I feel better about America today than I have for a long time. As anyone familiar with my posts might realize, i haven't been very happy with the neo-conservative direction my country has been taking. I think George W. Bush a singularly shallow and morally suspect man. In fact, history may soon judge him the worst President in American History. Yet he remains popular among a large group of Americans for reasons I cannot fathom.

But today the Senate gave me back some faith. It is no secret that I find family values have little to do with either family or morality. Christ did not call us to exclude others, in fact his whole life was a dedicated to inviting others in. Marriage is something we grow up dreaming of, even pointing toward. It's always been a part of my thoughts, even though I've never met the right woman.

Does anyone really think that homosexuals should feel this any less? Family and bonded love is a part of our nature, regardless of the other legal benefits. To deny anyone something so human seems at best cruel.

Of course it's no secret why the push is on now. Part of the matter is legal decisions brought the issue to the public eye during an election year. Fear lays at the heart of why so many fear marriage. Fear that if this becomes normal, what next?

But the real reason is that George W. Bush isn't doing very well in the polls. It seems very likely he will lose the November election. Because prejuidice against gays remains quite acceptable in public, it easy to use the unfamiliar prospect of men marrying men as a wedge issue. Conservative propaganada has done a fine job of smearing liberalism. They'd love to embarass John Kerry, John Edwards and every other Democrat who might be in their way. And to do this they don't seem to mind enshrining hatred in the Constitution.

Today, the U.S. Senate shot that plan down. All the arm twisting and rhetoric couldn't even get them a simple majority, much less the supermajority required for a Constitutional Amendment. Six Republicans broke ranks with their party to shoot the issue down.

Will gay marriage be brought up again? Absolutely. Religious conservatives really, really want it and social conservatives form the activist core of the Republican Party. They won't quit, because they think they're on a mission from God. But today I begin to think they're never going to win this one. Today I see hope that their entire agenda will be driven backward, replaced by common sense.

Today just might mark the first day of the Fall of the Moral Majority. That alone is reason to celebrate.