Paul  Weyrich

Both legislators also believe that there will be progress as to passage of the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Bill although this bill has not been reported out of committee. It would grant to homosexual partners the same privileges under law that a married couple currently enjoys. Baldwin did indicate that repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell" legislation would be difficult because many Members who originally voted for it remain in Congress. The measure passed the Congress soon after Clinton took office in 1993. Smith said he voted for DOMA because he didn't want Federal judges "to impose it on other parts of the jurisdiction." Smith said if government starts redefining marriage "it could have detrimental consequences for some groups." He said tinkering with the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman would have implications that "are much broader than the gay and lesbian community."

The point is this. The homosexual community has an agenda. It plans to hit the ground running. The pro-family community is mostly on the defensive. The homosexual community at this stage very much reminds me of the emerging pro-family community in 1980. That year, Senator Paul Laxalt (R-NV), Ronald Reagan's closest friend in the Congress, introduced the Family Protection Act. It was an agenda carefully assembled by the family community. It enabled that community to hit the ground running when Ronald Reagan became President. The homosexual community, which had been showing its muscle in the 1970s, became defensive after 1980. The situation today is nearly the mirror-image of the situation more than a quarter of a century ago. In policy politics the pendulum swings back and forth. Yesterday it was the pro-family community which was on the offensive, the homosexual community on the defensive. Now, because the homosexual community believes the number of Members sympathetic to its agenda will greatly increase, it is on the offensive. While elements of the Family Protection Act were enacted into law, the pro-family community has not been on the offensive for some years. Hence, there has been a stand-off. The homosexual community did not have the votes to accomplish its agenda but it did have the votes to thwart some pro-family measures. Only the pro-life issue advanced on the margins these past few years.

As Jack Kemp always reminded us, in this business you are either on offense or defense. Unless and until the pro-family groups again are able to go on the offense they are likely to loose ground. As unfortunate as that may be, it is reality. To return to the offense the pro-family forces would need more Members of Congress. At this stage it appears they will be dealing next year with fewer, not more, in sympathy with their agenda. More Members, it seems to me, must be that community's first priority if it expects to be successful.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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