Family Research Council

Will Democrats End Marriage As We Know It?

By Ken Blackwell


Ken Blackwell is Senior Fellow, Family Empowerment at Family Research Council. This article appeared on Townhall.com, August 1, 2012.


When the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed in Congress in 1996, the vote was bi-partisan and overwhelming. In the House, the tally was 342-67. Only the farthest left of Democrats and a handful of Republicans voted against it. A majority of Democrats supported marriage. In the Senate, the vote was even more lopsided and bi-partisan, 85-14. Again, most Democrats backed marriage. In both houses of Congress, the DOMA passed with such strong margins that President Clinton could clearly see the measure had better than "veto strength." That is, if he had vetoed the Defense of Marriage Act, Congress could have passed it over his veto. That would have required 67 votes in the Senate and 292 votes in the House. Bowing to the inevitable, Clinton signed the bill.

Now, President Obama has refused "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed" if he disagrees with them.

He announced early in his administration that he would not enforce the Defense of Marriage Act. He has done everything he can in the last three and a half years to dismantle the law. It is a process not unlike termites eating away at the foundations of a house. Until just a few weeks ago, he apparently hoped that the law would collapse as he systematically undermined its foundations. It didn't. So President Obama, prompted no doubt by Vice President Biden's blurted out support for counterfeiting marriage, has "evolved."

Even the most committed advocates of evolutionary biology would deny that you can see evolution proceeding in just sixteen years. Nonetheless, Mr. Obama's position on marriage has changed. Or, more accurately, we might say his true position has come out. In 2008, he told Pastor Rick Warren that he believed "marriage is between a man and a woman. And God is in the mix." Which one moved?

Democrats have announced they will put same sex marriage in their platform when they meet in convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. This, in a state that voted last May to sustain true marriage. North Carolina voters joined 31 other states in backing true marriage. The vote was a stunning 61%-39%. That was up from the last reputable public opinion poll which had showed 55% supporting marriage to 39% opposed.

North Carolina's marriage referendum was part of a nationwide pattern. True marriage typically does better at the ballot box than in public opinion surveys. Ohio, Wisconsin, and Florida are battleground states this year. In Ohio in 2004, 62% of voters backed true marriage. That helped to carry the Buckeye State and the election for George W. Bush. In Wisconsin in 2006, 59% of voters backed marriage. Every county in the Badger State except ultra-liberal Dane County (Madison) voted for marriage. And that was in the same year when Nancy Pelosi's liberal cohorts swept into office. Florida saw marriage voters break the 60% threshold to lock marriage into the state constitution.

If the Democrats' platform embraces this radical proposal, they will be voting to end marriage, not change it.

If you say a man may marry a man, and a woman may marry a woman, then on what principled basis can you say three men may not marry? George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley advocated polygamy at the Newseum in 2008--and was wildly cheered by the mostly liberal audience. As a professor of constitutional law, Turley knows that same-sex couplings will lead to polygamy--

"and I'm for that," he says.

In every statewide referendum on this issue, black and Hispanic voters provided an indispensable source of support for true marriage. These voters reject the idea that same sex marriage is a civil rights issue. The mantle of civil rights must not be seized by those who would deny Americans their civil right of marriage. In order for this to remain a civil right, there must be true marriage left in society.

Mae West once said: "Marriage is a great institution, but I'm just not ready for an institution." It's too bad Mae West is not sitting on the Democratic Platform Committee.

She had a keener understanding of true marriage than many of today's evolved politicians.

Meet The Author
Ken Blackwell Senior Fellow, Family Empowerment

Ken Blackwell is the Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment at the Family Research Council. He serves on the board of directors of the Club for Growth and the National Taxpayers (Full Bio)

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