My Dear Friends,
Really big news this morning: Newt Gingrich just signed onto to NOM's Marriage Pledge—leaving Ron Paul as the only major contender for the GOP nomination who has refused to do so.
Let's go to the good news first. Newt Gingrich has joined Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, and Michele Bachmann in committing to do five important things:
Support a federal marriage amendment, the only way to protect marriage.
Appoint an attorney general and Supreme Court justices who see marriage as the union of husband and wife.
Vigorously defend DOMA in court.
Appoint a presidential commission to investigate the increasing instances of threats to the person, property and livelihood of traditional marriage supporters.
Give back to the people of D.C. their right to vote for marriage, which the D.C. city government arbitrarily stripped from them.
Congrats to all the candidates who've shown they are willing to be marriage champions.
Now to the bad news: Ron Paul has dug in his heels, three weeks before Iowa holds its caucuses.
Last week, I mentioned that Paul's position on marriage is becoming increasingly hard to understand. Some of you Ron Paul fans (and I know he appeals to many social conservatives) wrote back to let me know how much you love the guy, and how hard you find it to believe that he is not really with us on the marriage issue.
Believe me, I understand. Ron Paul is a decent, honorable, and principled man who says a lot of things you and I agree with.
But I have to be an honest broker in this year's presidential contest, and I have to level with you and the press.
Ron Paul is just wrong on marriage.
It's not just that he refused to sign NOM's pledge. Ron Paul has refused to name one single thing he would do as President to prevent the courts from imposing gay marriage on all 50 states, including Iowa. He does not support the federal marriage amendment.
I'm not asking you to take my word on it. Here's the video where I ask him if he supports an FMA and he answers point blank, "no":
This is amazing given where we are today. Look, the idea that federal judges might overturn the will of the people of Iowa and other states isn't theoretical or hypothetical any more. A federal judge in California has already done it.
That case is now before the Ninth Circuit, which most people watching predict will issue a ruling in the next few weeks or months striking down Prop 8 and recognizing a federal right to gay marriage. Such a ruling would strike down the marriage amendments passed by votes of the people in Alaska, Arizona, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, as well as laws defining marriage as one man and one woman in the states of Washington and Hawaii—all states under the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit.
The Ninth Circuit's decision will next go up to the Supreme Court. Advocates of gay marriage are now determined to ask the Court to impose gay marriage on every state, whether we like it or not.
Ron Paul says he's for states' rights on marriage, but he has been unwilling to champion the rights of the people of California, who are locked in a battle right now with federal courts which seek to impose gay marriage on them without their consent.
We need a president who is willing to be a champion for marriage, to go toe-to-toe with the liberal elites who call this grotesque misuse of the U.S. Constitution a new "civil right."
But it gets worse than that with Ron Paul.
Ron Paul has repeatedly said that while he personally supports traditional marriage, he doesn't have a problem with allowing gay marriage.
Here's Ron Paul in a December 2007 interview with John Stossel:
John Stossel: "Homosexuality. Should gays be allowed to marry?"
Ron Paul: "Sure."
You find that hard to believe? So did I. Here's the video and the full transcript to put Ron Paul's answer in context, to be absolutely fair to him:
John Stossel: "Homosexuality. Should gays be allowed to marry?"
Ron Paul: "Sure."
John Stossel: "The State says, we believe in this?"
Ron Paul: "Sure, they can do whatever they want and they can call it whatever they want, just so they don't expect to impose their relationship on somebody else. They can't make me, personally, accept what they do, but they, gay couples can do whatever they want. In fact, I'd like to see all governments out of the marriage question. I don't think it’s a state function. I think it's a religious function. There was a time when only churches dealt with marriage, and they determined what it was. But 100 years or so ago for health reasons they claim that the state would protect us if we knew more about our spouses and we did health testing and you had to get a license to get married and I don't agree with that."
Here is Ron Paul again on July 14, 2007:
Interviewer: "So your position on issues like gay marriage, you would be supportive of that?"
Ron Paul: "I'm supportive of all voluntary associations and people can call it whatever they want."
Why? Because nobody has the right to "impose their marriage standards" on anyone else.
When an interviewer brought up these 2007 comments at the May 5, 2011 presidential debate, Paul didn't disavow or modify them:
Moderator: "Congressman Paul, in 2007 in an interview you were asked, should gays be allowed to marry? You said 'Sure. They can do whatever they want and call it whatever they want.' Are you advocating legalizing gay marriage in this country?"
Ron Paul: "Well, as a matter of fact I spent a whole chapter in a new book I've written on marriage and I think it's very important, and seeing that I've been married for 54 years now, but I think the government should just be out of it. It should be done by the church or private contract. We shouldn't have this argument, who's married and who isn't married. I have my standards but I shouldn't have to impose my standards on others. Other people have their standards and they have no right to impose their marriage standards on me. And I just don't like it. But if we want to have something to say about marriage it should be at the state level and not at the federal government. Just get the government out of it. It's one area where it's totally unnecessary and they've caused more trouble than necessary."
I don't know about you, but when someone asks a presidential candidate if gays should be allowed to marry, and the first words out of his mouth are "sure," I don't want that man to be president. Nor do I want a president who "explains" that response by adopting a radical, anything-goes understanding of marriage.
Here's what Ron Paul says about marriage in his book Liberty Defined, published this year, on pages 119-120:
"Everyone can have his or her own definition of what marriage means, and if an agreement or contract is reached by the participants, it would qualify as a civil contract if desired."
"There should essentially be no limits to the voluntary definition of marriage," page 120.
Polygamy? Sharia law on marriage? Paul hasn't been asked about these but the logic of his position implies, "Sure, fine, any contract you want."
Then there's Ron Paul's gaffe where he claims the government only got involved in marriage "a hundred years or so ago" for "health reasons" (the Dec. 2007 interview above—a claim he's repeated on several occasions).
In truth, before America was even a nation, we had laws about marriage. Back in 1648, one of the earliest legal charters, the "Laws and Liberties of 1648" not only acknowledges marriage, it actually gives judges the power to order marriage if a man or woman commits what was then the crime of fornication. (No, you same-sex marriage activists, court-ordered marriage is NOT a NOM position!)
Most states recognized some form of common-law marriage for much of our history, so in that sense licenses were not "required" for marriage. But formal registrations of marriage, and government definition of who can and cannot get married, have been the law and the norm in America since our very beginning.
Harvard professor Nancy Cott is a pretty liberal marriage historian. She testified against Prop 8, in fact. But Nancy Cott knows that, as the description of her book Public Vows put it, "From the founding of the United States to the present day, imperatives about the necessity of marriage and its proper form have been deeply embedded in national policy, law, and political rhetoric. Legislators and judges have envisioned and enforced their preferred model of consensual, lifelong monogamy—a model derived from Christian tenets and the English common law."
The presidential candidate who says otherwise simply does not know very much about marriage. (What New York Times op-ed did Ron Paul borrow that false factoid from? I don't know, but maybe this November 2007 piece by by leftist marriage scholar Stephanie Coontz, "Taking Marriage Private." Prof. Coontz has long argued that children don't need a mom and a dad, and that family structure doesn't matter; it's far more surprising to see this meme picked up by a presidential candidate for the GOP nomination.)
Why is government involved in marriage? Because the public interest in responsible procreation is so overwhelming. That's why you can't just make up your own private marriage contract that says: no children allowed. You can't write into your marriage contract a private right to commit adultery, and you can't embed Sharia law into the marriage contract either.
Paul's vision would not only fail to support marriage from the courts, it would radically destabilize marriage by entirely privatizing it, embracing not only gay marriage contracts but any kind of contract two (or more?) people want to call a marriage.
He hasn't yet been pushed about where he would draw the line—but given his support for legalizing prostitution, I would not be comfortable making predictions. Ron Paul's vision of marriage—at least as he's stated it so far, repeatedly, in public—is: anything goes.
I don't know about you, but I do not want a president who opposes a federal marriage amendment, who offers nothing to stop courts from imposing gay marriage—or one who, when asked if gays should be allowed to marry, starts his answer with, "Sure."
Let me repeat: Ron Paul is admirable man in a lot of ways. He's more or less pro-life, he has been married for 54 years, and he's that rarest of things, an honest politician, standing up for what he believes in over the years.
But in all honesty I have to report to you: Ron Paul does not believe in defending marriage, as the union of one man and one woman, from the federal courts.
Ron Paul is not a marriage champion.
You and I know that marriage is the union of husband and wife for a reason: We need these unions because they are the only kind which can make new life and connect those babies to a mom and a dad, who love each other and their children.
The American people deserve a candidate able and willing to stand up for our faith and our values, especially on the hottest hot-button issue of our time: gay marriage.
What awaits us and our liberty if we do not find a champion?
Tom Emmer, who ran for governor of Minnesota, knows. The faculty of Hamline University just vetoed his appointment as a professor at the business school, according to press accounts, because he supported the right of the people to vote for Minnesota's marriage amendment.
"Political bigotry," Emmer calls it.
More evidence that gay-marriage advocates believe in threatening the livelihoods of those who disagree with them.
We will be following that story and other stories closely on NOM's Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance website.
More proof that champions of liberty in this day and age need to be champions of marriage.
Thank you for all you do to stand up for God's truth about marriage, in your homes and in the public square.
Thank you—I'm in awe of all that we've been able to accomplish together.
Brian S. Brown
National Organization for Marriage
P.S. Will you stand up for marriage today? When you give to NOM—whether you can give $20 or $200—you are making sure that your voice and your values will be heard in the corridors of power.