Even successful same-sex marriage initiatives in Maryland, Maine and Washington were framed not only in terms of tolerance but as “the right thing to do” in terms of extending marriage benefits beyond heterosexual couples. Voters of all stripes seem to want governance from a place of moral conviction.

If there’s any loser in 2012, it might be the notion that one cannot or should not legislate morality. Moral codes are very much driving what’s afoot in red states, blue states and the nation’s capitol. The specifics and interpretations just happen to vary – sometimes quite a bit – from one setting to the next.

G. Jeffrey MacDonald is a journalist, ordained minister and author of Thieves in the Temple: The Christian Church and the Selling of the American Soul (Basic Books, 2010). Check out his work here.

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