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Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

The Washington Post vs. the Marriage Amendment



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Today’s Washington Post editorial opposing the proposed federal marriage amendment appears to be deliberately obtuse.  Beyond its over-the-top rhetoric (defending traditional marriage is “picking on gays and lesbians”) and loaded phrases (“marriage equality,” “a more inclusive conception of marriage”), the editorial nakedly asserts that there is no problem that the amendment would solve.  Well, how about the judicial usurpation, actual and prospective, state and federal, of the ability of the people to maintain traditional marriage?  Beyond the Massachusetts supreme court’s ludicrous ruling in Goodridge, five justices still on the U.S. Supreme Court already laid the foundation in Lawrence v. Texas for a ruling that traditional marriage is unconstitutional.  And other state judges have relied on various flimsy grounds to thwart the popular will. 

 

As for the Post’s assertion that “federal law already guarantees that no state need recognize same-sex marriage performed in any other,” any judge who shares the Post’s concept of “marriage equality” would be quite ready to find the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. 

 

Simply put, the federal marriage amendment is a defensive effort to maintain traditional marriage in the face of the aggressive attack on it that the Left has launched through the courts.   

 

Like much of the media, the Post complains that the amendment is a “transparent effort to energize the restive Republican electoral base.”  Ah, yes, those pesky elections that actually require elected representatives to tend to the concerns of the people.  

      

The Post also errs when it asserts that marriage “has always been a state matter in the American system.”  Facing an earlier threat to marriage, the federal government required that Utah abolish polygamy as a condition of becoming a state.  For those who believe (as I do) that the traditional understanding of marriage is essential to our thriving as a sound culture, a federal response to the specter of same-sex marriage is appropriate.

Tags: Whelan


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