A group of conservative leaders in July urged lawmakers to reject the “Respect for Marriage Act,” which would codify “marriage” between people of the same sex. This bill also would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1996.
DOMA defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman for federal purposes and allows states to refuse to recognize so-called marriages between two people of the same sex, even if recognized as marriage in other states.
The so-called Respect for Marriage Act would not allow states to make this choice. Liberal lawmakers seek to codify Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), which held that people of the same sex have a constitutional right to “marry.”
Star Parker, founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, joined conservative leaders in urging Republican lawmakers to defend DOMA in July. Signatories included CURE’s vice president for Government Relations & Coalitions Marty Dannenfelser; CURE board member Ken Blackwell; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee; Ryan Anderson, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center; and Alan Sears, founder of Alliance Defending Freedom.
On Monday, Star and Dannenfelser sent a letter to Senate Republicans reminding them to reject the Respect for Marriage Act. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill on Wednesday.
As Star and Dannenfelser contend, Rep. Nancy Pelosi used a straw man argument to rally support for this bill, claiming that in addition to protecting same-sex “marriage,” the bill would protect interracial marriage. The Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia (1967) struck down state laws that barred interracial marriage. But marriage isn’t defined by race. A marriage between a man and a woman of different races is still marriage.
In the decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion that the court should reconsider previous rulings, including Obergefell. This prompted leftists to claim that the court could also overturn Loving. Justice Thomas’s wife is white. From Star’s letter:
Justice Clarence Thomas did not suggest reconsideration of Loving v. Virginia in his recent Dobbs opinion. Attempts to link him to the notion that the Supreme Court might overturn Loving are even more preposterous when you consider that Justice Thomas has an interracial marriage.
The Civil Rights Act and the 14th Amendment clearly forbid racial discrimination. There is nothing in the Dobbs decision that could provide a precedent for overturning the Loving decision.
A so-called modified version of the Respect for Marriage Act could include religious and conscience protections for Americans who oppose same-sex marriage. But Star is skeptical.
Many religions affirm that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. The House denied application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act when it passed the “Equality Act” in 2021. Accordingly, there is no reason to believe that advocates will respect the right of religious Americans to decline participation in same-sex marriage ceremonies (e.g., photographers, wedding planners) when federal law is becoming more hostile to religious believers and their conscience rights.
Christian web design Lorie Smith recently argued her case before the Supreme Court to protect her religious right not to create websites for same-sex “weddings.” Does anyone really believe the Respect for Marriage Act will include an exception for people like her?
Despite the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which leftist Senator Chuck Schumer introduced and voted for in 1993, Christian business are still filing and fighting lawsuits to protect their right not to endorse messages they oppose.
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