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07 November 2011

Repudiation: Ken Blackwell Complains That Marriage Is Defenseless

Ken Blackwell is a "Senior Fellow" with the Family Research Council and has written a "Perspective" titled True Marriage Defenseless? at the FRC site and published in World Magazine, a Christian pub.  I will rebut most of it.

The Obama administration is lending support to Congress in an effort to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. The president, instead, is backing something called the "Respect Marriage Act." The latter measure, quite simply, would abolish marriage.

No.  The Respect Marriage Act would not abolish marriage.  Here is the entire language of the bill (without all the headers and such which can be found at the above link)

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Respect for Marriage Act of 2009’’.

Section 1738C of title 28, United States Code, is repealed, and the table of sections at the beginning of chapter 115 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by striking the item relating to that section.

Section 7 of title 1, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
 ‘‘§ 7. Marriage
 ‘‘(a) For the purposes of any Federal law in which marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered married if that individual’s marriage is valid in the State where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any State, if the marriage is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a State.
 ‘‘(b) In this section, the term ‘State’ means a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any other territory or possession of the United States.’’.

In no place does the Respect for Marriage Act abolish any marriage.  What it does is recognize marriages that were previously discriminated against by the Defense of Marriage Act.  Nothing less and nothing more.

While calling for "respect" in the Orwellian sense, it would offer true marriage the same "respect" President Obama showed to the body of Osama bin Laden-a hasty burial at sea after summarily being put to death.

No.  Mr. Blackwell is designating that only heterosexual marriages are true marriage, which is incorrect.  There is no slight offered by President Obama to heterosexual marriage, something he enjoys with the First Lady and their children.  Rather, the Respect for Marriage Act would extend respect to more, not limit it from some.  This is not a zero sum game.  Existing marriages lose nothing in granting equality to all.

I don't object to the president's actions against a sworn enemy of our country, but I object most strenuously to his plan to finish off marriage.

Great hyperbole, but completely off base.  There is neither abolishment nor finishing off of extant marriages or of future heterosexual marriages.

What the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) does is protect true marriage in federal law. This means that Social Security, the military, our diplomatic service, the Census, our federal work force, and myriad federal activities may consider as married only one man and one woman.

No.  What DOMA does is LIMIT, not protect, marriage to only one man and one woman.  Without DOMA, heterosexual marriage is what it is today.  There is nothing lost except exclusive status.  Equality adds to the protection of families and to the number of marriages with nothing diminished.

DOMA has also protected states from being forced to recognize the counterfeit marriages that have been legalized by a few liberal states.

This much is true.  DOMA has protected states from being forced from discrimination against otherwise legal marriages.

This is critical. Thirty-two states have voted to protect true marriage, which have included liberal and conservative states, swing states and moderate states. In these states, a new coalition has come together to defend marriage.

Thirty-two states have used election procedures to deny civil rights and human rights.  No civil rights and no human rights should ever be subject to a vote.  The coalition to discriminate against some marriages is acting in discord with the famous line from the Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Skipping a bit about voting in Hawaii ...

DOMA protects marriage. It also protects the integrity of the electoral process itself. The drive to abolish marriage is fundamentally anti-democratic. The people want true marriage; the elites want to do away with it.

No.  DOMA does not protect any marriage, it limits marriage.  Since there is no move to "abolish marriage" the rest of this is nonsensical.

How do we know this? In 2008, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., a panel discussion on marriage featured liberal law professor Jonathan Turley. He responded to critics' charges that allowing two men or two women to marry would lead to polygamy. Turley conceded the point that it would lead to polygamy: "And I am for that!" His audience was composed of journalists, law students, and Capitol Hill staffers. They applauded wildly the death of marriage.

Prof. Turley may be correct that repealing DOMA would lead to polygamy.  I am not making that prediction as slippery slope arguments are usually precarious.  Allowing polygamous marriage (not something I advocate) would be a return to biblical notions of marriage, something which religious leaders who support DOMA conveniently forget.  But, even if repeal of DOMA leads to polygamous marriage that does not define a "death of marriage."

That death will mean the impoverishment of more women and more children. We know that if a young couple will but finish high school, avoid bearing children out of wedlock, and marry, the chances they will live in poverty are only 4 percent. True marriage is the best anti-poverty program ever devised.

By this reasoning, repeal of DOMA will lead to children having children and allowing homosexuals to wed will prevent heterosexuals from doing so.  This is absurd.  Neither is on anyone's agenda.

No one who is for the abolition of marriage can claim to be a friend of the poor. And it is not only poor women and children who will suffer, but also minorities and the marginal. We know this because they are the ones suffering now.

But no one is for the abolition of marriage, so Mr. Blackwell is not making any sense whatsoever.  And since "they are the ones suffering now", this does not provide any clue as to how they would suffer more with marriage equality.

Skipping a bit about wedge issues ...

What a tragedy it will be for the country, and especially for black Americans, if President Obama succeeds in abolishing marriage.

No.  President Obama is not for abolishing marriage.  The Respect for Marriage Act does not abolish any marriage.  No loss of black American marriage.  No loss of white American marriage.  No loss of any other color American marriage.

His own marriage has been a model for the nation. He says his views on marriage are "evolving." We know what that means. Evolvers only go one way. He is readying the country for his change of stance.

I certainly hope so.

I would appeal to the president to remember Tennessee in 1866. In that first year after the Civil War, thousand more marriages were recorded. Thousands of freedmen and freedwomen walked hundreds of miles to have their marriages legally sanctioned. Many of these former slaves were barefoot, but they wanted desperately to achieve what had been so long and so unjustly denied them: marriage as God had designed it. After slavery, after Jim Crow, the worst calamity ever to befall black Americans has been the loss of marriage in our culture.

This is one of the strangest arguments for continued bigotry that I have ever read.  Right now my partner and I cannot legally marry.  If we are allowed to wed, then there is a gain of marriage in our culture ... not a loss.  If one wants to make the comparison to the oppression of blacks under slavery, the LGBTQ community certainly has not lost all freedoms as had blacks for nearly two centuries; but we do not have equality of marriage and, according to the Congressional Budget Office there are 1,138 laws that discriminate against non-married couples.

President Obama! Remember Tennessee! Defend the Defense of Marriage Act!

Fortunately, President Obama is not beholden to Mr. Blackwell.  He is not defending a law that is constitutional.

Thanks to Joe My God for the heads up.

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