Obama's Divided America, NOM Marriage News


NOM National Newsletter

Dear Marriage Supporter,

On Monday, President Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

An inauguration is always an historic occasion, a moment when the American people come together to celebrate the democracy we share.

It was on the day that we as a nation gather to celebrate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that President Obama decided to divide the country and to demean the views of millions of fellow Americans, by trying to make support for gay marriage part of the national creed:

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

"Our journey is not complete," Obama went on, "until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — [applause] — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."

Even many of his strongest supporters on the Mall (and I do understand why so many African-Americans in particular celebrate and support this president, even as they disagree with his views on marriage), admitted they disagree with the president:

Over at HuffPo, Irene Monroe — who describes herself as "a nationally renowned African-American lesbian activist, scholar and public theologian" — admitted many Black Americans found the President's rhetoric divisive: her piece is called "Obama Linking Selma to Stonewall Divides the Black Community."

Monroe writes that she personally "felt affirmed" and "applauded the president's courageous pronouncement."

"However," she continued, "some African Americans felt ‘dissed' by the president's speech. The linkage of their civil rights struggle with that of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Americans did nothing to quell their dislike of the comparison. For them, the fact that it was spoken by this president made it sting more."

This President has apparently concluded that gay marriage is the civil rights battle of our time and has prioritized it in spite of the views of many other members of his coalition.

Our Strongest Case Yet

This week, two brilliant lawyers filed briefs to the Supreme Court in the two marriage cases presently on the docket: Paul Clement filed for the House of Representatives on the constitutionality of DOMA, and Ted Olson's chief nemesis Chuck Cooper filed his brief in defense of the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8.

As you read the briefs and applaud, save a little applause for House majority leader John Boehner. He has his critics, but you have to give him credit for pursuing this case all the way to the Supreme Court in spite of media and RINO pressure to give up.

Even 60 Minutes legal analyst Andrew Cohen had to admit in the Atlantic, "At Supreme Court, Gay Marriage Foes Make Their Strongest Case Yet."

These brilliant legal minds make a particularly strong case against President Obama's divisive claim that support for our traditional understanding of marriage is like support for racism.

You can read both the DOMA brief and the Prop 8 brief at which we've re-launched to keep track of this most important legal fight. Check in frequently for important updates!

In Paul Clement's DOMA brief, the impressive case against President Obama's framing begins on page 49.

"Gays and Lesbians are far from politically powerless," the brief points out. (You and I, who are in the midst of these political battles, know that all too well.)

Indeed, the brief continues, "the decision of the President and Attorney General to stop defending and start attacking DOMA itself demonstrates the remarkable political clout of the same-sex marriage movement. As the Chief Judge of the Second Circuit remarked to the Department's representative at oral argument, ‘your presence here is like an argument against your argument.'"

"Characterizing such a group as politically powerless would be wholly inconsistent with this Court's admonition that a class should not be regarded as suspect when the group has some ability to attract the attention of the lawmakers," Clement argues.

Then, on page 56, Clement takes on the Selma analogy directly... and demolishes it. Yes, I would agree, people with same-sex attraction have suffered harms and exclusions. But the comparison between California today and Selma reveals either an impoverished moral imagination or an intellectual insincerity.

I particularly love how Clement uses their own witnesses against them:

Finally, each of the recognized suspect and quasi-suspect classes — racial minorities, aliens, women, and those born out of wedlock — have suffered discrimination for longer than history has been recorded. In contrast, as this Court noted in Lawrence, "there is no longstanding history in this country of laws directed at homosexual conduct as a distinct matter... Indeed, "the concept of the homosexual as a distinct category of person did not emerge until the late 19th century." Id. As Ms. Windsor's own expert, Dr. George Chauncey, has written, although "antigay discrimination is popularly thought to have ancient roots, in fact it is a unique and relatively short-lived product of the twentieth century."

But more importantly, "unlike racial minorities and women, homosexuals as a class have never been politically disenfranchised — the kind of pervasive official discrimination that most clearly supports suspect class treatment by the courts."

In sum, the traditional factors this Court has assessed in determining whether to recognize a new quasi-suspect or suspect class are absent when it comes to gays and lesbians. Perhaps most critically, gays and lesbians have substantial political power, and that power is growing. Victories at the ballot box that would have been unthinkable a decade ago have become routine. To be sure, those victories have not been uniform and have come first in "blue" states rather than "red" ones, but that is the nature of the political process. There is absolutely no reason to think that gays and lesbians are shut out of the political process to a degree that would justify judicial intervention on an issue as divisive and fast-moving as same-sex marriage. As Judge Straub observed, the definition of marriage is "an issue for the American people and their elected representatives to settle through the democratic process."

The Democratic process "require[s] participants on both sides to persuade those who disagree, rather than labeling them irrational or bigoted." By contrast, courts "can intervene in this robust debate only to cut it short" [emphasis added].

Equality... For Our Children

San Francisco Archbishop Cordileone, the "godfather of Prop 8" and head of the USCCB's Defense of Marriage subcommittee, issued this pointed and poignant statement in response to Pres. Obama's remarks:

"I honor the president's concern for the equal dignity of every human being, including those who experience same-sex attraction, who, like everyone else, must be protected against any and all violence and hatred," wrote Archbishop Cordileone in an email to the National Catholic Register.

(Yes, it's good to be reminded our fellow citizens who are gay still sometimes experience awful and unjust attacks that we must all unite to oppose).

But, as the Archbishop continued:

[T]he marriage debate is not about equality under the law, but, rather, the very meaning of marriage. Marriage is the only institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers... Protecting this understanding of marriage is not discrimination, nor is it some kind of pronouncement on how adults live out their intimate relationships; it is standing for the common good.

Then he went on to say something I don't hear very often: our love of equality should demand that we support marriage, which represents "the equal right of all children to grow up knowing and being loved by their mother and father."

Same-Sex Marriage Is Not A Civil Right

In an interview I gave to NBC News recently, I told them point blank: "Same-sex marriage is not a civil right. To try and compare in any way the attempt to redefine marriage with the Civil Rights movement is simply false. I think that the president's forgetting about the most important group affected by this and their civil rights, and that's children having the civil right to have both a mom and a dad."

The fight continues. Let us continue to stand together in defense of timeless truths, truths we know from both Nature and Nature's God. Justice for children is the great cause for which we strive.

As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday we celebrate said, "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."

Thank you for all that you have done for me, in particular and for this great cause. I'm so proud to stand together with you in this fight.

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