Allen B. West

Surprise! I don’t completely support the Defense of Marriage Act

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This week the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will hear a case on same-sex marriage. At the crux of the argument is the demand that states without same-sex marriage be forced to accept the marriages of same-sex couples from another state that does accept it. It could be a very definite challenge to the aspect of federalism in America. Once again, in full disclosure, I support civil unions and stand by the belief that marriage is defined as a bonding relationship between one man and one woman. I do not want to see our Constitution, namely the 14th Amendment, Section I, be used as a pawn in advancing “equal protection under the law” clause.

The 14th Amendment, passed by a Republican Congress, was developed for the sole purpose of protecting the new American citizens who were once slaves – and made citizens by the 13th Amendment. Now, through legalistic maneuvering, the 14th Amendment is being used for women to enter America illegally and give birth in order to retain occupation here in our Republic – the “anchor baby” practice.

But this week’s SCOTUS hearing on same-sex marriage will be interesting and it seems we have come full circle from the Clinton administration and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

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But what is even more interesting is a House floor speech given by one Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) who was against DOMA — but made an astonishing comment.

As reported by CNSnews.com, “On July 12, 1996, when the U.S. House of Representatives was debating the Defense of Marriage Act, Rep. Barney Frank (D.-Mass.), who opposed the act, argued that government did in fact have a duty to “enforce morality in interpersonal relations.” DOMA, which was signed by President Bill Clinton, defined marriage for federal purposes as the legal union of one man and one woman. It also protected states from having to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states. Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. In this case, the Obama administration is arguing, through the solicitor general’s office, that the Constitution requires all states to recognize same-sex marriages. “Yes, there is a role for morality in government. Of course there is,” said Frank, during the DOMA debate. “The government has an absolute overriding duty to enforce morality in interpersonal relations.”

I know, hard to believe right? Now look, you cannot legislate morality, I know that, but you cannot force the sexual preferences and behavior of one group upon another. But it seems that the state is now dead-set on doing such and eschewing the standard of federalism in order to make that happen.

And if you don’t believe that Rep. Frank said those words, here is an excerpt of his speech:

“No one has come forward and said, can you please arrange so that the Republican Party and the House of Representatives will express their approval of my lifestyle. That is not a request I have ever gotten nor expect to get. What people have said is, can I regularize this relationship so we are le legally responsible for each other. Can I get to the point where if one of us gets very ill we will be protected in our ability to undertake financial responsibilities? Can we buy property jointly? Can we do the other things that people do? Can we decide that one will work and one might be in child rearing, there are people who have children in these relationships. That is what they are asking for. What kind of an almost totalitarian notion is it to say that whatever the Government permits, it sanctions and approves? That is what is clear. Yes, there is a role for morality in Government. Of course there is. The Government has an absolute overriding duty to enforce morality in interpersonal relations. We have a moral duty to protect innocent people from those who would impose on them. That is a very important moral duty.”

What Rep. Frank spoke of could be achieved by civil unions — marriage is not a right, it is a privilege. And the entity that grants that privilege is the state, so the federal government should not be forcing anything upon the states in this arena.

If I had been a Member of Congress at the time DOMA was brought forth, I may not have supported the measure based on the ideal of federalism. The issue of same-sex unions should be debated and decided at the state level. And where the voting electorate in the state has decided based on referendum of the people, then activist judges should not feel it is their “right” to overturn that referendum based on their misguided conception of social justice or social egalitarianism. Not all things in a society are equal, nor are they intended to be made so by the whims of a few by way of judicial process.

No one should be discriminated against based on sexual preference, but one’s sexual preferences should not enable him, her (or other) to make demands on a society. I am still trying to understand what defines a “gay right?” All I know is that all of us in America have the unalienable rights granted from our Creator of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

And if one’s pursuit of happiness is to be with someone of the same-sex, I fully support that right — heck, I served 22 years in the Army to protect that right. However, that pursuit of happiness cannot be used as a hammer to pound away at the First Amendment freedoms of others — namely their religious beliefs and the free exercise thereof. Government has a moral duty to protect that freedom and not seek to impose its will against its citizenry.

Let’s move past this debate and ask this question — will the SCOTUS have to decide that since a person who resides in Colorado or Washington state has legalized marijuana, then anyone from those states should be able to smoke marijuana legally in any other state? If it is permissible is those states, why is it not permissible in others — after all, is that not a behavioral choice and the individual is demanding “equal protection under the law?” Or what if one state were to allow polygamy, then go to the SCOTUS and demand ALL states recognize the polygamous relationship. And don’t tell me this isn’t possible.

I wish for the day when we stop running to the courts to justify our lives and give us what we want. At some time there has to be a restoration of good ol’ common sense and intuitive cognizance. Instead, everyone wants to maneuver the law in a manner which meets their own special interest — sorry, race and gender are not special interests.

It will be interesting to hear what the SCOTUS decides later this year when the decision is released. And regardless of the outcome, the debate on this topic will be far from over — why? Because it has become a highly politicized topic. And my hope is that everyone reads this entire piece and thinks, rather than having the same ol’ typical flash-bang reaction. Then again, this is what our culture and society in America has become — a collection of fast food-mentality thinkers.

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