The Don of a New Era
President Obama isn't the only one who has "evolved." So has the U.S. Justice Department, whose radical transformation has resulted in more laws being attacked by the administration than defended. Nowhere is that more evident than America's marriage statute, which the President shrugged off back in February 2011 and unilaterally declared "unconstitutional." Next month, the President's team is hoping the U.S. Supreme Court backs them up in the highest profile marriage case in American history.
The President, who walked away from his constitutional duty to fight for the law, is finally putting his defiance on paper in an aggressive brief opposing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In it, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli tried to land as many punches as possible against the policy, which was so overwhelmingly popular that it could have passed in Congress if not a single Republican had voted! Desperate to establish a pattern of "discrimination" against homosexuals, Verrilli reaches all the way back to Colonial times to create a history of gay and lesbian victimization. Equally as ridiculous, he argues that the government's legitimate interests in protecting marriage--such as promoting marriage and child-rearing--no longer apply.
"It is abundantly clear," Donald Verrilli writes, "that this discrimination does not substantially advance an interest in protecting marriage, or any other important interest." That just goes to show how uninformed the White House's position is! Not only America--but society as a whole--benefits enormously from children being raised in families with a mom and a dad. As FRC's research points out, intact married families may be the single greatest deterrents against crime, child poverty, school dropout, mental illness, physical abuse, and even unemployment. In a country that spends $112 billion a year compensating for the breakdown of natural families, redefining marriage would have massive economic implications. Only an administration blinded by its extreme social agenda would fail to recognize that.
"The statute simply cannot be reconciled with the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection," Verrilli insists. "The Constitution therefore requires that Section 3 [of DOMA] be invalidated." Ironically, homosexuals already have equal protection. Just because the government has a vested interest in defining marriage as the union of a man and woman doesn't mean that gays or lesbians are denied rights.
"In all 50 states," Ryan Anderson explains on NRO, "two people of the same sex can choose to live together, choose to join a religious community that blesses their relationship, and choose a workplace offering them various joint benefits. Many liberal houses of worship and progressive businesses have voluntarily decided to do so. There's nothing illegal about this. There's no ban on it. What's at issue is whether the government will recognize such relationships as marriage--and then force every citizen and business to do so as well."
And where government has historically denied things like same-sex partner benefits for federal workers or military personnel, the Obama administration has just ignored the law and awarded them anyway. In the meantime, the House GOP is questioning whether the DOJ even has the standing to participate in the case. Until those details are sorted out, there are several ways you can participate. Join us over the next several weeks in prayer: for the Supreme Court justices and their clerks; for the House legal team (headed up by former Solicitor General Paul Clement); and the opposition. Then, make plans to stand with us on the steps of the Supreme Court on March 26 in a nationwide March for Marriage!
Bias against the Pious?
What's the point of establishing a club if its members don't share the same goals? The Virginia House and Senate are among the many leaders who don't want to find out. Late last week, members of the state legislature passed a bill protecting the rights of religious and political student organizations to establish their own membership criteria. The measure comes in response to controversies like Vanderbilt's, where school officials forced a Christian club to allow anyone--including atheists or people hostile to religion--to become part of the group's leadership. They called it an "all-comers" policy, but its effect has been to dilute the message of belief-based campus organizations--or worse, shut them down altogether.
Under Virginia's SB 1074, only individuals "who are committed to their missions [may] assist in selecting group leaders and members, and in defining the group's mission." As part of the law, colleges and universities would also be banned from discriminating against these religious or political groups. After victories in the state house (80-19) and senate (21-18), the bill now heads to Gov. Bob McDonnell's (R) desk, where we hope he makes Virginia the first state to end this kind of faith-based persecution.
An Unexpected Honor...
At my home church yesterday, we welcomed a special guest: Dr. Richard Land. As head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, he came to Baton Rouge to recognize FRC's work with a special honor. Although the "Distinguished Service Award" was in my name, it was really a tribute to the tireless efforts of the FRC staff, who sacrifice so much to, as the awards states, "champion life, defend liberty, and advocate for marriage." These have been a difficult six months since the August 15 shooting at FRC, but we have never wavered from our mission to stand for truth. I was proud to join Dr. Land on behalf of the FRC family and accept an award for doing what takes great courage in these tough times: "boldly proclaiming Judeo-Christian values." Thanks to the ERLC and you, our supporters, who ensure that in the fight for faith, family, and freedom, FRC is never standing alone.
** If you missed it, Sandy Rios and I traded spaces today for our daily radio shows. You can catch my early morning conversations with Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) here. Tomorrow, tune in to our regular 5:00 p.m. (ET) slot for "Washington Watch with Tony Perkins" with good friends Tim Wildmon and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.