Janet M. LaRue

“Marriage, it doesn’t mean anything.” That’s what Barack Obama told wife Michelle while they were dating, according to her recent interview in The New Yorker. But he’s telling voters that marriage is “something sanctified between a man and a woman,” and that he opposes same-sex “marriage.” Sanctified or meaningless, which is it?

On the one hand, Obama says marriage should be between a man and a woman.

  • “And I should say that personally, I do believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.” Floor speech against federal marriage amendment, June 5, 2006.
  • “He also repeated his stance on gay marriage - that civil unions are fine, but marriage is a religious bond.” July 2007, 365gay.com
  • “Although Barack Obama has said that he supports civil unions, he is against gay marriage. In an interview with the Chicago Daily Tribune, Obama said, ‘I’m a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman. … He said he would support civil unions between gay and lesbian couples, as well as letting individual states determine if marriage between gay and lesbian couples should be legalized.’” About.com/Lesbian Life.

On the other hand, Obama wants to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which protects one man-one woman marriage.

Section one of DOMA defines marriage as one man-one woman for purposes of federal law:

…the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. 1 USCS § 7.

A second section of DOMA protects the right of the states to decide their marriage laws for themselves:


Janet M. LaRue

Jan LaRue is Senior Legal Analyst with the American Civil Rights Union; former Chief Counsel at Concerned for Women; Legal Studies Director at Family Research Council; and Senior Counsel for the National Law Center for Children and Families. Be the first to read Janet LaRue's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.