by Maggie Gallagher

After same-sex marriage, what next?

Many people are tired of the culture war. They'd like to throw in the towel and go back to "normal."

There's only one problem: The culture war will always be ongoing because the left is never going to stop waging it. You can never "give in" and be done with it -- they will simply move on to the next item.

We have seen how this process works on "sexual orientation." Just a few short years ago, an America like today would have been a barely imaginable utopia of tolerance. But that was so last decade. Just a few years ago, most gay people hardly noticed marriage laws, and many actively opposed gay marriage. Now, only complete capitulation on marriage will do, and the existence of laws defining marriage as the union of husband and wife are transformed into an aggressive slap in the face at gay people.

And so now the processes of silencing, stigmatizing and marginalizing are directed at the majority of Americans who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife.

In Maryland, a state senator decided to vote for gay marriage. Well, fine and dandy; he has every right. But he chose to announce it at a press conference, where he slammed his fellow citizens as ugly bigots -- a message point the mainstream media gladly relayed: "Witness after witness demonized homosexuals, vilified the gay community, and described gays and lesbians as pedophiles," claimed Sen. James Brochin.

One Maryland citizen noticed this strange display: "When I devoted an entire day to come to Annapolis and engage in a civil debate on the same-sex marriage bill on Feb. 8, I never envisioned receiving such an insensitive and denigrating response from any elected official as the one I received from Sen. James Brochin," wrote Robert Nelson of Gaithersburg, Md., in The Washington Post. "What I saw, however, were people from various walks of life showing compassion for the children of Maryland and defending the faith tradition of marriage that has built our society."

And then Nelson pointed out the citizens insulted by Sen. Brochin have a recourse: They can organize to get a referendum to put the question of gay marriage to the people of Maryland. A new poll sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage finds Marylanders reject gay marriage 54 percent to 38 percent.

After gay marriage, what will be the next item on the left's agenda of reshaping the American people so we conform better to their tastes, views and values?

In Canada, the polygamist and polyamorists are now in court fighting for their right to marry.

In Massachussetts this week, Gov. Deval Patrick quietly signed an executive order mandating affirmative steps to end "discrimination" for people with diverse "gender identity and expression" -- and requiring this not only of state agencies but of all who contract with any state agency. Affirmative action for cross-dressers, with or without surgery? Co-ed public bathrooms?

In San Francisco, the newest idea is to get voters this November to criminalize infant circumcision. That's right. In the paradigmatic American city of liberalism, the big new idea is to put out a big sign: Jews Not Welcome Here.

The culture war will never be over because the left will never permit itself to declare victory and stop pushing for more.

The progressive imagination requires victims in order to sustain its own identity as the hero.

And being men and women of the left, they have no problem using government to reshape morality, preferably using your tax dollars to build institutions to reshape your children's and grandchildren's moral outlook. And on the left, they have no problem aggressively condemning fellow citizens who disagree with their novel views as bigots, haters and all-around morally bad folks.

In short, when it comes to the culture war, gentlemen may cry "peace, peace," but there is no peace.

And so, for those of us who are the objects of the left's culture war, the questions become: "Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?"

(Maggie Gallagher is the founder of the National Organization for Marriage and has been a syndicated columnist for 15 years.)