USA Today has the story:
A group of high-profile Democrats and Republicans who back legalizing gay marriage are calling on advocates to shift the focus on the issue from an argument about equal rights to promoting the value of commitment.
The "Commitment Campaign," which is spearheaded by the centrist Democrat group Third Way and will be publicly launched today, has won support from Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat; Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent and former Republican; former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican; and Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Advocates have long made the case that legalizing marriage for gays and lesbians is a matter of equality. But those who frame the issue that way might be reinforcing a belief among many Americans in the middle on the issue that gays and lesbians want to marry for different reasons than straight couples, according to polling by Third Way and Grove Insight.
When asked why "couples like you" might want to marry, 58% said to "publicly acknowledge their love and commitment to each other." When asked why gays and lesbians may want to marry, the respondents split between "love and commitment" and "rights and benefits."
People in the religious community have been advancing the "commitment" argument for some time. But if calling it new helps move the debate in the right direction, then I expect we will be happy to behave geniuses in Washington thought this up all by their lonesomes.
Meanwhile, the Providence Journal reports that Stephanie Chafee, first lady of Rhode Island, recently officiated at a civil union ceremony.