Top Ten Reasons for Conservatives to Oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment
By Chuck Muth
October 9, 2003
In the last 200-some years, only 17 amendments to the U.S. Constitution have been approved and remain on the books. Yet efforts are proceeding at light-speed in Congress to add a new one for the purpose of defining marriage. Even if you oppose gay “marriage,” the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) is a bad idea and here are ten reasons for conservatives to oppose it.
1.) There are much bigger fish to fry. Aside from the war on terrorism, there’s also the Senate Democrat filibusters of strict-constructionist judges, ballooning budget deficits due to out-of-control government spending, Social Security reform, a new prescription drug entitlement which would be the largest expansion of government since the Great Society and, of course, the 2004 elections.
Look, if conservatives are going to spend time, effort and money amending the Constitution to protect the family, they should instead focus on repealing the 16th Amendment which gave us the income tax and the IRS!
2.) Government shouldn’t be involved in marriage in the first place. This is exactly why we have a problem with prayer in schools. If we hadn’t let the government take over the education of our kids there wouldn’t be any prayer-in-schools controversy. Ditto marriage. The problem isn’t keeping gays out of marriage, but keeping government out of it.
3.) If the purpose of FMA is to protect the family, I would suggest the effort is terribly misdirected. Divorce and unwed motherhood are FAR more harmful to the American family than gay marriage ever could be. Instead of focusing on how to prevent some people from getting married, maybe we should focus on ways to discourage more people from getting divorced.
4.) The Constitution was never intended to serve as a tool of social engineering. If conservatives thought it was wrong to use a constitutional amendment to codify equal rights for my mom, my sisters, my wife and my daughters, why is it now OK to tinker with it to define marriage?
5.) Conservatives have strongly supported the 10th Amendment and oppose federal intervention in state issues where it has no jurisdiction. You cannot oppose federal intervention in a state dispute over displaying the 10 Commandments without equally opposing federal control over a quintessentially state issue such as marriage.
6.) FMA is a solution in search of a problem. No state court has yet to rule in favor of recognizing “gay marriages.” The Massachusetts Supreme Court *might* issue such a ruling later this year; but then again, it might not.
But even if one or more states or state courts DO recognize gay marriages, federal law (DOMA) already defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. And while FMA proponents say the Full Faith & Credit clause of the Constitution would force states to recognize gay marriages from other states, other legal scholars contend it won’t.
The bottom line is, we don’t yet have a constitutional or federal “problem” or even know if we ever WILL have such a problem. Shouldn’t we wait to see if something is broken before trying to fix it?
7.) FMA won’t work anyway. As Richard Lessner of the American Conservative Union points out, federal judges these days routinely ignore the original content of the Constitution. What makes anyone think they’ll abide by a new amendment?
8) It’ll likely lose. Recent polls show a majority of folks who oppose gay marriages also oppose a constitutional amendment to ban them. And although there’s a good chance of getting a 2/3 majority in Congress to pass such an amendment, it is highly unlikely that 3/4 of states would approve it.
9) For some opponents of gay marriage, the FMA is nothing but a fundraising ploy to stir up tears and fears to keep their organizations flush with cash. One should evaluate the rhetoric and arguments of FMA supporters with a jaundiced eye. Some have a financial stake in inflaming the masses on this issue even if it’s not in the nation’s best interest.
10) And lastly, what’s the real danger here? I mean, if gay “marriages” are recognized, does that somehow diminish my own marriage...or yours? No. Does that mean heterosexuals will suddenly stop pining for the opposite sex and “turn gay”? No. Will gay marriage mean men and women will stop having children and doom mankind to eventual extinction? Come on.
FMA is a huge camel’s nose under out constitutional tent. Conservatives should shut this effort down before it opens an even bigger can of worms.
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