Marriage is the fundamental building block of all human civilization. All Americans, especially conservatives, should respect this crucial institution of civil society. This is why 41 states and the federal government affirm that marriage is between a man and a woman.
But these laws are on the line. Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in cases that challenge the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8. The Court should uphold these laws and respect the constitutional authority of citizens and their elected officials to make marriage policy.
Next Tuesday, March 26, as the Supreme Court hears these cases, thousands will come to our nation’s capital to March for Marriage.
Make your voice heard in support of marriage between a man and a woman—and urge the Court to respect your constitutional authority. We don’t need an activist Court creating a Roe v. Wade on marriage.
Last Thursday, at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Senator DeMint highlighted the importance of marriage for America and limited government, and stressed the unity of social and fiscal conservatism:
We cannot hope to limit government if we do not stand up for our core civil society institutions, beginning with marriage. Marriage is the foundation of America’s cultural stability and economic prosperity, and the courts have no business overruling the people’s democratic decisions in the states. People can love whom they want and live the way they choose, but no one is entitled to redefine a foundational institution of civil society that has existed for centuries.
In two weeks, the Supreme Court will hear arguments against the right of states to protect marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Judicial activism is to blame for the Court even considering these cases. The Supreme Court should uphold these laws. It must recognize that the American people should make these decisions, not unelected judges.
We are told that the social issues divide Americans and that we should stop talking about them. We cannot.
Economic and social conservatism go hand-in-hand. They’re natural allies.
Perhaps you heard the news on Friday that Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced he now supports redefining marriage to include same-sex couples. You can read the Heritage response here. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) responded by reiterating support for marriage as the union of a man and a woman. As we’ve explained, marriage matters for America and conservatism. Meanwhile, a broad and diverse array of scholars has filed more than 50 amicus briefs defending marriage at the Supreme Court.
And as Bill Beach and I show, we can craft policy that benefits all Americans without redefining marriage at all. Sometimes it’s as simple as repealing a bad tax.
We are only now beginning to have a national conversation about marriage. The people of France are already having this debate in their country. The Supreme Court cases provide a unique window of opportunity to explain what marriage is and why it matters. And all Americans need to be equipped for this conversation.
Working with the National Organization for Marriage, the Alliance Defending Freedom, and the Family Research Council, Heritage has produced a short pamphlet making the case for marriage in everyday language. It helps you articulate what your heart knows. And it walks you through the most frequently asked questions—the things you’re likely to hear from neighbors and friends. You can read and download the pamphlet online.
To better understand what is at stake, check out these resources. Last week Heritage published a new Backgrounder: “Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It.” With my co-authors Robert P. George and Sherif Girgis, we’ve filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court on the consequences of redefining marriage. We’ve also just published a book making the case for marriage: What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.
Americans and their elected officials have constitutional authority to make marriage policy. When Americans hear the case for marriage as the union of a man and a woman and its importance to children and limited government, by and large they support it and stand for this timeless institution. All Americans, especially conservatives, should make the case for marriage. And the Supreme Court should respect our constitutional authority to do so.
Ryan T. Anderson is the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at The Heritage Foundation.
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