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Time for a Real Defense of DOMA

Posted By Chuck Donovan On February 23, 2011 @ 5:43 pm In Culture | Comments Disabled

Justice for John Yoo and Jay Bybee [1]

President Obama and his Justice Department have decided to leave [2] the legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act to others—and, as embarrassing as this decision in the midst of intense litigation may be to the Administration – it is probably a good thing for the institution. This is no time leave marriage to the mercy of the kind of half-hearted defense Eric Holder’s Justice Department was offering it.

Marriage is the cornerstone in an archway of values that form the constitution [3] of the family and the foundation of civil society. To its advocates as an institution with a pre-political meaning, it is not an entity created by the state but rather one recognized by the state. It is not about one family, but the coming together of two families, whose role in begetting and bearing children make them not merely part of a community but the creators of community. The community they create is not time-bound, but existing across generations. For the sake of its history and its future, authors write books about roots [4] and Web sites offer tools to research genealogies [5].

Of all the reasons why the Obama Administration’s haphazard approach to DOMA is bad, none is more distressing than the belief, asserted breezily in Attorney General Holder’s statement [6] today, that the argument for marriage as a path to “procreational responsibility” can be “disavowed” and ignored by the courts. The implications of such a statement for public policy are staggering. More than a package of government benefits is at stake. More than a line item on passport applications [7] is at issue. What is at stake is the whole task of society to ensure that as many children as possible are raised [8] by their mothers and fathers.

The consequences of failure are staggering, and the contemporary United States, like so many other Western nations, is seeing those consequences [9] firsthand. The effects of broken families are statistically significant across category after category – youth crime [10], child poverty, [11] educational attainment [12], and adult mental health [13] in the next generation. For taxpayers, the costs of family dissolution and, increasingly, the failure of families to form are distressingly high [14] and growing. It would be irrational not to privilege marriage for the sake of these concerns.

The case for DOMA rests on multiple grounds, including legal precedent [15] that the Obama Administration has studiously ignored in its run-up to today’s announcement. President Obama has indicated time and again that his Administration wants to repea [16]l the Defense of Marriage Act. Fair enough. The 1996 congressional debate on the measure was thorough and decisive. The same should hold true for the cases and controversies now before the federal courts in New York and New England. Now that President Obama has shown his hand and bowed out of the fight, a real defense [17] of DOMA can begin. The American people deserve no less.

Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/02/23/time-for-a-real-defense-of-doma/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.foundry.org/wp-content/uploads/gavel-scalesjustice-100301.jpg

[2] leave: http://blog.heritage.org../2011/02/23/obama-drops-pretense-administration-will-not-defend-doma/#more-53126

[3] constitution: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/01/Marriage-Parentage-and-the-Constitution-of-the-Family

[4] roots: http://www.rootsthebook.com/

[5] genealogies: http://www.genealogy.com/index_n.html

[6] statement: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/February/11-ag-223.html

[7] passport applications: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/11/AR2011011107500.html

[8] raised: http://www.childtrends.org/files/marriagerb602.pdf

[9] consequences: http://www.familyfacts.org/

[10] youth crime: http://www.familyfacts.org/briefs/26/marriage-and-family-as-deterrents-from-delinquency-violence-and-crime

[11] child poverty,: http://www.familyfacts.org/charts/325/single-mother-families-make-up-half-of-all-households-in-poverty

[12] educational attainment: http://www.ccv.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Family_Structure_School_Performance.pdf

[13] adult mental health: http://www.americanvalues.org/pdfs/researchbrief4.pdf

[14] high: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/06/Married-Fathers-Weapon-No-1-Against-Child-Poverty

[15] precedent: http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202470861873&slreturn=1&hbxlogin=1

[16] repea: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/17/AR2009081702722.html

[17] defense: http://www.foundry.org/2011/02/15/memo-to-the-white-house-dont-stop-start-defending-doma/

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