Many of the same liberals who continue to complain about the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision overturning its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion, citing its 49 years of precedent, hypocritically had no similar qualms in 2015, when a bare majority of justices took it upon themselves to overturn 2,500 or more years of precedent in Obergefell v. Hodges.
That was the ruling that threw out the traditional definition of marriage, which until then was all but universally recognized as being between one man and one woman. By judicial fiat, the five legalized same-sex marriages nationwide.
Now, those same libertine liberals who celebrated the upending of two-and-a-half millennia of precedent on what constitutes marriage are in a phony, ginned-up panic that the meager seven years of the Obergefell precedent might in turn be tossed out by a court with three new conservative justices seated since then.
Enter the misnamed and misleading Respect for Marriage Act, which passed the House on July 19, on a vote of 267-157, with 47 weak-kneed Republicans voting for a bill that was rammed through by the House Democratic leadership without any hearings or public input. (Just as an aside, note that not a single House Democrat voted against it. So much for so-called Blue Dog “moderate” Democrats.)
Shame on those 47 Republican lawmakers who provided Democrats with bipartisan cover smoke for this legislative Trojan horse, clearly without reading it.
Rep. Jody Hice, Georgia Republican, one of the 157 who rightly voted against the bill, tweeted, “Today I voted NO on HR 8404, the ‘Respect for Marriage Act.’ It’s a slap in the face of our federalist system that is just the latest effort to impose [Democrats’] leftist agenda on the entire country.”
That’s why it’s imperative that Senate Republicans filibuster and defeat the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, which — contrary to the deliberately dishonest claims of its proponents — goes far beyond merely “codifying” Obergefell into federal law.
The Respect for Marriage Act would formally repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which recognized marriage as “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” The bipartisan DOMA law — which overwhelmingly passed the House 342-67 and the Senate 85-14, and was signed into law by a Democratic president, Bill Clinton — was effectively invalidated by Obergefell but remains on the books.
However, the current bill would go far beyond that, as the leaders of 83 national and state conservative groups warned in a July 26 open letter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.
“For example: HR 8404 would require federal recognition of any one state’s definition of marriage without any parameters whatsoever.”
“This would include plural marriages, time-bound marriages, open marriages, marriages involving a minor or relative, platonic marriages, or any other new marriage definition that a state chooses to adopt, including through undemocratic imposition by a state Supreme Court.”
“Such recognition impacts a myriad of federal laws and policies regarding marriage, its benefits, and rights of parents and children.”
And the bad stuff doesn’t stop there, the letter writers warned:
“HR 8404 effectively deputizes [left-wing] activist groups to sue religious individuals, organizations, and businesses that operate according to their sincerely held religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman and also act ‘under color of state law.’”
The latter would place in legal jeopardy faith-based foster care providers involved in child placement services and religious social service organizations and other private charities that receive government funding to serve their communities.
Disturbingly, there are indications that there could be 10 or more Senate Republicans — including, predictably, the usual RINOs — so ill-informed about what the Respect for Marriage Act would do that they might help push its companion bill, S. 4556, across the finish line.
If Senate Republicans would actually read the bill and understood what it portends, none of them would ever vote for it.