Here is a nightmare for those who hate conflict: take a not very large or airy room in Washington, D.C., and jam it full of tables and microphones, chairs and cameras. Put a document on the table to test at a "public airing." Now invite to the table representatives of groups who are rarely in the same room together.
A century ago the bone weary must have come home from their labors and relaxed by watching the flames dancing in the hearth. But since the invention of the television, weary Americans have been sinking their self-consciousness into the riot of unpredictable images flitting across their television screens. I am no exception.
Marriage as a public issue has been growing in visibility in the U.S., but it has never moved to the center of public discourse. Policy wonks occasionally refer to the "m" word; this is their way of acknowledging that marriage should not be brought up in polite (or politically correct) discussions of public policy.