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July 21, 2022

Conservatives and Same-Sex Marriage

Why are Republicans less and less willing to stand for the traditional definition of marriage?

Marriage: noun, the legal union of a man and a woman. For all of human history — since God created male and female and established marriage in the Garden of Eden — this was the operating definition of marriage, even if the abuse of polygamy sometimes distorted it. Not anymore.

Because “progressives” are never done changing and undermining legal and cultural institutions of every stripe, what began as the fashionable call for civil unions for same-sex couples soon became a civil rights-style battle for “equality.” Even then, these culture warriors didn’t win until they changed their branding to “love wins.” Once the leftists who run government, schools, media, and entertainment hammered home the propaganda that marriage is merely about being with someone you love, popular opinion swung, legal battles were won, and the building block of society was utterly redefined and undermined.

As Mark Alexander argued in his analysis of the Democrats’ strategy, leftists targeted marriage because “they understand that faith and family are the foundational pillars of American Liberty, the nemesis of their statist agenda.” He also noted that Democrats linked protection of homosexual “marriage” to protection of “interracial marriages,” though there is “not one subatomic particle of concern in any state that a legislature is preparing to outlaw interracial marriages…thus any Republican voting against it can be accused of opposing interracial marriages.”

Conservatives warned for years that legalizing same-sex marriage was a slippery slope to approval and celebration of other sexual deviancy because our culture was already a long way down the slope that started with the ‘60s sexual revolution. Indeed, here we are today arguing over whether a man can be the “woman of the year.”

But this also feels like an old battle no longer worth waging because it’s been over since 2015, when the Supreme Court via Obergefell v. Hodges overturned marriage laws and disenfranchised millions of voters in numerous states. Perhaps that’s why 47 House Republicans joined Democrats this week passing the laughably misnamed Respect for Marriage Act.

In September 1996, large bipartisan majorities of Congress passed and Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which was aimed at protecting the age-old definition of marriage for federal purposes. In hindsight, maybe the first cracks appeared because it was Bill Clinton signing a law defending marriage.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, is working to gain “the necessary Senate Republican support” for that chamber’s version of the Respect for Marriage Act, which repeals the Defense of Marriage Act. At least four GOP senators have signaled support.

Why are so many Republicans now on board with the Left’s sexual agenda?

At least in the case of marriage, the primary reason is probably stability. If the Supreme Court was ever to “reconsider” its Obergefell ruling the way Justice Clarence Thomas suggested while overturning Roe v. Wade, the societal implications would be large and few Republicans have the stomach for that — even after spending 50 years working to win on life.

The other big reason is simply political. As noted above, public opinion on same-sex marriage has swung wildly in favor of the Left’s redefinition, including among Republican voters. Therefore, these 47 Republicans concluded, it’s not worth giving Democrats a wedge issue before an election that should be a red wave. It’s not worth jeopardizing a seat in a swing district. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is well aware of this calculation.

Finally, an increasing number of conservative voices are either homosexual or pro-homosexual. This has influenced especially the younger generation to simply accept the Left’s redefinition of marriage as the end of the matter. Cultural conservatism is in some ways becoming less important to conservatives.

As our Jordan Candler put it, “Sure, indulging in the desires of the flesh might not seem as terrible a sin as killing an unborn baby, but there’s a tendency among folks on the Right to acquiesce to the Left when it comes to a certain cultural hot-button issue whose ramifications flood downstream.”

The problem with this acquiescence is that conservatives conserve things. It’s what we do. We fight for faith, family, and freedom because those things are the basis for most of what is good in this world. Our Creator designed us for all three, and we should defend them without hesitation or shame, no matter what the polling says. The truth hasn’t changed. Neither should we.

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