defense of marriage to do?
But, their behavior is easy to understand: their cultural tradition to which they were endeared -- marriage, "between a man and a woman as husband and wive", by instrinsic rationally unconjecturable definition, was under attack. They feared, in this land of increasing liberal influence, that if they didn't put up the best defense that they could, taking into consideration likely possibilities, they would lose their valuable, meaningful institution.
Clearly, the first vanguard in the defense of marriage did not draw first blood as revisionsists "carelessly" claim.
The gay leaders back then, agreeing to employ a quick-fix invasive thievery of a time-honored institution of straight people by definition, without question fired the first salvo.
Gay leaders have only themselves to blame for that, as they callously pooh-poohed an entire large class of innocent people in their invasive thievery attempt to ludicrously redefine marriage into an oxymoron.
These leaders thereby declared war on an entire segment of innocent people in the population, a very large segment of innocent people.
They were likely not really surprised at all by the very strong defense these innocent people undertook.
DOMA was championed by a subsequent group of people that was larger in size and comprehensive in power.
Understandably, DOMA was passed by a landslide of both Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate, greatly supported and signed by President Clinton.
Also, DOMA did not establish a federal definition of marriage. DOMA merely clarified relevant words as appropriate in statutes. DOMA was a defense against gay leaders' invasive thievery attempts to ludicrously redefine marriage into something it was not. Restipulating the one and only definition of marriage as being "between a man and a woman as husband and wife" was simply required protocol, and in no way "established" a "federal" definition of marriage.
As for compromise, no, uniquly named civil unions for committed gay couples, Prop 8 supporters say, for the purpose of creating equal legal protection, is not a compromise at all -- it is a long-overdue right thing that needs to be done.
It is important to remember that for the word "compromise" to be applicable, gays would have to have even a slight valid claim to use of the word "marriage" .. and, since they simply do not have any valid claim on a word which has one and only one meaning -- "between a man and a woman as husband and wife" -- the one and only definition of marriage from its inception through the centuries up to and including now, the word "compromise" as used here is simply completely inapplicable.
Gay leaders executed a strategy of unconscionable act of invasive thievery on the cultural institution of marriage without regard to those that would harm or perhaps also to the consequences to their own cause of their egregious action.
Gay leaders didn't "ask" if they could be included, and though the answer would still most certainly have been "no", if gay leaders had then behaved honorably in both asking and accepting that answer, marriage defenders in some states might not have spent energy putting up a defense where no attack seemed likely.
Again, gay leaders have only themselves to blame here .. and gay leaders feigning obliviousness to the most certain reaction in some states in defense of marriage won't garner any respect.
Again, gay leaders have only themselves to blame.
They fired the first salvo in a war where they attempted to invade and steal something they had no right to steal.
Seriously, gay leaders can't really expect much sympathy for being wounded when they drew first blood.
And, there is no either-or here with regard to "traditional definition" of a word and "basic equal rights".
Marriage is what it is, "between a man and a woman as husband and wife". If that is removed .. it's no longer marriage. The word marriage must include it's fundamental identifier .. or it ceases to exist. When a word, marriage, is the foundation of a cultural tradition that for centuries brought deep meaning to its participants, re-writing its definintion is simply a ludicrous notion.
"Equal rights" for commited gay couples, however, meaning equal rights under the law according to the 14 Amendment for committed gay couples, and marriage being what it is -- between a man and a woman as husband and wife -- are not mutually exclusive.
A "specially uniquely-named" civil union contract for committed gay couples, with the same equal rights under the law afforded the "marriage" contract for straight couples, solves the problem, with both types of contracts existing at the same time.
Gay leaders would do well to admit to their wrongful initial tact, apologize, request a truce, and ask everyone, gay and straight, to work tirelesslly in every state to enact such legal contracts for committed gay couples.
My guess is that they would thereby greatly increase their chances of getting what they really want: equal protection under the law -- legitimized status for committed gay couples.