The Supreme Court’s ruling today on the Defense of Marriage Act is a loss for big government, not for marriage. Let’s revisit.
The year was 1996 and I was a young college frosh, Democrat, and progressive activist. Democrats campaigned on DOMA. Clinton, the new Kennedy-of-sorts, was a fervent supporter, writing prior to the bill’s signing:
I have long opposed governmental recognition of same-gender marriages and this legislation is consistent with that position.
Other notable supporters include current Vice-President Joe Biden, Senators Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Harry Reid, and Patrick Leahy. (Here is the roll call.)
Democrats , led by Clinton, also supported Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
The Log Cabin Republican group led the fight against both DADT and DOMA.
I wrote this on government involving itself in marriage months ago:
I’ve never understood how anyone who spent the past four-plus years lamenting the size of government could then argue for its increase by inviting it into the discussion of marriage. We complain about government in health care, we complain about government in education, we complain about government regulating soft drink size, but suddenly some of us have no problem with more government in people’s relationships with one another. Marriage is a covenant between a man, woman, and God before God on His terms. It is a religious civil liberty, not a right granted by government. It should never have been regulated by government in the first place, and government shouldn’t have an expanded reach in further regulating it now. There is no allowance constitutionally that invites our government to define the religious covenant of marriage.
I’ve no issue with same sex couples entering into contractual agreements with each other or sharing benefits (the military decisions should be made by those with the credit of service day in and day out, not civilian advocacy groups). Isn’t that the goal of this conflict? If so, to me, that’s an issue separate from marriage. In suing over “marriage” itself one is demanding that God change His definition of the union between a man and a woman. If recognition of status, ease with other contractual obligations, and other issues are the issues, why the need to force people of faith to alter recognition of God’s Word on the matter? The people may bend as reeds to lawfare, but God will not. Frankly, I see no point in being on any side other than God’s on any matter, and God is more small government than any player in the scene.
In suing over marriage one is demanding that others modify their beliefs to accommodate another. Do not people of faith retain their First Amendment liberty of freedom of religion?
That’s what this will now become, a debate on civil liberties. If you don’t believe me, read on in the story where I list examples of how it’s already happening. You don’t see protests for those people of faith being discriminated against for their Christian beliefs.
Big government is a symptom of apathetic people. If big government is needed to define marriage then the people who make up the church, and I say this as one of them, have not done their best to God to live and evangelize their faith. Where we fail government intercedes.
I view today’s ruling as a narrow second chance. The government has, for now, refrained from issuing a blanket statement against the institution of marriage, reverting instead to state jurisdiction. The bottom line is that today’s ruling was once again a failure of Democrats’s big government. Democrats campaigned on DOMA, championed it, Clinton signed it. The party who filibustered the Civil Rights Act will say they “evolved,” which is code for “waffle.” If after today Democrats want to finally agree with conservatives that big government is bad, I’m sure we’d accept their admission of error.