Rubio's Building Blocs for Marriage
A real leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, is not a searcher for consensus--but a molder of consensus. "Many people fear nothing more terribly," he insisted, "than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion."
Fortunately for conservatives, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is not that person. Other Republicans try so hard to be popular that they forget to be principled. But the real leaders of the GOP are proving you can be both. While some conservatives crouch down and hope their social positions won't be noticed, Sen. Rubio took the podium on one of the largest stages in Americaand proudly defended the values of his party -- and the values of the majority of Americans. "Just because I believe states should have the right to define marriage in the traditional way does not make me a bigot," Rubio told a cheering crowd. "The people who are actually closed-minded in our society are the ones who love to preach about climate science and refuse to believe the science that life begins at conception."
Twenty years ago, reiterating what the Republican Party stands for wouldn't have been newsworthy. But unfortunately, our movement has entered an age when silence does more to define conservatives than sentiment. Most Republicans want to preserve marriage but they're too embarrassed to explain why. And if they won't defend it, how can we expect our young people to? If Americans want to know why the next generation is turning on our values, it's because adults aren't leading on them -- and in many cases, not living by them. The same ones who say same-sex "marriage" is inevitable are inevitably letting the other side do the talking. Instead of cultivating, they're capitulating. "We are told that the social issues divide Americans and that we should stop talking about them," said Sen. Jim DeMint. "We cannot."
Nature, science tells us, abhors a vacuum. And in the absence of strong conviction, other voices, decoupled of truth, are filling the void. If Republicans want to win back the next generation on marriage, they have to realize that cowardice isn't contagious. Courage -- like Senator Rubio's -- is. "When a brave man takes a stand," Billy Graham believed, "the spines of others are often stiffened." It's time for the GOP to stiffen its spine and find its voice. What do they have to lose -- except an entire generation that they're already losing on core issues?
If Republicans need another profile in boldness, they can look to Congressman Louie Gohmert. The Texas Republican is a rock when it comes to standing up for tough issues. "I don't know where they're going," he said of the GOP members trying to dismantle marriage with a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court. "The great thing about this country is, I have no problem with 100 people telling the Supreme Court that this is what they believe," the former judge told reporters at CPAC. "But when you look historically, you see the nuclear family home... you see society break down, and you see a society, a civilization in decline, all under the name of advancement -- but it's normally on the road to the dust bin of history." It's hard, he explained, "to argue biologically that is what nature intended or we would not have had a second generation on this earth."
I completely understand that for some families, the issue of homosexuality is deeply personal. We saw this yesterday when Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced his support for redefining marriage. His son struggles with same-sex attractions, and he felt he could no longer take a position against same-sex "marriage." Obviously, as parents, we love our children unconditionally. But unconditional love does not mean unconditional support for legislation that is both harmful to them and harmful to society. A personal experience, however painful, does not suddenly invalidate the original purpose or meaning of marriage. As a Senator, Rob Portman has an obligation to his constituents to pursue public policy rooted in the well-being of all children. Other Republican leaders share similar family struggles but still maintain that natural marriage is the best government policy. (See Peter Sprigg's column from last November, "How Can I Oppose Same-sex 'Marriage' When Someone I Love Is Gay?") While Sen. Portman has changed his mind on how marriage should be defined, he continues to believe that "change should come about through the democratic process in the states. Judicial intervention fromWashington would circumvent that process... and risk deepening divisions rather than resolving them."
For more reaction to Sen. Portman's announcement, tune in to FRC's Ken Blackwell, former Ohio Secretary of State, on CNN's "Erin Burnett Out Front" tonight 7:00 p.m.(ET). Then, make plans to stand up with thousands of courageous conservatives on the National Mall at the March for Marriage in D.C. For details on the March 26 event, click over to MarriageMarch.org.
Dakota Fanning the Pro-Life Flames
It looks like the multiple trips to frostyBismarckare starting to pay off forFRC's Dr. David Prentice and Anna Higgins. After hearing testimony from bothFRCexperts, the North Dakota Senate passed two of the six measuresFRCsupported -- including the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (or PRENDA) and the "Heartbeat" bill, which bans abortions after doctors can detect the baby's pulse. The margins of victory for both proposals, 27-15 and 26-17, were especially encouraging. Both bills now head to the Governor's desk, where it is expected he will sign them into law. Congratulations to Anna and Dr. Prentice -- and all the lawmakers, state leaders and activists who made today's milestones possible!
** If you didn't catch yesterday's "Washington Watch" with Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), I encourage you to check out the transcript on our blog. In Congressman Salmon's words, it's time for conservatives to change the way things are done in Washington, D.C. "We've got to show the American people that we've got heart, we've got backbone, and that we stand for what we believe in." Read the transcript here, and I guarantee you'll find plenty of reasons to be optimistic about this crop of House conservatives!