Political Hay

GOP Elites and the Abolition of Marriage

Republicans join push for gay Roe v. Wade.

By 2.28.13

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Well, this is helpful.

A clutch of Republican elites have run to the Supreme Court demanding the judiciary shut off debate on gay marriage.

The story has predictably been front page news at the New York Times and in the world of the liberal media, the Times leading with this:

More than two dozen Republicans — including a top adviser to Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, and a former congresswoman who made banning same-sex marriage her signature issue — have added their names to a legal brief urging the Supreme Court to declare that gay couples have a constitutional right to wed.

The brief comes as the White House is considering whether to weigh in on the same-sex marriage case; at this point, the Republicans who signed the document are taking a more expansive stance than President Obama, who favors same-sex marriage but has said he would leave it to the states, as opposed to making it a constitutional right.

The list of Republicans on the brief now tallies more 100, organizers say. It now includes Beth Myers, who ran Mr. Romney’s 2008 campaign and was a senior adviser to him in 2012, and Marilyn Musgrave, a retired Colorado congresswoman who was once rated the most conservative member of the House by the American Conservative Union.

Ms. Musgrave, who lost her bid for a fourth term in 2008, was an unsuccessful sponsor of a constitutional amendment to bar same-sex couples from marrying; she once warned that if gay couples were allowed to wed, “the next step is polygamy or group marriage.”

The brief, organized by Ken Mehlman, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee who is gay, will be filed on Thursday as a friend-of-the-court, or amicus, brief to a lawsuit that seeks to overturn Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative that bars same-sex marriage, and all similar bans.

Some of the signatories’ names are published here at the Blaze. The group -- including names such as Ted Olson (the Bush 43 Solicitor General), Meg Whitman (the last GOP nominee for Governor of California), Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York, ex-Bush-appointed RNC chairman (and 2004 Bush campaign manager) Ken Mehlman, Bush national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, Bush commerce secretary Carlos Guitierrez, Bush deputy attorney general James B. Comey and Reagan budget director David Stockman -- has decided to force gay marriage on the American people without their consent.

Effectively making of this case a gay Roe v. Wade.

They are asking the Court to force an elitist world view on a nation in which thirty states have chosen by state constitutional amendment, referendum or legislation -- this is called “consent of the governed” -- to support marriage between a man and a woman. 

Doing so in exactly the same fashion that the infamous Roe v. Wade abortion decision was designed to make abortion the law of the land without the consent of the governed. Thus launching 50 years of violence -- abortion providers have been variously murdered, targeted for murder, assaulted, kidnapped and stalked -- not to mention all those marches and angry protests. Let’s not forget the sheer vitriol directed at pro-lifers and, for that matter, the venomous tone of any debate on the topic.

Not to mention that this move to have the Court stop debate by overruling state legislative action on the issue is exactly the sentiment that was behind the infamous Dred Scott slavery decision. That would be Dred Scott v. Sandford, which the late Judge Robert Bork once described as “the worst constitutional decision of the nineteenth century” until, yes, Roe v. Wade. Dred Scott was designed to write slavery into the Constitution -- without the consent of the governed -- and thus helped launch the Civil War.

Gee. What a nice thing for Republicans to wish on the gay community. Decades of violence and vitriol.

But they’re so cool, yes? So with it. So sensitive.

Nuts.

What is it with this elitism business?

Why the contempt for the American people?

There are two questions that this issue surfaces, neither of them new. But the first is deeply politically incorrect, and the second is shamefully ignored.

So let’s get into both.

Issue One.
That would be the substance of the issue of gay marriage itself.

It is unbelievably dishonest, not to mention foolish, to paint opponents to gay marriage as bigots.

To use my own opposition as a case in point, like many I am blessed with beloved relatives and friends -- some of whom happen to be gay. I could not possibly care less about their sexual orientation. It is, in fact, none of my business. Certainly I understand the issues that swirl around things like health care, hospital visits and a parade of other issues. Bluntly put, it is insulting to say of those who stand up for marriage between a man and a woman that we are all just a bunch of hateful bigots. Are there people out there who hate gays? Of course. But so too are there those who hate heterosexuals, white males, women, blacks, Latinos, Catholics, Muslims, Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives and a whole host of others in various categories. One of the sidebars to the presidential campaign last year surfaced those -- like MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell -- who had no hesitation in expressing their contempt for Mormons.

Newsflash: There are haters in this world.

But this conversation should be between and about those of us who have genuine concern for the survival and vitality of American society as expressed through the stability and values transmitted in the age old institution of marriage between a man and a woman.

And in that regard -- attention you 100-plus Republicans who are asking the Court to shut the rest of us up -- these proponents of gay marriage do their cause an enormous disservice by ignoring the central issue that so many of us see as at the core of this debate.

Which is?

Which is that to accede to gay marriage is inevitably going to wind up ending the institution of marriage itself. Making marriage worthless, useless, and eventually a goner. A societal version of the Dodo bird. As in: extinct.

That extinction doing to the entire nation what the lack of a stable man-woman relationship has visited in horrifying fashion upon America’s black community.

Years ago (November of 1965) the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan (at the time a Labor Department official under LBJ and later a Harvard professor and longtime liberal Democrat Senator from New York) had the audacity to apply his considerable intelligence to a look at what happens when the stability of the male-female family vanishes.

Moynihan noted in what became known -- controversially in the day -- as “The Moynihan Report” that

The fundamental problem, in which this is most clearly the case, is that of family structure. The evidence — not final, but powerfully persuasive — is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling.

Moynihan added: “[T]the fabric of conventional social relationships has all but disintegrated.”

Which is to say specifically, Moynihan, who had done relentless research on the subject, concluded the stability provided by a male-female, married, two-parent household was vanishing from black America -- decidedly undermining the very underpinnings of black American communities. Suffice to say, while the report ignited a huge controversy, events since 1965 would prove Moynihan all too accurate.

As but one example, a couple year’s back, in 2010, liberal columnist Clarence Page (who works, take note for the Chicago Tribune in President Obama’s home town) himself an African-American, wrote up the Moynihan Report and quoted Brown University history professor emeritus James T. Patterson as saying of Moynihan’s 1965 prediction: 

"Sadly, its predictions about the decline of the black family have proven largely correct."

Page notes: “Today, black nonmarital births have soared to more than 72 percent among non-Hispanic blacks, compared with about 28 percent for whites.”

There is no accident that the all those gun deaths in Chicago are in the black community, where the dissolution of the black family has hit so hard.

This dissolution of family is precisely the concern of many of those who see gay marriage as the harbinger of a future in which the American “fabric of conventional social relationships” (to use Moynihan’s phrase) will, as with that of black America, disintegrate.

In 2003, Stanley Kurtz, now a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, researched and wrote an extensive article on gay marriage for the Weekly Standard titled “Beyond Gay Marriage: The road to polyamory.”

In which Kurtz wrote:

Among the likeliest effects of gay marriage is to take us down a slippery slope to legalized polygamy and "polyamory" (group marriage). Marriage will be transformed into a variety of relationship contracts, linking two, three, or more individuals (however weakly and temporarily) in every conceivable combination of male and female. A scare scenario? Hardly. The bottom of this slope is visible from where we stand. Advocacy of legalized polygamy is growing. A network of grass-roots organizations seeking legal recognition for group marriage already exists. The cause of legalized group marriage is championed by a powerful faction of family law specialists. Influential legal bodies in both the United States and Canada have presented radical programs of marital reform. Some of these quasi-governmental proposals go so far as to suggest the abolition of marriage.

Note the phrase well: The abolition of marriage.

This was in 2003.

Eight years later, in 2011, the New York Times published this op-ed from George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley. 

The title? “One Big, Happy Polygamous Family.”

In which Professor Turley discusses a case in which he is the attorney -- a case demanding for a polygamous Utah family the right to have that relationship. And what did Mr. Turley use to justify this law suit that effectively demands recognition of a polygamous relationship?

That’s right: gay marriage. Wrote Turley (and I have bolded for emphasis):

While widely disliked, if not despised, polygamy is just one form among the many types of plural relationships in our society. It is widely accepted that a person can have multiple partners and have children with such partners. But the minute that person expresses a spiritual commitment and “cohabits” with those partners, it is considered a crime.

One might expect the civil liberties community to defend those cases as a natural extension of its campaign for greater privacy and personal choice. But too many have either been silent or outright hostile to demands from polygamists for the same protections provided to other groups under Lawrence.

The reason might be strategic: some view the effort to decriminalize polygamy as a threat to the recognition of same-sex marriages or gay rights generally. After all, many who opposed the decriminalization of homosexual relations used polygamy as the culmination of a parade of horribles. In his dissent in Lawrence, Justice Antonin Scalia said the case would mean the legalization of “bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality and obscenity.”

Justice Scalia is right in one respect, though not intentionally. Homosexuals and polygamists do have a common interest: the right to be left alone as consenting adults. Otherwise he’s dead wrong. There is no spectrum of private consensual relations — there is just a right of privacy that protects all people so long as they do not harm others.

So there it is.

Now an actual court case -- this demand to legalize polygamy is undoubtedly only the beginning of a legal and cultural tidal wave. On the cultural front, between 2006-2011 HBO ran Big Love, injecting the idea of polygamy into the mass media culture with a fictional show starring actor Bill Paxon. Today, as we have noted before, there is a reality show called Sister Wives featuring real-life polygamist Kody Brown (who also stars in the Turley real-life court case) and his five wives. Take a look at this clip from the Ellen show, in which Mr. Brown and his wives arrive to greet celebratory fanfare on the Ellen set.

The drums are already beating, demanding the legalization and acceptance of not just polygamy but, as Turley correctly quotes Justice Scalia, relationships such as “bigamy… adult incest, prostitution… adultery.”

Scalia left out another relationship that Kurtz discussed in detail: polyamory.

Wrote Kurtz:

America's new, souped-up version of polygamy is called "polyamory." Polyamorists trace their descent from the anti-monogamy movements of the sixties and seventies--everything from hippie communes, to the support groups that grew up around Robert Rimmer's 1966 novel "The Harrad Experiment," to the cult of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Polyamorists proselytize for "responsible non-monogamy"--open, loving, and stable sexual relationships among more than two people. The modern polyamory movement took off in the mid-nineties--partly because of the growth of the Internet (with its confidentiality), but also in parallel to, and inspired by, the rising gay marriage movement.

Unlike classic polygamy, which features one man and several women, polyamory comprises a bewildering variety of sexual combinations. There are triads of one woman and two men; heterosexual group marriages; groups in which some or all members are bisexual; lesbian groups, and so forth. (For details, see Deborah Anapol's "Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits," one of the movement's authoritative guides, or Google the word polyamory.)

Taking a leaf from the gay marriage movement, (polyamorist advocate Joy) Singer suggested starting small. A campaign for hospital visitation rights for polyamorous spouses would be the way to begin. Full marriage and adoption rights would come later. Again using the gay marriage movement as a model, Singer called for careful selection of acceptable public spokesmen (i.e., people from longstanding poly families with children). Singer even published a speech by Iowa state legislator Ed Fallon on behalf of gay marriage, arguing that the goal would be to get a congressman to give exactly the same speech as Fallon, but substituting the word "poly" for "gay" throughout. Try telling polyamorists that the link between gay marriage and group marriage is a mirage.

Then there’s another push beginning.

All of America is now familiar with the horrifying saga of Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, now doing 45 years in prison for molesting underage boys. Which is to say committing pedophilia.

But over in England -- similarly engulfed in a pedophilia crisis involving a now deceased BBC entertainer -- the subject is now being discussed as to whether pedophilia, with men sexually preying on young boys as did Sandusky, is really is a crime at all. In this story from leftist UK paper the Guardian we are being told that:

But there is a growing conviction, notably in Canada, that paedophilia should probably be classified as a distinct sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality. Two eminent researchers testified to that effect to a Canadian parliamentary commission last year, and the Harvard Mental Health Letter of 2010 stated baldly that paedophilia "is a sexual orientation" and therefore "unlikely to change."

So in other words, the question now floats: is Jerry Sandusky wrongfully imprisoned? The ex-Penn State coach merely has a “distinct sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality.” Thus: what’s the big deal?

Back in 2006 we wrote a column in this space focusing on then House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s participation in a San Francisco gay pride parade in which the grand marshal was Harry Hay. Hay, now deceased, was a prime mover not just in the gay rights movement -- he was an enthusiast of NAMBLA -- the North American Man Boy Love Association. Among Hay’s famous wisdom’s was this gem:

…the relationship with an older man is precisely what thirteen-, fourteen-, and fifteen-year-old kids need more than anything else in the world.

Other than in this space -- and picked up by Sean Hannity -- there wasn’t a peep about Pelosi participating in a celebration of a man who was a hero in San Francisco -- for advocating precisely what has sent Jerry Sandusky to jail in Pennsylvania.

Thus the push, however subtle, from England and San Francisco to acclimate us all to the idea that pedophilia is not a crime at all but a “sexual orientation.”

Now.

Where are the views of all these 100 Republicans on all this? 

Silent as church mice.

And there’s a reason, which leads to Issue Two.

The Constitution and Federalism.
Let’s recall that the genesis of this court case all these Republicans are signing on to came about because California voters passed “Proposition 8.” Proposition 8 was a 2008 ballot initiative that made the definition of marriage between one man and one woman part of the state constitution. Take particular note that in 2008 -- the year President Obama was running for president for the first time and was being wildly well received -- Californians voted for Obama over John McCain by a margin of 60.94% to 36.91%. A landslide, with lots of liberals and African Americans turning out for Obama. Yet at the very same time, lo and behold, Proposition 8 passed -- the idea of amending the state constitution to ensure marriage was defined as between one man and one woman winning 52.24% of the vote to the pro-gay marriage vote of 47.76%. No landslide, to be sure. But at 4.48% larger than the 51.1% to 47.2% margin Obama scored nationally over Mitt Romney in 2012. And that Obama margin is being hailed as a convincing win and a mandate for all manner of Obama policies in his second term.

So the people of liberal California spoke -- and suddenly our Republican friends are running to the Supreme Court to overturn their decision.

Which poses the obvious question.

I was under the impression the GOP was the party that had a basic understanding of the Constitution of the United States. That it was the GOP that was the strong supporter of federalism and saw the states as, in that old phrase, laboratories of democracy.

Suddenly, not so.

The obvious question: why are these Republicans so terrified of making the case for gay marriage in their own states? What is it about gay marriage that these GOP elites feel cannot pass muster in an adult conversation with the American people?

It is more than odd that the American people in the course of their history have, through their elected representatives, voted favorably for the Constitution itself not mention for every one of the amendments that are now part of that Constitution. Americans have chosen voluntarily to end slavery (the 13th Amendment), give ex-slaves and all blacks due process, among other things (the 14th Amendment), give blacks the right to vote (the 15th Amendment), create the income tax (the 16th Amendment), elect U.S. Senators by popular vote (the 17th Amendment), and give women the right to vote (the 19th Amendment). Not to mention they have shown an ability to change their mind, voting to ban alcohol (the 18th Amendment) -- and then lift the prohibition (the 21st Amendment).

So?

So Americans can decide for themselves on all these highly controversial subjects (and they have rejected a whole host of amendments as well) -- but suddenly Republicans -- Republicans!!! -- now are saying the American people can’t be trusted to make a decision on gay marriage?

The gay marriage movement is called by its supporters a “civil rights issue.”

Fair enough. While there are many who disagree, let’s run with that here.

The fact of the matter is that civil rights for African Americans came about by trusting the American people to pass all those civil rights amendments to the Constitution. By trusting their elected representatives to pass all of those post-Civil War civil rights laws -- laws that were effectively undone by, yes, the Supreme Court of the United States (can you say Plessy v. Ferguson?). Those rights, by the way, were correctly restored by the Court in the role it should play (Brown v. Board of Education).

The civil rights laws of the 1960s worked precisely because Americans voted for them through their representatives in the House and Senate -- with Republicans playing a leading role.

You would think that the contrast between the success of those civil rights laws -- and the abject failure of Roe v. Wade would tell these Republicans that the worst thing you can possibly do if you really support the rights of gays is to have the Supreme Court make this decision.

Sadly, what’s really going on here is that this list of Republicans on this brief, some of whom I know and certainly have high regard for as former colleagues -- have suddenly decided they can’t trust the American people.

Indeed, one of the Republican signers of this brief is former Utah governor Jon Huntsman. Who makes his case for signing over at the American Conservative. Read closely and you will see the problem. Huntsman says he tried to persuade the people of Utah to support civil unions -- but that “70 percent of Utahns were opposed.”

So Huntsman is joining Mehlman and this GOP crew and running to the Supreme Court of the United States to join in yet another left-wing bid to have a handful of un-elected judges make this decision for the rest of us. Do Utahans oppose gay marriage? Tough cookies is Huntsman’s response. He will no longer try to persuade -- he will get the Court to do his bidding.

Just as that same Court made that decision on abortion. And yes -- slavery.

One would think that these Republicans would know that the absolute best way to win over the mind of the American people on a controversial issue is to go them directly and make the case. To have enough respect for their intelligence and sense of fairness. And if they fail -- not to give up. To engage in what Abraham Lincoln called: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

It is fair to say that there are serious Republicans and conservatives out there who have zero problem with gays. Who, like myself, have their share of wonderful family members and friends who happen to be gay.

But who nonetheless are very concerned that in this rush to political correctness, not to mention appealing for votes, the GOP elites who have signed this brief are oblivious to the idea that they are seen as signing not a Supreme Court brief -- but a death warrant.

A death warrant that down the road means one thing, and one thing only. One thing that will, to say the least, hardly be celebrated at campaign time:

The effective abolition of marriage in America.

Photo: UPI

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.