Defending DOMA and the Future of the Culture War
Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, asks aloud about the direction of the culture war. Gallagher warns against culture war fatigue not only because the battle over traditional marriage is far from over but because of what may be on the horizon, including those who are pushing for the legitimization of polygamy.Gallagher, whose finger is on the daily pulse of marriage and related issues, notes one very important development in the culture war debate. Advocates of “gay marriage” are no longer hiding their support but are beginning to use it as a stump speech talking point:
“In Maryland, a state senator decided to vote for gay marriage. Well, fine and dandy; he has every right. But he chose to announce it at a press conference, where he slammed his fellow citizens as ugly bigots — a message point the mainstream media gladly relayed: ‘Witness after witness demonized homosexuals, vilified the gay community, and described gays and lesbians as pedophiles,’ claimed Sen. James Brochin.”
Gallagher’s observation was corroborated this week when the White House announced the Justice Department would no longer expend its resources defending the Defense of Marriage Act.
“The president has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny,” Attorney General Eric Holder explained. Holder added, “The president has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the president has instructed the department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the president’s determination.”
Until now, President Obama’s public stance toward DOMA has been ambivalent much to the consternation of his gay and lesbian supporters, especially that of the powerful Human Rights Campaign. With the 2012 election in view, Obama has evidently made a strategic political decision to make DOMA a theme in the presidential campaign. This serves to solidify the financial support of the gay and lesbian community, but it also elevates public concern about social issues, which has prompted at least one presidential contender to call for a “truce.”
At a time when many on the political Left have decided that support for gay marriage is a winning issue, the prospect for a truce is both highly unlikely and extremely unwise. Support for gay marriage is a serious miscalculation for the White House, as the rejection of same-sex marriage votes should demonstrate. Public opposition to gay marriage remains high, by 53% to 44%, according to the latest Gallup poll.
Catholic Advocate will continue to encourage Catholics to keep the issues of abortion and marriage at the heart of the political debate heading toward the 2012 election. A so-called “truce” only succeeds in keeping the public debate one-sided and ensuring that the American public will hear less about the good reasons why unborn life should be defended and marriage can only truly exist between a man and woman.
We at Catholic Advocate share the widespread concern about jobs and the economy, but it’s foolish to treat political debate as an either/or choice between fiscal and social conservatism. We can be sure, given what Maggie Gallagher rightly observes, that political liberals will embed their support for abortion and gay marriage in their negative messaging against pro-life, pro-marriage candidates.
Far from being a time for a truce on social issues, the coming two years will call all of us to make a renewed commitment in defending the foundations of law and society.
By Deal Hudson, President of Catholic Advocate
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