True marriage defenseless?
By Ken Blackwell
The Obama administration is lending support to Congress in an effort to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. The president, instead, is backing something called the "Respect Marriage Act." The latter measure, quite simply, would abolish marriage. While calling for "respect" in the Orwellian sense, it would offer true marriage the same "respect" President Obama showed to the body of Osama bin Laden-a hasty burial at sea after summarily being put to death.
I don't object to the president's actions against a sworn enemy of our country, but I object most strenuously to his plan to finish off marriage. What the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) does is protect true marriage in federal law. This means that Social Security, the military, our diplomatic service, the Census, our federal work force, and myriad federal activities may consider as married only one man and one woman.
DOMA has also protected states from being forced to recognize the counterfeit marriages that have been legalized by a few liberal states. This is critical. Thirty-two states have voted to protect true marriage, which have included liberal and conservative states, swing states and moderate states. In these states, a new coalition has come together to defend marriage.
Starting in Hawaii, a true mosaic of races and cultures with a non-Christian majority, citizens voted to protect true marriage. What followed was an unbroken string of marriage victories. Only once, in Arizona, did confused voters fail to ratify new protections for marriage. But voters in that state quickly corrected their mistake in the next election cycle. In the coming year, Minnesota and North Carolina voters will get to vote on protecting marriage.
DOMA protects marriage. It also protects the integrity of the electoral process itself. The drive to abolish marriage is fundamentally anti-democratic. The people want true marriage; the elites want to do away with it.
How do we know this? In 2008, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., a panel discussion on marriage featured liberal law professor Jonathan Turley. He responded to critics' charges that allowing two men or two women to marry would lead to polygamy. Turley conceded the point that it would lead to polygamy: "And I am for that!" His audience was composed of journalists, law students, and Capitol Hill staffers. They applauded wildly the death of marriage.
That death will mean the impoverishment of more women and more children. We know that if a young couple will but finish high school, avoid bearing children out of wedlock, and marry, the chances they will live in poverty are only 4 percent. True marriage is the best anti-poverty program ever devised.
No one who is for the abolition of marriage can claim to be a friend of the poor. And it is not only poor women and children who will suffer, but also minorities and the marginal. We know this because they are the ones suffering now.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews and the elite media try to put down DOMA as a wedge issue. GE chairman Jeffrey Immelt, a self-proclaimed Big Business Republican, similarly disparages marriage as a wedge issue.
True marriage is no wedge; it is a bridge. And that bridge brings together blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and whites into a powerful majority coalition. That is why the elites hate and fear the marriage issue. That is why they will not allow voters in Massachusetts, Connecticut, or New York state to vote to protect true marriage.
What a tragedy it will be for the country, and especially for black Americans, if President Obama succeeds in abolishing marriage. His own marriage has been a model for the nation. He says his views on marriage are "evolving." We know what that means. Evolvers only go one way. He is readying the country for his change of stance.
I would appeal to the president to remember Tennessee in 1866. In that first year after the Civil War, thousand more marriages were recorded. Thousands of freedmen and freedwomen walked hundreds of miles to have their marriages legally sanctioned. Many of these former slaves were barefoot, but they wanted desperately to achieve what had been so long and so unjustly denied them: marriage as God had designed it. After slavery, after Jim Crow, the worst calamity ever to befall black Americans has been the loss of marriage in our culture.
President Obama! Remember Tennessee! Defend the Defense of Marriage Act!
Ken Blackwell is Senior Fellow, Family Empowerment at the Family Research Council.
This article appeared in WORLD Magazine on November 4, 2011.