The attack on marriage amendments, in 3-D

Chris Stovall
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Posted: Oct 06, 2006 11:24 PM
The attack on marriage amendments, in 3-D

Same-sex "marriage" advocates have taken a drubbing in court this summer. Their bid to redefine marriage has been rejected in 20 states by constitutional amendments passed by overwhelming margins. Not surprisingly, their camp is desperate to score at least one victory – and soon – by defeating one of the eight additional state marriage amendments on the ballot this November.

These special-interest activists have a dilemma, though. Their best efforts to appeal to the courts and the public with claims for "marriage equality" have failed; most Americans just don’t believe that society will benefit from the government's promotion of relationships between two men or two women – at least, in the same way or to the same degree that society benefits from encouraging men and women to marry.

In other words, most Americans are still convinced that political special interests shouldn’t trump what’s in the best interest of families and children.

So what's a desperate marriage re-definer to do? Hand out 3-D glasses to the voters, and hope that Distraction, Distortion, and Disinformation will blur the issue.

Distraction: One of the principal tactics employed by opponents of this November's marriage amendments is the publicizing of how these amendments will allegedly harm heterosexual couples who choose not to marry. In Arizona, for instance, marriage opponents are targeting loving retired couples who cohabitate but don't marry, because marrying would mean the loss of valuable economic benefits tied to their status as a single widow or widower. (Funny: these morally preachy groups have few qualms about encouraging seniors to defraud their dead spouses' employers.)

By emphasizing this line of argument (and similar scare tactics touting "unintended consequences" to unmarried opposite-sex couples), marriage opponents clearly hope to distract voters from the reality that redefining marriage is a campaign driven by the radical homosexual agenda. Put a "straight" face on the supposed ill effects of the amendment, and more heterosexuals might reject it out of self-interest. (Which raises the question: how it is in anyone's self interest to undermine the fundamental building block of ordered democratic society?)

Distortion: Another favorite technique of marriage amendment opponents is to distort the language of proposed amendments through crafty paraphrasing. Opponents of these marriage amendments tell the public that these initiatives will "prohibit domestic partners from receiving benefits." In fact, that would only be true for public entities that are too stingy (or too worried about making a politically-correct "statement") to provide benefits to adult dependents who are not the sex partners of their unmarried employees.

Opponents assert that such amendments will prevent a person from designating their unmarried, cohabitating, sexual partner as the beneficiary of a government benefit. In truth, what these amendments do is require the government to provide benefits on a broader basis, rather than favor one particularly vocal special interest group over another – in this case: unmarried people over other unmarried people with equally or more compelling needs for dependent benefits.

Instead of weakening the institution of marriage by producing a legal status that treats cohabitating sexual partners like the spouses of married persons, governments can allow benefits to be assigned on a fairer, more neutral basis. For instance: a policy could be created to allow someone entitled to a benefit (say, an employee with health insurance) to extend that benefit to a financially interdependent adult living in the same household – i.e., a disabled adult sibling, or an elderly parent living in the employee's home.

Disinformation: Perhaps the boldest – and most insulting – tool in the marriage amendment opposition's kit is the lie that assumes the public is too ignorant to know any better: "We don't need a constitutional amendment because same-sex marriage is already prohibited by statute in this state."

Anyone who has been through an eighth grade civics class should know that constitutions trump statutes, and that a court can invalidate a statute if it decides that statute violates a constitutional provision. This line of disinformation, then, is a Trojan horse smuggling a SWAT team of attorneys for Lambda Legal Defense Fund and the ACLU.

When opponents of marriage amendments say there’s “no need” for a constitutional amendment, what they’re really thinking is, "Please don't figure out that only a marriage amendment can prevent activist judges from discovering a ‘right’ to same-sex ‘marriage’ in the state constitution and striking down that pesky statute as unconstitutional."

It is roughly one month until Election Day, when the voters in eight more states will have the opportunity to protect and preserve our most important social institution, marriage, from those who want to redefine it in the courts and legislatures, and from those who want to undermine its unique status as the best legal protection for children and society.

Here's hoping that voters do away with the 3-D glasses, and open their eyes to how important these amendments are for America.