ACRU Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell wrote this column appearing November 3, 2010, on the World Magazine website.
Iowans yesterday joined voters in 31 other states who have affirmed marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Never before had Iowa voters removed a justice from their state Supreme Court. But by strong margins, three judges who sought to legislate from the bench were ousted. Or outed.
Americans believe in the civil right of marriage. Americans–whenever they are given the chance–vote to support true marriage. They were not given the chance in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, or Vermont–or, yet, in Washington, D.C.
Marriage wins in liberal states like Hawaii, California, and Oregon. Marriage wins in conservative states like Utah, Kansas, and Georgia. Marriage wins everywhere. When unelected judges conspire to invent new “rights,” marriage is in trouble.
Marriage is also in trouble with the Obama administration. President Obama has said he believes marriage is between one man and one woman. That’s fine as far as it goes. But, as we have seen, it doesn’t go very far.
The president opposed Proposition 8 in California. It passed. The president is on record supporting the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Congress overwhelmingly passed that law in 1996. It won 362 votes in the House and 85 votes in the Senate. President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, signed it into law. Few laws that have been passed in the last 20 years have had such strong bipartisan support.
Still, the Obama administration undermines DOMA on a daily basis. The president issues executive orders that give marriage benefits to same-sex couples, something DOMA was passed to prevent.
I call that process “termiting”: He doesn’t openly repeal the law, but his administration eats away at its foundations daily. They hope, no doubt, that some court somewhere will declare DOMA a dead letter.
Marriage is the civil rights issue of our time. Nothing else besides marriage so benefits the poor, women, children, minorities, and all those vulnerable people on the margins of society. Marriage brings stability to young peoples’ lives.
In defending marriage, we bash no one. But a lot of opponents of marriage are more than willing to bash us. They call us bigots. They tried to shout down the Judges Bus that went into Iowa to organize opposition to those unrepresentative Supremes.
In the end, the voters saw through it all. The “tolerance” lobby shows a marked intolerance for people who disagree with them.
Thank you, Iowans, for standing up for marriage. Thank you, too, for standing up for democracy.