Unprincipled Republicans Vote FOR the Disrespect for Marriage Act
Unprincipled Republicans Vote FOR the Disrespect for Marriage Act
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   07.23.22
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Since the unconstitutional Roe was overturned, leftists have been roiling in rage at the thought that states are now free to enact the will of the people with regard to killing humans in the womb. In his concurrence, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas argued that three other Supreme Court cases should be revisited in that they too lacked constitutional grounding—an argument made also by the esteemed Antonin Scalia and Robert Bork.

One of the decisions Thomas believes should be revisited is the Obergefell decision that imposed same-sex “marriage” on the entire country, robbing states—that is, the people—of their right to decide if intrinsically non-marital relationships should be legally recognized as marriages. And so, leftists livid at the prospect of diverse states one day being free to enact marriage laws in accordance with the will of the people, are trying to take that right away preemptively through federal legislation.

This week the U.S. House of Representatives passed the laughably named “Respect for Marriage Act” (H.R. 8404)—a bill that doesn’t merely disrespect marriage; it is hostile to marriage. The bill, which would overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, now goes to the U.S. Senate.

Forty-seven Republicans voted for it, including Adam Kinzinger, Liz Cheney, Rodney Davis, Tom Emmer (chair of National Republican Congressional Committee), Darrell Issa, Elise Stefanik (U.S. House Republican Conference chair), and Lee Zeldin. Any Republican who doesn’t understand the essential role of the nuclear family—that is, mother, father, and children—to the health and future of any society doesn’t deserve to serve in government.

The Defense of Marriage Act—which all U.S. House Democrats and 47 “Republicans” detest—defines marriage in federal law “as between a man and a woman and spouse as a person of the opposite sex.” In contrast, the Disrespect for Marriage Act recognizes in federal law “any marriage that is valid under state law.”

Note that this means that once Utah, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, or any other nutty state recognizes plural unions as marriages, the federal government will be forced to recognize plural unions as marriages.

While there is a provision requiring states to recognize marriages from other states, that provision specifically limits the type of marriages that must be recognized to those composed of two people. No such limit is placed on the federal government in the Disrespect for Marriage Act.

While some naïfs among us may view this as an oversight, others see it as intentional—an interim step to the legal recognition of plural unions from sea to darkening sea.

Marriage is something. It has a nature. And words have meanings.

As I wrote four years ago, let’s try a little thought experiment. Let’s imagine that now, after legally recognizing intrinsically non-marital same-sex unions as “marriages,” society notices that there remains a unique type of relationship that is identified by the following features: it is composed of two people of major age who are not closely related by blood, are of opposite sexes, and engage in the only kind of sexual act that is naturally procreative. We decide that as language-users there must be a term to identify this particular, commonplace, and cross-cultural type of relationship. Let’s call it “huwelijk.”

In this thought experiment in which the term “marriage” would denote the union of two people of the same sex and “huwelijk” would denote the union of two people of opposite sexes—both of which provide the same legal protections, benefits, and obligations—does anyone believe that homosexuals would accept such a distinction?

Homosexuals would not accept such a linguistic distinction. They would not accept it even if they enjoyed all the practical benefits society historically accorded to sexually complementary couples and even if their unions were legally recognized as marriages.

Homosexuals would not tolerate such a legal distinction because their tyrannical quest for universal approval of homoerotic relationships cannot be achieved unless they obliterate all distinctions—including linguistic distinctions—between homosexual unions and heterosexual unions. Homosexuals—whose unions are naturally sterile—would not tolerate any term that signifies the naturally procreative union between one man and one woman.

Severing marriage from both biological sex and reproductive potential renders marriage irrelevant as a public institution. The most salient aspects of marriage as an institution sanctioned by the government are not subjective feelings of affection and sexual attraction. The government has no vested interest in the private subjective feelings of marriage partners.

The government has a vested interest in the public good. What serves the public good is the welfare of future generations. And what best serves future generations is providing for the needs and protecting the rights of children, which includes their right to be raised by a mother and father, preferably their own biological parents.

If marriage were solely a private institution concerned only with emotional attachments and sexual desire, as homosexuals claim it is, then there would be no reason for the government to be involved. There would be no more justification for government regulation of marriage than there is for government regulation of platonic friendships. And there would be no legitimate reason to prohibit plural marriages.

If the claim of homosexuals that marriage has no intrinsic, necessary, and rational connection to the biological sex of partners or to reproductive potential are true, then there remains no rational basis for the belief that marriage has anything to do with romantic or erotic feelings.

Why is marriage any longer conceived of as a romantic and erotic union? If marriage is severed from biological sex and from reproductive potential and if love is love, then why can’t a loving platonic relationship between three BFF’s be recognized as a marriage? Why can’t the platonic relationship between a 40-year-old soccer coach and his 13-year-old soccer star be deemed a marriage? If “progressives” can jettison the single most enduring and cross-cultural feature of marriage—sexual differentiation—then on what basis can they conceptually retain any other feature, including the notion that marriage is a romantic/erotic union? While eroticism may be important to intimate partners, of what relevance is naturally sterile erotic activity to the government’s interest in marriage as now construed?

When Leftists assert that “love is love,” they really mean that the moral status of erotic activity between two men or two women is no different from the moral status of sexual activity between a man and a woman. If the claim that “love is love,” is true, then there is no rational basis for thinking that there exist types of relationships in which eroticism has no legitimate place. If that’s the case, then why isn’t it morally permissible for all types of relationships to include erotic activity? If all loving relationships are identical (i.e., “love is love”), then why can’t all loving relationships include erotic activity? And if love is love, and marriage has no intrinsic nature, then it’s anything. And if it’s anything, it’s nothing.

If, however, there are different forms of love, some of which ought not include erotic activity, how do leftists determine when love ought not be eroticized?

Marriage is in tatters, but leftists want those tatters torched. Next up from “progressive” pyros: “eliminating the binary”—of marriage. Polyamorists are on the move. “Progressives” just love the smell of napalm all day long.

Take ACTION: H.R. 8404 may be taken up in the U.S. Senate soon**. Please take a moment to speak out to our two U.S. Senators to ask them to vote to protect the Defense of Marriage Act and vote NO to H.R. 8404. Remind them, “The government has no interest in inherently non-reproductive types of relationships. The government has no more interest in inherently non-reproductive erotic relationships than it does in platonic friendships.”

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin
Phone: (202) 224-2152

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth
Phone: (202) 224-2854

Please send a message and then follow up with a phone call early next week.

**UPDATE: According to various news sources, the U.S. Senate vote on H.R. 8404 has been pushed back to September.

Listen to this article read by Laurie:

Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins was the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008 through early 2023. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years in Deerfield High School’s writing center in Deerfield, Illinois. Her cultural commentaries have been carried on a number of pro-family websites nationally and internationally, and Laurie has appeared on numerous radio programs across the country. In addition, Laurie has spoken at the Council for National Policy and educational conferences sponsored by the Constitutional Coalition. She has been married to her husband for forty-four years, and they have four grown children...
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