Family Research Council


Speak Now or Forever Forfeit Marriage

The Supreme Court may be running away from the marriage issue, but conservatives certainly aren't. In the hours after yesterday's non-decision decision, GOP leaders from governor's mansions to senate seats filled the silence left by the SCOTUS's justices with an indignation of their own.

Most were incensed that the high court turned down -- not one, but five -- state marriage cases, leaving voters to fend for themselves against out-of-control judges who seem quite content substituting their own view for that of the law and those elected to make it. "Because of the Court's (actions) today," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) fumed, "11 States will likely now be forced to legalize same-sex marriage: Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming. And this action paves the way for laws prohibiting same-sex marriage to be overturned in any state. This is judicial activism at its worst."

It was a grave betrayal -- not just to the 41,020,548 Americans who've passed marriage referendums -- but to the democratic process, which apparently now hinges on a handful of black-robed extremists. For state leaders like Gov. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.), the idea that her state's legally-enacted laws could be wadded up on the whim of unelected judges and trashed is astonishing. "Today's decision has been cast by the media as a victory for gay rights," she told reporters. "What has been ignored, however, is the right of Oklahomans and Americans in every state, to write their own laws and govern themselves as they see fit. Those rights have once again been trampled by an arrogant, out-of-control federal government that wants to substitute Oklahoma values with Washington, D.C. values."

Next door, in Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) was ready to push back against the judicial arrogance erasing American laws. "I swore an oath to support the Constitution of the State of Kansas," Brownback said. "An overwhelming majority of Kansas voters amended the Constitution to include a definition of marriage as one man and one woman. Activist judges should not overrule the people of Kansas." In Utah, where yesterday's announcement threatens to start a statewide firestorm, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) shook his head in disbelief at the high court's failure to act.

"Nothing in the Constitution forbids a state from retaining the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Whether to change that definition is a decision best left to the people of each state -- not to unelected, politically unaccountable judges. The Supreme Court owes it to the people of those states, whose democratic choices are being invalidated, to review the question soon and reaffirm that states do have that right."

Others, in states where leaders are desperately trying to protect the rule of law, the outrage is turning into a new resolve to act. "The Supreme Court should step in and stand up for the right of Americans to make their own marriage policies," said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), whose Buckeyes are fending off a few of the 92 court cases threatening the people's voice on marriage. Fortunately for conservatives, this isn't a state issue but a party one. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus left little doubt where Republicans stand heading into the midterm elections.

"We've been pretty consistent and clear. We believe marriage should be between one man and one woman. I'm not running from that position." Nor, based on the latest polls, should he. As more Americans learn that this is about liberty -- not love -- the honeymoon is over for some voters on same-sex "marriage."

Support for the idea is actually dropping, a new survey shows, from 54% to 49% just in the last few months. More people share Sen. Cruz's beliefs, which are that "traditional marriage is an institution whose integrity and vitality are critical to the health of any society. We should remain faithful to our moral heritage and never hesitate to defend it." He certainly intends to -- not only with his State Marriage Defense Act, but by leading the effort to take the matter out of the courts' hands and put it back into the people's, where it belongs.

In California, No Assurance about Insurance

While liberals are busy pretending taxpayer-funded abortion doesn't exist in ObamaCare, one state is quite proud to admit it: California. The country's biggest state is taking the biggest step in foisting abortion costs on locals under a new policy that orders health insurance companies to cover it -- regardless of their objections or their policyholders'. "Abortion is a basic health care service," argued department director Michelle Rouillard, kicking off what will almost certainly be a fresh round of lawsuits on an issue that most people realize won't go away until ObamaCare does.

At least two of our allies, Alliance Defending Freedom and Life Legal Defense Foundation, are going to bat for Californians' conscience rights. Regardless of how locals feel about abortion, they shouldn't be forced to become unwilling shareholders in the dark world of the abortion industry.

For our allies in religious organizations, churches, and universities, this is the next chapter in the fight against the President's mandate, which turned the page after the Supreme Court's vindication of family businesses like Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties. Already, the local California Catholic Conference is speaking out about what they see as a "coercive and discriminatory action by the state of California," which they believe directly targets institutions with deep pro-life convictions.

As if strong-arming taxpayers wasn't enough, California is also leading the way in unsafe responses to the "shortage" of abortionists. In jaw-dropping news, the University of California in San Francisco is offering the first-ever online course on abortion. Of course, this comes on the heels of an already lax system that last year allowed nurses to perform abortions, despite the risks.

Contrast this with Texas, whose new laws put women's health first -- tightening safety nets and demanding higher standards and admitting privileges for the doctors serving them. Yet it's Texas's policies that are mired in court, the casualties of a vicious onslaught from the party that claims to support women most. Last Thursday, the Fifth Circuit of Appeals sided with the Lone Star State, giving Texas the green light to move forward with key parts of the law -- enacting common sense health standards and sparing countless lives in the process.

FRC in the Land of Os...

Can Christian faith change lives and cultures -- or is that just a cliché? Is the Christian church finished and the Christian faith headed for the great museum of history as its enemies now claim? In his new book, Os Guinness says no, but insists that we must explore just how it was that the Christian faith has been such a culture-transforming power in Western history, and can be again.

Don't miss a special discussion with the famous author tomorrow, October 8, at FRC headquarters (801 G Street, NW, Washington, D.C.) at noon. Os has written or edited more than thirty books, including The American Hour, The Call, Invitation to the Classics, Long Journey Home, Unspeakable, A Free People's Suicide and The Global Public Square. His latest book Renaissance was published by InterVarsity Press in August 2014. To register for the lecture, either in person or by live stream, click here.


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Previous Washington Update Articles »