It has been said that President Bush, if re-elected, intends to make his second term robust with big ideas. Perhaps one such idea he should seriously consider is supporting the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA).
Some might respond that the FMA is not a big idea in the sense of being innovative. Marriage has traditionally been between a man and a woman. The FMA merely seeks to preserve that tradition.
That's true. In my law school class on Domestic Relations, I remember the professor, herself no liberal, peremptorily dismissing a student's question as to why homosexuals could not get married.
"Marriage, by definition, is between a man and a woman," she said. Her implication was that the concept of gay marriage was inconceivable both under the law and according to Webster's at the time. "Next question."
But, as we know, much has transpired since then. There is probably no greater percentage of homosexuals today, but our traditional values and institutions have been under constant assault during the past 25 years, and damage has been done.
The institution of marriage has been weakened to the point that a proposal to safeguard it legally could not be dismissed as redundant or superfluous. Indeed, given the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision legitimizing sodomy and the Massachusetts Supreme Court's ruling sanctifying gay marriage, a pro-active approach to rescue traditional marriage is essential.
I don't buy the argument that marriage has eroded as part of an inevitable evolution of our moral fabric. Countercultural warriors have been waging a war against traditional values as part of a deliberate and sustained effort. Their success, despite their small numbers, is proof that activism and persistence work.
Traditional values and institutions don't stand a chance unless traditionalists are willing to get in the fight. Without their engagement under strong generalship and careful organization, we might as well throw in the towel right now. The FMA should be part of any conservative battle plan to restore traditional norms.
Congress passed the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1997. This law provides that, consistent with the Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause, federal territories and possessions and states may refuse to honor same-sex relationships that are treated as marriage under the laws of other states.