It Takes One to Know One: Activist Groups that Sued for Same-Sex Marriage are Same Groups Peddling Fear about Suits Against Same-Sex Marriage
The Senate is expected to wrap up its vote on S.4556, the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act,” this week. All votes so far have been to advance the bill. Senators will now vote on the bill itself. There is an amendment supported by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Minnesota), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) to include references to religious liberty that unfortunately falls short of accomplishing anything significant.
Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC), the nation’s largest public policy organization for women, has been sharing its opposition to the bill and the amendment. We are defending the merits of God-designed marriage in the halls of Congress. We are letting Senators know that the bill does not just codify same-sex marriage; it codifies a prohibition against preferring to place adoptive and foster kids in husband-wife households. The self-styled religious liberty amendment continues to leave wedding vendors like cakebaker Jack Phillips and website designer Lori Smith in the cold. Faith-based child welfare service providers remain vulnerable to litigation related to placing kids in traditional families. The Act gives activists renewed momentum.
There are precious few days on the legislative calendar. Why is Congress spending it on codifying same-sex marriage?
Activist groups have successfully drowned out every other priority. It is not just about conservative versus liberal policy. One priority drowned out is child welfare. Leftist activists appear unwilling to ask Congress to spend its time on even ideologically center-left child-focused legislation like the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. And Congress is apparently willing to let its priorities be decided by the leftists even though, as explained earlier, the rights and benefits for same-sex marriage are under no threat. Congress is not even taking time to pass the the annual defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, during these last few days of the legislative calendar. These are lost days and weeks for votes on policies that help America and its families.
The leftist rally for codification of same-sex marriage comes from insecurity. The Left has long used courts rather than legislatures to make radical changes in policy. But this way of policymaking is unstable, is subject to the whim of activist judges, and requires constant maintenance.
Thus, activists push for codification in the Respect for Marriage Act. They point to Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurrence in the historic overturning of Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization as impetus for the Respect for Marriage Act. Activists waive Justice Thomas’ nonbinding opinion in the air because it accurately describes the right to same-sex marriage as being another court-created right. They overlook the majority opinion limiting the scope of Dobbs to the overturn of the court-created right to abortion. They peddle fear, like the American Civil Liberties Union, which described “the right to marry potentially at risk.”
It is a classic case of “takes one to know one.” The activists are paranoid about being sued out of the right to same-sex marriage because they sued into the right to same-sex marriage. Observe the number of cases after United States v. Windsor (2013)—which held the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional—and leading up to Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)—which held that the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires states to license and recognize same-sex marriages. In 2013, there were at least 17 lawsuits challenging marriage amendments in state constitutions, many of which were filed shortly after Windsor.
The same shortcut that activists used to get power is now their downfall. To close the gap, they have taken hold of the legislative calendar. Untold riches are spent to advance the radical individualism of the pro-abortion and gender ideology agenda. Imagine if they put it towards policies that help families instead.
At CWALAC, we continue to fight the good fight for marriage. But we do not lose sight of why government is involved in marriage in the first place. Foremost, marriage policy must build strong foundations for kids and families. Thus, we have spent almost as much time—if not more—advocating for policies like the Standing With Moms Act by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and the Unborn Child Support Act by Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota). The Unborn Child Support Act incentivizes states to have a child support program that provides for costs of parenting that many know begin well before the baby’s first birthday. The Standing With Moms Act, which CWALAC worked closely with legislative staff to create, would create a website called life.gov that would list local resources available for expectant moms and families at all levels of government and the private sector.
Twelve senators who traditionally support religious liberty policy voted to advance the Respect for Marriage Act. We are clear-eyed about the likelihood that they will vote to pass the bill. But we will continue to dutifully make the case for the sake of advancing pro-family policy at the federal and state level.