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FIRST-PERSON: Going beyond ‘same-sex marriage’

DALLAS (BP)–Congress failed this summer to clobber the “same sex marriage” movement with a knockout punch, but the courts delivered several crushing blows. Neither the House nor the Senate amassed the required votes for a Marriage Protection Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But, in the courts — which brought us the problem in the first place — it was a different story.

In what homosexual advocates called “a brutal few weeks,” seven courts announced decisions upholding state marriage laws, amendments or proposed amendments.

Constitutional amendments defining and protecting marriage were reinstated after having been overturned in Nebraska and Georgia. The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that voters will be allowed to consider such an amendment in November. Even in Massachusetts, the high court declined to stop a proposed voter initiative to outlaw “same-sex marriage.” New York’s highest court, one of the most liberal in the country, ruled that the state’s constitution does not require “same-sex marriage.” A Connecticut lower court judge also declined to legalize “gay marriage.” And homosexual advocacy groups are still reeling from the blow their movement took when the Washington state Supreme Court refused to overturn that state’s law, which prohibits “same-sex marriage.”

These court victories boosted the confidence of legal groups who are in the trenches fighting these battles to uphold marriage laws across the country. Jordan Lorence, a key attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, told U.S. News and World Report: “One side is clearly prevailing and one is losing.” But there’s no room for complacency. A ruling in New Jersey could be announced any day and is as likely as not to go “the wrong way.”

The protection of marriage is still a winner at the polls. That’s why it’s surprising that in July the homosexual newspaper The Washington Blade proudly reported that the Democratic National Committee had a “five-point plan” to fight proposed state marriage amendments. Twenty states already have passed such amendments and voters will weigh in on six to eight more this fall.

The Blade said the Democrats’ strategy is to portray marriage amendments as “divisive ploys by Republicans … to deflect voter attention from other important issues” and to build up the Democratic Party by training “party operatives in all 50 states” to campaign against these state ballot measures. The party backed its rhetoric with a donation to opponents of a proposed marriage amendment ballot initiative in Illinois. And two major homosexual groups, the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, pledged several million dollars toward these ballot measure fights.

Then, just before the announcement of the Washington state marriage decision, homosexual groups banded together to make their largest ad buy ever. The ad, which ran in 50 newspapers across the country, included pictures of five homosexual couples with the caption: “Marriage Matters. They’re committed. So are we.” Sixty civic, labor, religious and civil rights groups signed on, as did the mayors of six cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. Participants explained that homosexual and lesbian couples should not be excluded from marriage with all its legal benefits.

The ad distilled the groups’ message in the cleverly devised phrase: “marriage matters.” But does it? Just a day after day the long-awaited Washington state ruling, an online website (www.beyondmarriage.org) surfaced. It contains a manifesto entitled “Beyond Same Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families and Relationships.” The document urged less focus on “gay marriage and” instead asks for “legal recognition of a wide range of relationships, households and families –- regardless of kinship or conjugal status.” This statement, signed by some 250 national homosexual advocates, leaders and activists, also demanded “access for all to ‘vital government support programs’ including health care, housing, Social Security and pension plans, unemployment insurance and welfare assistance.”

This is not a simple broadening of the agenda to make it more palatable in the face of losses in court. Some of the core intellectuals of the homosexual activist movement authored this document, and it’s revealing. It specifies other kinds of relationships that deserve this marriage-like status. These run the gamut from senior citizens who are not married but living together to “committed, loving households in which there is more than one conjugal partner.” And, according to the statement, another group that must be subsidized is “queer couples who decide to jointly create and raise a child with another queer person or couple, in two households.” In other words these folks want one massive government benefits program financially to support live-in relationships based on whatever sexual behavior in which people engage.

Traditional marriage is doing well lately in the courts and at the ballot box. Homosexual advocates will not give up in these areas, but they are broadening their reach, trying to convince outside groups they stand to gain from the redefinition of marriage. ADF’s Lorence says his group is working to help Christians and conservatives speak clearly in defense of marriage. He says it’s necessary to debunk the idea being pushed here that people should be allowed to choose any sexual or non-sexual living arrangement and the government should subsidize it.

Maggie Gallagher, president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, says some in the growing seniors lobby and certain minority groups may love the prospect of universal benefits. But, even if the nation possessed an endless supply of money to pay for these benefits, Lorence says it eventually would destroy our society. It would encourage men to be irresponsible, encourage the exploitation of women, and remove the incentives for parents to take care of their own children.

Going “beyond marriage” is not an inclusive compromise. It’s a recipe for the deconstruction of marriage and the family — and for the collapse of our culture.
Penna Dexter is a board of trustee member with the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, a conservative activist and an announcer on the syndicated radio program “Life on the Line” (information available at www.lifeontheline.com). She currently serves as a consultant for KMA Direct Communications in Plano, Texas, and as a producer for “Washington Watch Weekly,” a broadcast of the Family Research Council. She formerly was a co-host of Marlin Maddoux’s “Point of View” syndicated radio program.

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  • Penna Dexter