Family Research Council

Americans Still See Marriage as Between a Man and Woman

By Peter Sprigg

Peter Sprigg is Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at Family Research Council. This article appeared in U.S. News and World Report on August 3, 2012.

A committee involved in drafting the Democratic Party platform has reportedly approved a plank that will openly call for the nationwide redefinition of marriage to include homosexual unions. President Barack Obama's open embrace of marriage redefinition in May probably swept away the last obstacle to such a move among the national elites of his party.

While such a move now qualifies as "politically correct," it is not politically smart. Perhaps the most striking part of the reports was that there was apparently "no controversy" in the committee about whether to include the plank. This seems to reflect the claim by advocates of same-sex "marriage" that "there is no [legitimate] debate" on the issue. Such willful blindness to the realities on the ground could cost the party in November.

While some polls purport to show that a slim majority of Americans would now accept same-sex marriage, they are belied by the fact that in 32 out of the 32 states where the issue has appeared on the ballot, voters have upheld marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Indeed, a poll last year framing the issue that way-as one about the definition of marriage, not about "gay rights," showed a strong majority of Americans oppose redefinition of our most fundamental social institution.

It may be true that a majority of Democrats now supports same-sex marriage, but it is by no means a consensus position even there. Many Democratic office-holders and candidates are running in swing states or relatively conservative districts where it will be an albatross around their necks to be identified with "the gay marriage party." Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Claire McCaskill of Missouri, as well as former Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia, have just seen their chances of victory tumble. All are states with amendments to their state constitutions defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The proposed plank directly attacks such amendments (and thus, the voters who adopted them).

The unprecedented outpouring of support this week for Chick-fil-A, the fast-food chain whose CEO Dan Cathy had made statements in support of "traditional marriage," sent a message to businesses that they need not fear the hysterical attacks of homosexual activists. Democratic candidates, however, should fear similar long lines of marriage supporters on Election Day.