FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Time to Defend Marriage and Federalism
With full control of the House but not the Senate or the White House, Republicans lack the ability to enact positive legislation; yet they have the power to stop bad bills. Unfortunately, GOP leaders have made it clear they are willing to pass much of the Obama/Reid agenda because they don’t want confrontation with Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. For conservatives, that pretty much leaves us with the strategy of attempting to pass good bills out of the House just for messaging purposes.
With unelected federal judges and administration bureaucrats forcing gay “marriage” on sovereign states across the country, now would be a good time to show that we stand for federalism, religious liberty, and yes – even the social conservative platform to which so many members pay lip service during primaries. Abandoning the fight on this issue now could bring the death knell of concession because liberals have the infrastructure in place and are fighting harder than ever.
First the social liberals pushed their agenda in blue states through the court system. Then, with the help of Justice Anthony Kennedy, they forced the federal government to recognize gay “marriage” at first for exclusively federal purposes, such as for immigration status. Now, federal judges are forcing gay marriage on the states where the people and the legislatures voted decisively against it. To make matters worse, Eric Holder is now using the federal government to promote his agenda in those states.
As we all know, the radical homosexual agenda will not stop with forcing states to recognize just the marital status. They will not be happy to merely accept their piece of paper and “live and let live.” They are seeking to force private citizens and individuals to cater to their beliefs. And based on recent court decisions like the New Mexico Supreme Court’s edict, forcing a private citizen to perform her services at a homosexual marriage, we have a fight for religious liberty on our hands.
We are down to the last remaining straws in the fight for marriage. If Republican leaders can’t stand boldly for marriage, states’ powers, and religious liberty at a time when the other side is achieving one victory after another (without any resistance from Republicans), they should publicly admit that they are completely jettisoning social conservatism from the party’s platform.
Ironically, you don’t even have to be a social conservative to understand that there is no federal constitutional right to a gay marriage, which would thereby force states and private citizens to recognize one.
There is no better time for House Republicans to bring legislation to the floor affirming their support for states and religious liberty in the face of an officious onslaught by the anti-religious left. The State Marriage Defense Act (HR 3829), sponsored by Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), is an example of a bill that affirms states’ rights, on both sides of the issue, and doesn’t allow one unelected judge to legislate federal law across a myriad of states. The bill would require the federal government to recognize the definition of marriage within a state as that state determines it. This law is consistent even with Kennedy’s egregious decision on DOMA, and creates equitable federalist treatment of marriage. Senators Cruz and Lee have recently introduced a similar bill in the Senate, S. 2024.
Another bill is Rep. Raul Labrador’s (R-ID) Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, HR 3133. This bill would protect individuals and organizations from the federal government’s encroachment on their private contracts in an effort to force them to violate their religious beliefs. The companion bill in the Senate is being sponsored by Senator Lee – S. 1808.
It’s not enough to merely co-sponsor these bills. The House should vote on them, and Senate Republicans should force amendment votes tacked onto other bills in an effort to expose Democrats for their anti-religion and personal freedom agenda.
While there is no chance of passing these bills out of the Senate and having the president sign them, they allow conservatives to talk about the issues on our terms. They force leadership to talk about and prove they are protecting states’ powers and religious liberty in an election year. Messaging this sort of legislation is precisely how you win back the majority. It is something to be embraced in an election year, not avoided, especially if they are going to continue pretending to support social conservatism and religious liberty.
Looking back at this brutal winter, it’s important to remember another debate that seemed lost just a few years ago. Towards the end of President Bush’s presidency, most Republicans started buying into global warming and green energy socialism. The media joked about Senator Jim Inhofe being the last man standing against climate fascism. Then, buttressed by Climategate, we fought back against the farce and showed how their agenda was built upon a false premise. Now you can’t find a Republican who is willing to promote global warming, and even many Democrats have shied away from the issue.
We might not have the votes to enact marriage protection right now, but we still have a voice. We should use it.