Warning: Emotive, from-the-hip screed starting in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...
President Bush endorsed a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman today. And a large step backwards was achieved at the same time.
As far as I can tell, the purpose of the various amendments that I have read is to limit the abililty of any government in the US (state, municipal, etc) to be able to perform a ceremony legally joining two people who are not of opposing sexes. Many readings of most of these amendments would also prevent any legislature from enacting any type of union that would have the "incidents of marriage." Can anyone tell me why the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) isn't sufficient? So much so that we need to enshrine in to the Constitution another blight that's pretty much the equivalent of a three-fifth's a person stain (didn't we learn the first time)? And why do conservatives who normally swear fealty to federalism and letting states be labratories for experimentation want to stop what they have supported so many times before?
The US constitution has only been amended 27 times. Almost every single one of those amendments is focused on the activity of the federal government (who can vote and how, whether the government can tax income, the process for filling the office of the President). The only two amendments I can think of off the top of my head that limit the actions of the citizenry were Prohibition — first to limit freedom, then to restore it. 2 out of 27, that's what, 7%? In our collective wisdom as a country, it would seem that we've decided that mucking about with the Constitution is better left to restrain the power of the government, not the other way around. So why this time?