What I want GOP Candidates to Say About Marriage

Here is what I think the man or woman who wants to be president cannot say: any version of “the Court has ruled, it’s time to move on.”

Here is what I want to hear:

“Today the Supreme Court ruled against our history and traditions that marriage must change its timeless and time-honored meaning in response to the latest liberal pressures. The Supreme Court is not God, and it is not the final word in our American Constitutional system: The Court, like all human things, sometimes get things wrong. It was wrong about slavery with Dred Scott. It was wrong about racism and segregation with Plessy v. Ferguson. It was wrong about the value of every human life with Roe v. Wade. And today it has gotten marriage wrong.

“For a reason, marriage across time and history has been the union of husband and wife: These are the unions we all depend on to make new life, and to connect our babies with the love of their mom and dad. You can rewrite the law, but you cannot rewrite human nature, or the laws of nature and of nature’s God.

“This Court’s decision does not end the discussion of the dangers of radical judicial power.

“Today, I pledge that, if I am elected president, the move to redefine as discrimination Christianity and traditional beliefs on marriage — to redefine them as the equivalent of racism — ends. Gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose, but this same tolerance and respect must be extended to those who disagree with gay marriage. My first day in office I will issue an executive order preventing government from discriminating on the basis of a person’s commitment to the classic understanding of marriage. And within the first 100 days, we will pass legislation codifying that commitment to prevent government power from being used to silence the debate. The First Amendment Defense Act is a commonsense codification of basic decency and mutual respect. I call on not only the Republicans but Hillary Clinton and every other Democrat to pledge to support this law.

“And if they refuse, you will understand how radical a power grab the Democrats imagine: the power to punish classic, mainstream religious belief and push it out of the public square. The American people believe in mutual respect, in live and let live. I have faith that our cause, so named, will not only survive. It will prevail.

“To this great cause I pledge my word. I will not fail you, friends.”

Let us watch, and wait, and see who speaks with courage and who runs for cover.

AP Poll Finds Religious Rights Trump Gay Marriage

A surprise Associated Press poll finds that the public doesn’t believe government can force business owners to violate their religious beliefs as it is on gay marriage.  Asked whether “wedding related businesses” should be required to service same sex couples, voters said no, 52-45.  Similarly, when there is a conflict (between gay rights and religious liberties), voters chose religious liberties by a 56-40 margin.

The poll also showed a large enthusiasm gap between on the question of whether gay rights were “important.”  Only 27 percent labeled them “extremely” or “very” important while 47 percent labeled them “not very” or “not at all” important.  The gap was similar for religious liberty, with 50 percent labeling them “very important” while only 28 percent labeled them slightly or not at all.

You can read a full summary of the poll’s findings at The Pulse 2016.

Why I, Unlike Senator Rubio, Would Not Attend a Gay Wedding

Senator Marco Rubio, one of our most attractive and charismatic leaders in the rising generation, just announced he’s running for president. So naturally he’s being peppered with the one question uppermost in the minds of American voters: What do you think of gay marriage?

Rubio is getting this hit, in part, because he’s trying to negotiate a Third Way: He’s for traditional marriage but will “respect” the rights of states to disagree. He thinks states should have the right to decide the definition of marriage, but (unlike Ted Cruz) he refused to sign onto an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to leave the definition of marriage to the states, and he says he will “respect” whatever the Supreme Court decides.

Sensing weakness, the mainstream media like nothing more than to swarm around his third-wayness. So now Fusion asks Rubio that question that is always so urgent for a president of the United States: Would you attend a gay wedding?

I kind of wish he had pulled a Senator Rand Paul on this reporter. Do you really think people shouldn’t have the right to keep their jobs if they oppose gay marriage? Do you believe in live and let live, or do you believe in using gay marriage as a club to hurt ordinary Americans who happen to disagree?

But he chose to answer the question with great dignity and kindness. The video is here.

“If there’s somebody that I love that’s in my life, I don’t necessarily have to agree with their decisions or the decisions they’ve made to continue to love them and participate in important events,” he told the interviewer, Jorge Ramos. “Ultimately, if someone that you care for and is part of your family has decided to move in one direction or another or feels that way because of who they love, you respect that because you love them,” he said.

Rubio compared it to attending “second marriages” after divorce, which the Catholic Church teaches are attempts to consecrate adultery. “If someone gets divorced, I’m not going to stop loving them or having them a part of our lives,” he said.

Read the Full Article At the National Review Online

What Should Social Conservatives Ask of a Candidate?

A few months before the Supreme Court is likely to rule on gay marriage, the incidents causing concern about what gay marriage will mean for dissenters (especially traditional Christians, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims) multiply:

Gordon College students are banned from tutoring public-school students, because of the college’s embrace of standard orthodox Christian rules (no sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman); the request of its college president for a religious exemption from President Obama has now triggered a possible threat to its accreditation.

Meanwhile, Marquette University (a Jesuit institution) is attempting to strip Professor Scott McAdams of his tenure and his job because he blogged critically about the way a college instructor (and grad student) treated an anti-gay-marriage student.

Kelvin Cochran, whose rags-to-riches rise from Shreveport poverty to police chief of Atlanta is as inspiring as any, was fired for self-publishing for his Bible-study class a book that contains two paragraphs exhorting his fellow Christians to live by Biblical sexual values.

In Lafayette, Calif., parents of 14-year-old public-school students are suing because their children were asked in English class whether their parents would embrace them if they were gay — and then these Christian students were publicly shamed and humiliated when they supported their parents’ values.

A Ford Motor Company worker (contractor) was invited to comment on pro-gay-rights material circulated by the company — and then fired for leaving an anti-sodomy comment on the blog.

Note the similar strategies here: invite or force public comment and then discipline those who say the “wrong” thing.

[...] If the GOP would like to leave a legacy that makes a difference, I would argue for generous anti-discrimination protections for those who favor or oppose gay marriage (unless they work for an organization whose substantial purpose is to favor or oppose gay marriage).

Read the Full Article Here

Why Stick With Marriage?

Dear Friends,

My latest column on National Review is a response to two recent books by major family scholars Andrew Cherlin, and Isabel Sawhill–both of whom suggest we should give up on promoting marriage per se and promote stable committed relationships:

I explain why that is not a practical suggestion:

“In Generation Unbound, the Brookings Institution’s Isabel Sawhill regretfully says she no longer believes reviving marriage is possible for the less-educated two-thirds of America. The old marriage norm should be replaced with a new social script: It is wrong to have children that are unplanned. “The old norm was ‘don’t have a child outside of marriage.’ The new norm should be ‘don’t have a child before you want one and are ready to parent.’” How would a young adult know whether he or she is “ready”? Like Cherlin, Sawhill retreats to the idea of “commitment”: “For most people it means completing their education, having a steady job, and having a committed partner.”

Here’s my problem with this nice-sounding new script: I think the majority of young people who have children outside marriage are already doing that, to the best of their limited youthful abilities.

Sixty percent of births to unwed mothers, as Sawhill notes, are to cohabiting women. Most of the recent increase in single motherhood has come from increasing births to women who are cohabiting, not solo moms.

The problem with retreating from marriage as a bright line is that, in practical terms, young women in love are not very good at figuring out whether or not they are in a committed relationship.

A 2008 study by Kathryn Kost and colleagues, found that . . . .cohabitation is one of the most serious risk factors for contraceptive “failure.” In 2002, one out of five cohabiting women reported contraceptive “failure,” double the risk for married women. Compared with never-married or divorced single women, only cohabiting women had a significantly higher risk of contraceptive failure than married women.”

Retreating from marriage to “stable relationships” doesn’t work because cohabiting women believe they are in stable loving relationships, that is one reason they aren’t that motivated to prevent birth. I end with a modest proposal:

“[T]he truth is we simply haven’t tried to do very much to encourage marital childbearing in this country. Before we give up completely, may I suggest one idea that would cost virtually no money at all and would involve no new government program?”

Read the rest of the story here.

The Mormon Advantage

With even New York Times columnists and distinguished social scientists like Andrew J. Cherlin reinforcing the core truth that the retreat from marriage is causing core inequalities in the opportunities of millions of American children, it is worth asking: Who is doing a better job at sustaining a marriage culture?

A fascinating data dump by the Austin Institute sheds unique new light on this question.

Research on the relationship between religion and family has been complicated by the fact that, today, religious affiliation tells you relatively little about what people believe or how they behave. Many people are cultural, not religious, when it comes to their religious affiliation, which makes it harder to see what impact attendance and the teaching that takes place in houses of worship has on marriage and family behavior.

But the scholars who produced the Austin Institute’s newly released Relationships in America interviewed 15,000 people, and by most measures of belief and practice, the winner is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, or Mormons).

Read the Full Article Here

Maggie Gallagher Quoted on Synod Agenda

The current crisis in marriage and family life arises from “a cult of momentary well-being,” stated Cardinal Peter Erdö, the relator general of the 2014 Synod of the Family. In his opening speech, one which traditionally sets the tone for the whole synod, the Cardinal emphasized that “many look upon their lives not as a life-long endeavour but a series of moments in which great value is placed on feeling good … . The future appears threatening, because it may happen that in the future we will feel worse.”

This view of the current marriage crisis is shared by Maggie Gallagher, founder of the National Organization for Marriage and the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. “Too many of us no longer believe it is possible to make a lifetime vow of love and live up to it,” so we become trapped in “alienation from our deepest longings,” she explained.

Read the Full Article at Aleteia

Christian Post: Panel Finds Religious Freedom Can Unite Libertarians and Social Conservatives

WASHINGTON — With conservative Christians and libertarians sharing common ideologies that stand against big government and federal overreaching, the two groups’ need to put aside their few differences and unite in order to defeat a Democratic agenda that “assaults” American liberties, a panel of prominent social conservatives agreed Saturday.

Speaking at a Family Research Council panel at the Values Voters Summit in Washington D.C.,a social conservative pollster, political commentator and campaign advisor for Sen. Rand Paul, R- Ky., discussed the importance of getting the two ideological groups on the same voting path to solidify their stances against issues like big-government overeaches and infringement on personal and religious liberties.

…”For me, the separation [of the two groups] has always been a little odd,” conservative commentator Maggie Gallagher said. “A lot of the tensions that we are experiencing between social conservatives and libertarians, some of it is specific to the issue of gay marriage. A lot of it comes from the perception by many libertarian donors that social issues is what is holding the Republican Party back.”

However, Conway added that libertarians and social conservatives mostly agree on their stance against abortion. While not all libertarians are pro-life, Stafford agreed with Conway by saying that more libertarians are pro-life than people realize.

Read the Full Article Here

NRO: No Wave for the GOP

Republicans need to fire the consultants who urge the party to mute social issues. 

The latest polls suggest the GOP now has only a 50–­50 chance of retaking the Senate.

There needs to be a mass layoff — of highly paid GOP consultants. Otherwise we risk a repeat of 2012, when overconfident Republicans in the middle of the worst economy since the 1970s became convinced that all they had to do to win was not be Obama. And they lost.

Romney’s strategy was simple. On the social issues, avoid, downplay, mute. On the economic issues, sound vague, promise to help job creators, and wait for the other team to self-destruct.

The RNC’s “autopsy” of the 2012 election reinforced the idea that doing more of what didn’t work would be the pathway to victory. If only we add more women and more diverse ethnicities to the GOP ticket while avoiding Akin-esque gaffes, we can win. “Don’t do stupid stuff,” while always good advice, is no more a winning strategy for the GOP than it is a foreign policy for a great nation.

It didn’t work then, and it is not working now.

In the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove acknowledged that despite the horrible environment for Democrats “a GOP senate majority is still in doubt.” Why? The Architect is convinced that his model is sound — donors just need to open their wallets to the consultants to script more TV ads.

While Democrats are out-spending Republicans, and GOP donors should take notice and correct this, the relatively narrow spending gap would not make the difference in a wave election.

Take Monica Wehby’s struggling campaign in Oregon. The state is an outlier for Republicans today, so a Wehby victory there would represent a profound rejection of Democrats. Perhaps that is not to be expected. But she is the perfect test case for the RNC “autopsy” strategy: an attractive professional single mom who is pro-choice, and now pro–gay marriage. The Koch brothers have spent $1.6 million in TV ads, and yet Wehby’s poll numbers show she is losing ground. I think economic ads like this one are part of the reason why:

Read the Full Article Here