Time to Amend
by Chuck Colson
Protecting Traditional Marriage
Next week the House of Representatives will be voting on the Marriage Protection Amendment, which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.
Our opponents say there is no need for this amendment because the states will do it, and they cite last weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s New York Court of Appeals decision supporting heterosexual marriage as evidence. Well, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re wrong.
Yes, the Court of Appeals in New York did uphold New YorkÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s law limiting marriage to one man and one woman. But in holding that there was a Ã¢â‚¬Å“rational basisÃ¢â‚¬? for this, the New York court is swimming against the tide of recent Supreme Court decisions in the area of gay rights.
This Ã¢â‚¬Å“tideÃ¢â‚¬? makes it virtually certain that when state statutes or constitutional provisions barring gay Ã¢â‚¬Å“marriageÃ¢â‚¬? reach the Supreme Court, they will be struck down.
Let me tell you why: In Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992, Justice Kennedy affirmed the right of abortion by defining Ã¢â‚¬Å“libertyÃ¢â‚¬? as the right to Ã¢â‚¬Å“define oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s own concept of existence, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.Ã¢â‚¬?
As Justice Scalia noted in his dissent, such a definition could embrace anything. Scalia is right.
In Romer v. Evans a few years later, the Court struck down a democratically enacted referendum in Colorado denying special civil rights based on sexual orientation. Kennedy rejected the idea that there could be a Ã¢â‚¬Å“rational basisÃ¢â‚¬? for such a provision. Instead, he wrote that the vote was the product of Ã¢â‚¬Å“animus,Ã¢â‚¬? that is, bigotry, against homosexuals.
Then in 2003 in Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law banning sodomy. In his majority opinion, Justice Kennedy again, instead of making a straightforward equal protection argument, cited his opinions in Casey and Romer. He ruled that in legislating against homosexual behavior, the state was guilty of bigotry or prejudice.
Once again Justice Scalia in dissent pointed out where KennedyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s logic would lead us: Ã¢â‚¬Å“TodayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s opinion,Ã¢â‚¬? he said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted the distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions . . . Ã¢â‚¬? He argued that Lawrence effectively outlawed all legislation concerning morality.
If you take Kennedy and Scalia seriouslyÃ¢â‚¬â€as we mustÃ¢â‚¬â€we have to conclude that the Supreme Court will declare any law restricting the right of homosexuals to marry unconstitutional. It canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t rule otherwise, not without disregarding its own precedents.
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s already a Nebraska case making its way through federal courts in which a judge threw out a statute banning gay Ã¢â‚¬Å“marriage.Ã¢â‚¬? Within two years this will be at the Supreme Court, which has already shown that it dismisses state judgments on matters like this.
This is why this House vote is so important. Yes, we lost in the Senate, but we have to keep going to show our leaders that we are serious about protecting the sanctity of traditional marriage. We need to let them know that, like William Wilberforce in his campaign against slavery, which took twenty years, we are in this battle for the long haul. Those who thought that the SenateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s action was the last word on the subject couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be more wrong.
Call your congressman today please. Tell him how strongly you feel about protecting traditional marriageÃ¢â‚¬â€then urge him to vote for the Marriage Protection Amendment. You can find his phone number below, along with information about the amendment.
Call your representative today and urge him or her to vote FOR the Marriage Protection Amendment. The vote is expected to take place next week. The Capitol switchboard is 202-225-3121, or learn your representativeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s direct line by visiting www.house.gov.