As the great philosopher Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” And as far as Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins is concerned, the fight to stop the legalization of same-sex marriage is far from over.
In a recent fundraising email on behalf of FRC’s lobbying arm, Perkins ranted that the Supreme Court’s June ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) didn’t really do much.
“The media would have you believe, and the radical homosexual activists would have you believe, and the liberals in Washington would have you believe that the case is closed because the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was the last word,” he said.
“But they’re wrong,” he continued. “The high court’s DOMA ruling, wrong-headed as it was, only struck down Section 3 of the law: this means people in same-sex ‘marriages’ who live in states that allow it, can receive federal marriage benefits -- technically, once you get beyond the bluster of Justice Kennedy, the ruling accomplishes nothing more.”
Hate to break it to you, Tony, but you and the FRC are going down on this one, big time. It’s true that some states still oppose marriage-equality either through legislation or in their constitutions, but the Supreme Court said DOMA violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment. That’s a huge step toward marriage equality, and it is already leading to swift changes.
Just yesterday, the IRS announced it would extend federal tax benefits to same-sex couples (including joint filing). Some local officials in New Mexico and Pennsylvania are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This is surely just the beginning, since support for marriage equality is at an all-time high.
But let’s entertain Perkins, for a moment. Tell us, Tony, just what will happen if same-sex marriage is legal in every state?
“On an economic level: disaster,” Perkins warned. “The Government Accounting Office has determined there are some 1,138 mentions of marriage in federal law. This means nationwide legalization of same-sex ‘marriage’ will make an enormous negative impact on the government’s budget and thus the country financially.”
Huh? So allowing more people to get married somehow trashes the economy? That’s funny, coming from a group that claims to be “pro-marriage.” (Also, Tony, I think you meant to say “Government Accountability Office,” since there is no “Accounting” office.)
Perkins also warned of a loss of “religious liberty.”
“Forcing the redefinition of marriage on all states will mean a loss of religious liberty,” he wrote. “It already means parents are no longer in control of what their children are taught about sexual morality in public schools. It already means bakers and florists and photographers are being forced to participate in same-sex ‘weddings’ or face fines and lawsuits. Christian business owners are suffering the consequences as provisions of this law are imposed upon them.”
What Perkins doesn’t seem to get is that “religious liberty” doesn’t give anyone a right to discriminate. Anyone can believe whatever they want about marriage, but those beliefs should not guarantee someone the right to treat someone else like a lesser human being.
Perkins even tried to justify his position against marriage equality as the mere expression of his religious beliefs rather than homophobia.
“There is nothing hateful about standing for marriage and doing our best in public policy to ensure that a child has a mother and a father,” he said. “But once this position becomes ‘hate,’ and hate becomes a crime, Christians will be in more trouble than ever.”
“This is no longer simply about marriage,” he added. “This is about the federal government maneuvering a step closer to being able to silence Bible-believing churches and their values....”
That tiresome argument just won’t work. No churches are being forced to perform same-sex weddings because the Constitution already guarantees that they don’t have to do so. Nor is anybody in government out to silence churches or trash the Bible.
And you can pretend all you want that you care about how children are raised, but we know this is really about forcing your own idea about marriage onto other people.
Sorry, Tony, but you’re on the losing end of this battle. Take a look at some polls. Note the large numbers of young people who say they support same-sex marriage. The future does not bode well for you.
Tony, you and supporters of the FRC can continue to wail all you like, but it might be better to simply face facts: Your cause is a lost one.
P.S. The Wall of Separation will be on hiatus until Tuesday September 3.