By Tony Perkins: President, Family Research Council
Every July Americans celebrate our nation’s founding, but our founders would barely recognize today’s America. Freedom, Alexis de Tocqueville once said, requires virtue.
On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear that the pillars of both are under attack. By a single vote, five unelected justices determined that they know better than God and struck at the heart of marriage in America.
Writing for the majority in the Defense of Marriage Act decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy insisted that defining marriage as the union of a man and woman - as nations have since the beginning of time - is “to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States.” It is one thing, Justice Antonin Scalia fired back, “for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it [are] enemies of the human race.” Chief Justice John Roberts agreed, writing that the definition of marriage wasn’t driven by a “sinister motive” but by its “role and function throughout the history of civilization.”
The Court can declare same-sex “marriage” a legal right in the eyes of government, but judges cannot make it morally right in the hearts of the people. This is an institution that carries God’s own signature. Even absent any faith, the natural order proves the only successful model for civilization is natural marriage.
In California, voters already understood what was at stake. In two separate referendums, they flooded the ballots for marriage, winning a constitutional amendment in 2008 in the largest state in America. For five years, the Left has battled to tear down this monument to democracy and the natural family. California Governor Jerry Brown, ignoring his people – and the law – took a page from President Obama’s school of defiance and refused to defend the amendment in court. Left without options, the proponents of Proposition 8 took it upon themselves to protect it.
The Supreme Court, in a profoundly disturbing decision, ruled that these voters lacked the standing to represent a state amendment that more than 7,000,000 Californians passed. The Proposition 8 decision sets a disturbing precedent for a nation of sovereign people.
Fortunately, conservative leaders across our country aren’t about to stand by as the Court abandons the cornerstone of American government. In interview after interview, tweet after tweet, the message echoed from governor’s mansions to congressional floors: we are not giving up. It started with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and flooded the wires since then. “No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted.” Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kans.) vowed to lead the fight for a Federal Marriage Amendment. Governor Mike Pence (R-Ind.) said he would use today’s rulings as motivation to work even harder for a state marriage amendment.
The Left will say that we are on the wrong side of history, but that doesn’t matter if we’re on the right side of truth. And the truth is that the love of a man and woman, for life, is God’s design for marriage and family. Forty years ago, many people thought – as some might today – that the battle for life was lost. Over time, our movement and technology helped to change people’s hearts and minds to a new understanding of the sanctity of the unborn child. And we will do it again.
As more Americans see and feel the erosion of religious liberty, of parental rights, of children’s innocence, and of conscience rights, their opinions will no longer be swayed by emotions and popular opinion – but by the reality of the fundamental harm that same-sex “marriage” poses to society.
Are these rulings demoralizing? Definitely. But we will not let a court’s definition of marriage define us. Someday – years from now – when law students are memorizing this date and its importance in American history, what will they say about our movement? That it united together and changed the conversation on marriage? That it refused to quit until it transformed state and federal laws? Hopefully, they will say that you and I stood on truth – and restored marriage and the Author of marriage to their rightful place in American policy.
Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council.