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Senate Lawmakers Launch Attack on Marriage

Posted By Thomas Messner On November 14, 2011 @ 12:30 pm In Featured | Comments Disabled

Last Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted on legislation [1] that would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). All 10 Democrats on the committee voted against DOMA [2].

DOMA was passed by wide congressional majorities and signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. DOMA defines marriage as one man and one woman in federal law and clarifies that no state is required to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state.

Activists seeking to undermine marriage at the federal level must know that evidence shows significant political support for marriage at the state level. In addition to numerous statutes, marriage has also been protected by constitutional provisions in nearly 30 states [3].

These profoundly democratic measures reflect the strong public interest [4] in policies that make it more likely that children will be part of an intact family that includes the influence of a mother and a father.

Even in these modern times, children still spring from the unique union of a man and woman. And especially in these modern times, the social, legal, and other bonds of marriage are more necessary than ever to help bind men and women together through the long duration of parenting their offspring.

The private reasons people marry might vary, but the public interest in marriage remains connected to these basic realities of human life and civil society.

Until very recently, of course, the understanding that marriage involved individuals of both sexes was a near universal norm [5]. Even today, despite well-funded and unceasing attacks from the usual quarters of the liberal elite, a strong majority of Americans continue to support marriage as one man and one woman [6]. This sustained support for marriage reflects the institution’s deep connection to the universal and timeless nature of men and women and puts the lie to the incessant trope about the “inevitability” of same-sex marriage [7].

However, despite continued and widespread support for marriage—or perhaps because of it—the debate about marriage has taken a disturbing twist. Many arguments for same-sex marriage are based on the idea [8] that support for marriage as one man and one woman is irrational, unjust, and bigoted and should be ruled out of bounds for civil society, just like racism. This unsettling ideology has already resulted in significant burdens [8] for many people [9] and groups [10] who support marriage as one man and one woman and provides another reason [11] to uphold the traditional understanding.

As the marriage debate continues to evolve, and as proponents of homosexual marriage continue to force Americans to confront this issue, perhaps more and more people will come to realize that support for marriage as one man and one woman does not equal animosity [12] against friends, family, and coworkers who experience same-sex attraction. Rather, support for marriage reflects a morally just and constitutionally valid social judgment that the unique union of a husband and wife should be accorded a unique status in culture and law and that doing so benefits children and the good of all society.

The lawmakers who voted against marriage in committee last week got it wrong. The majority of Americans who support marriage as one man and one woman—and the growing number of Americans who are willing to take a stand for marriage [9] despite often virulent opposition—should stay the course and continue to make a history where marriage is honored and protected as a vital social institution.


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

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2011/11/14/senate-lawmakers-launch-attack-on-marriage/

URLs in this post:

[1] voted on legislation: http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2011/11/10/senate-panel-approves-doma-repeal-bill/

[2] voted against DOMA: http://www.nomblog.com/15643/

[3] by constitutional provisions in nearly 30 states: http://www.nationformarriage.org/atf/cf/%7B39D8B5C1-F9FE-48C0-ABE6-1029BA77854C%7D/Amendments.pdf

[4] strong public interest: http://blog.heritage.org../../../../../2011/11/02/yet-another-attack-on-marriage/

[5] near universal norm: http://oldsite.alliancedefensefund.org/userdocs/SchwarzeneggerAppellateOpeningBrief.pdf

[6] a strong majority of Americans continue to support marriage as one man and one woman: http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/4914?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

[7] puts the lie to the incessant trope about the “inevitability” of same-sex marriage: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/271121/freedom-bargaining-chip-interview?pg=2

[8] are based on the idea: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2009/10/The-Price-of-Prop-8

[9] many people: http://marriageada.org/

[10] groups: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/04/from-culture-wars-to-conscience-wars-emerging-threats-to-conscience

[11] another reason: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2008/10/Same-Sex-Marriage-and-the-Threat-to-Religious-Liberty

[12] does not equal animosity: http://oldsite.alliancedefensefund.org/userdocs/PerryAmicusGeorge.pdf

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