MARRIAGE DIGEST: Many doubt Obama's 'gay marriage' position; Md. sen. passes bill

Baptist Press
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Posted: Feb 25, 2011 6:15 PM
MARRIAGE DIGEST: Many doubt Obama's 'gay marriage' position; Md. sen. passes bill
WASHINGTON (BP)--Conservatives who previously doubted President Obama's candor in publicly opposing "gay marriage" now are even more skeptical after the president ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

During the campaign and so far in his presidency, Obama has consistently said he personally opposes "gay marriage." At the same time, though, he has stated opposition to every law that would prevent its legalization, including the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California Proposition 8. Asked about the issue in October, Obama said, "attitudes evolve, including mine," but said he remained opposed to "gay marriage."

No sitting president has ever publicly supported the redefinition of marriage.

Obama's press secretary, Jay Carney, wouldn't budge Feb. 23 when asked if Obama's legal opinion on the Defense of Marriage Act -- a 1996 law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman -- meant he now affirmed "gay marriage."

"I would refer you just to his fairly recent statements on that," Carney said. "He's grappling with the issue, but ... I want to make the distinction between his personal views, which he has discussed, and the ... legal decision that was made today."

Many, though, aren't buying it.

"If today's letter from the attorney general to Congress is any indication, the administration has now fully committed to the idea that it is unconstitutional to deny marriage benefits to homosexuals," attorney Shannen Coffin wrote on NationalReview.com "... Let there be no doubt, Mr. Carney, President Obama has declared his support for gay marriage, at least as a constitutional matter. And since that constitutional analysis is really policy dressing itself up as law, I think we can guess where he is on the policy question, too."

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., agreed.

"To suggest that President Obama does not personally support same-sex marriage is to posit a dualism within him that is nothing less than Gnostic," Mohler wrote on his blog. "Mr. Carney would do better to stick with his argument that the President's support of the gay rights movement is consistent. It is not credible for the President now to play Hamlet on the question of his own position on same-sex marriage."

Author and commentator Stanley Kurtz asked on NationalReview.com, "Did anyone on any part of the political spectrum ever actually believe that Obama opposed gay marriage? That was never anything but disguise."

Family Research County President Tony Perkins said that "despite how his press office spins it, the president has done through actions what he refuses to do in words: endorsed same-sex 'marriage.'"

'GAY MARRIAGE' BILL PASSES MD. SENATE -- Maryland moved one step closer to legalizing "gay marriage" Feb. 24 when its senate passed a bill by a vote of 25-21, sending it to the state house, where a vote is expected to be close. Both chambers are controlled by Democrats, and Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley has pledged to sign it.

During debate, opponents of the bill said its passage would lead to a "homosexual worldview" being taught in elementary classrooms, the Baltimore Sun reported. They also noted that religious groups involved in adoption services would be required to place children in same-sex homes -- something that even supporters acknowledged as being true.

If it is signed into law, conservatives are expected to gather signatures to place the issue on the 2012 ballot in an attempt to reverse the law. Maryland is one of a handful of states that gives citizens the direct power to try and reverse laws.

MAJORITY OF COURTS OPPOSE 'GAY MARRIAGE' -- Contrary to what may be popular belief, the majority of state and federal courts actually have ruled against "gay marriage" in recent years, according to a "research brief" from the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy.

High-profile cases such as the lower federal court ruling against California Prop 8 have received widespread media attention, but the brief notes that over the past decade, at least 10 state and federal courts have ruled that "marriage laws are not discriminatory" but rather "are based on a legitimate relationship between the states' definition of marriage and procreation."

Among those are the highest courts of Maryland, New York state and Washington state, and the U.S. Eighth Court of Appeals. New Jersey's highest court also refused to legalize "gay marriage," although it did issue a ruling that led the state to legalize same-sex civil unions.

France's highest court recently refused to legalize "gay marriage."

Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. The Southern Baptist Convention has a ministry to homosexuals. Find more information at www.sbcthewayout.com.

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