The Corner

Just Say ‘No’

A Republican who will not stand up to the liberal media as a candidate will not stand up to the liberal media as president.

A profoundly instructive moment on this point occurred in Saturday night’s debate when Josh McElveen of WMUR-TV asked whether it ought to be legal for same-sex couples to adopt children.

The correct answer to this is: No. It was, is, and always will be wrong for any government to hand over in an adoption the custody of a child to a homosexual couple. A government that does so violates the God-given right of the child to be raised by a mother and father who respect (and intend to teach the child) those basic laws of morality that a homosexual couple — by the very fact that they are publicly cohabitating as homosexuals — are publicly flouting.

Now, that may seem a harsh answer to people whose moral sensibilities have been formulated by habitual exposure to broadcast television networks. But it is true.

Yet when McElveen put his question to Rick Santorum, Santorum failed to give a coherent answer. Santorum seemed to say — although his exact meaning was unclear — that although he wanted a constitutional amendment to define “marriage” as the union of one man and one woman, the question of same-sex adoptions was up to state governments to decide:

Well, this isn’t a federal issue, it’s a state issue, No. 1. The states can make that determination — and New Hampshire. My feeling is that this is an issue that should be dealt — I believe the issue of marriage itself is a federal issue, that we can’t have different laws with respect to marriage. We have to have one law. Marriage is, as Newt said, a foundational institution of our country, and we have to have a singular law with respect to that. We can’t have somebody married in one state and not married in another. If we were successful in establishing that, then this issue becomes moot. If we don’t have a federal law, I am certainly not going to have a federal law that bans adoption for gay couples when there are only gay couples in certain states. So this is a state issue, not a federal issue.

Mitt Romney, who has indicated the past that he does not oppose states’ legalizing same-sex adoption, gave a similarly incoherent answer to a similar question.

Diane Sawyer asked: “What would you say, sitting down in your living room, to a gay couple who say we simply want . . . gay people to form loving, committed, long-term relations. In human terms, what would you say to them?”

Romney responded:

Well, the answer is: That is a wonderful thing to do, and that there is every right for people in this country to form long-term, committed relationships with one another. That doesn’t mean that they have to call it marriage, or they have to receive the approval of the state in a marriage license, and so forth, for that to occur. There can be domestic-partnership benefits or a contractual relationship between two people, which would include, as Speaker Gingrich indicated, hospital visitation rights and the like. We can decide what kind of benefits we might associate with people who might form those kinds of relationships, state by state. But to say that marriage is something other than the relationship between a man and a woman, I think, is a mistake. And the reason for that is not that we want to discriminate against people or to suggest that gay couples are not just as loving and can’t also raise children well, but it is instead a recognition that for a society as a whole, the nation presumably will be better off if children are raised in a setting where there is a male and a female. And there are many cases where that is not possible — divorce, death, single parents, gay parents, and so forth — but for a society to say we want to encourage through the benefits that we associate with marriage people to form partnerships between men and women and then raise children, which we think that will be the ideal setting for them to be raised.

Newt Gingrich created a compelling moment when, following Santorum’s and Romney’s answers, he attacked the liberal media for putting Republican presidential candidates on the spot on same-sex adoption while not putting Democrats on the spot for forcing the Catholic church out of the adoption business in some jurisdictions because the Catholic church — in courageously defending the moral law and the innocence of children — refuses to cooperate in same-sex adoptions.

But I am a conservative journalist and I want all the Republican candidates to give a straight answer to the question liberal journalists asked them last night: Yes or no — in America, should government allow same-sex couples to adopt children?

Candidates who are afraid to say “no” to this fundamental question in a presidential campaign will be afraid to stand up to the liberal media on other profound questions if they are elected president.

— Terence P. Jeffrey is author of Control Freaks: 7 Ways Liberals Plan to Ruin Your Life.

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