Dear Marriage Supporter,
It is always good at the end of a year to take a look back and reflect on some of the highlights. There has been a lot of movement in the battle over the definition of marriage this past year, and it seems like every one of the 52 weeks of 2014 brought another development—some good, some bad.
I was interested in what marriage news stories from 2014 garnered the most attention, and so this week I had our staff research what were the most accessed items on the NOMblog this year. The results, I think, provide a useful snapshot of what this past year has meant in the fight to preserve and defend marriage—and they also serve as a good indicator of what the new year may bring!
So here are five of the top headlines of 2014 as determined by you, our readers:
On November 6th, news came down that the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit had ruled to uphold the traditional marriage laws of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The press release that NOM issued and posted to our blog quickly became one of the top-read items of the year.
The majority opinion by Justice Jeffrey Sutton was a pivotal moment for marriage in 2014, as it developed a split in the Circuit Courts that makes it very likely the Supreme Court will review the issue of marriage in the new year.
The opinion is noteworthy because of the solid argument it provides for why marriage rationally should be protected and upheld in law, but also for the way in which the decision takes to task other federal courts that have violated the democratic process by cutting short a lively public policy debate about marriage.
"Process and structure matter greatly in American government," Justice Sutton wrote. "Indeed, they may be the most reliable, liberty assuring guarantees of our system of government, requiring us to take seriously the route the United States Constitution contemplates for making such a fundamental change to such a fundamental social institution."
In August, Professor Mark Regnerus published a blockbuster study about how support for same-sex ‘marriage' among Christians is linked to an abandonment of other moral and ethical norms traditionally held by people of faith.
The study showed that even among church-going Christians, support for redefining marriage was associated with such unorthodox views as these:
- Viewing pornography is OK
- Premarital co-habitation is good
- No-string-attached sex is OK
- Marital infidelity is sometimes OK
- It is OK for 3+ adults to live in a sexual relationship
- Abortion rights are a positive thing
The study served as a wake-up call for Christians and others who were made to realize that redefining marriage is part of a broader social agenda and not a "live and let live" proposition.
In October, the Supreme Court made news by declining to take several cases from lower courts asking its review of decisions overturning State marriage amendments in several circuits.
NOM's press release condemning the move expressed what I am sure were the frustrations of many that day, and that is probably why this became one of the top-read stories of 2014.
The court erred in allowing the lower court rulings to stand, effectively countenancing the disenfranchisement of so many millions of voters across the country. But in the press release we predicted—rightly—that the then-pending case before the 6th Circuit would eventually go in our favor, and the Supreme Court would be forced to look at this matter again.
Sure enough, as we've already seen, the 6th Circuit did rule in favor of marriage and citizens' rights to act to protect it, and now that case and several others are scheduled for consideration by the Supreme Court in early January. We will know soon in the new year whether the Supreme Court will accept those cases and schedule them for hearing.
In the meantime, though, the Supreme Court's inaction in October did serve as an important reminder to us and to the American people that we need to engage the political process to try to take back our rightful constitutional powers from a tyrannical judiciary. We called on Americans to get out the vote in November and elect pro-marriage candidates in response to the October debacle at the Supreme Court—and the voters did just that! Which leads us to number two on our list...
"In red states and blue, candidates who supported marriage as the union of one man and one woman won election and those who didn't were rejected by voters. The Republican Party should take note that their nominees who favored gay 'marriage' were opposed by NOM and they were resoundingly defeated."
This paragraph was part of the press statement we released following the mid-term elections, and despite pundits calling this cycle a "wave election" reacting to an unpopular president, it is clear that our readers knew there was more to the story, as this climbed to the second-most accessed news item of the year on our site.
The "wave election" theory simply didn't fit the facts. The rising tide didn't raise the boats for Monica Wehby, or Carl DiMaio, or Richard Tisei—three Republican candidates whose support for redefining marriage and for abortion-on-demand brought them defeat on election day. NOM had vociferously opposed these candidates, and the voters weren't fooled by their claims to "conservatism."
NOM also greatly aided in the successful election of US Senate Candidates Thom Tillis (NC) and Tom Cotton (AR) whose advocacy for marriage was most certainly a component in their winning hotly-contested seats in office. We funded a statewide television buy in each race, helping it make the difference, especially in the Tillis race, which was the closest in the nation.
Reflecting upon the elections reminds us that our work in 2015 will include a vigorous legislative agenda to defend marriage and religious liberty and try to reign in an out-of-control judiciary that has too long gone unchecked. I am honored to give voice to your values in Washington, DC and to work on your behalf to hold the newly-elected Congress accountable to the pro-marriage constituency across America.
But the affairs of Washington, DC matter to us mostly because at the end of the day the chickens come home to roost: the politics and policy matters on the national stage ultimately make their effects felt closer to home. "All politics is local," as they say. And that's probably what propelled the final story in this wrap-up to number one on the list. It was far and away the most-accessed story on our blog this year, with twice as many views as the nearest competitor...
The heart-rending story of Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of "Sweet Cakes by Melissa" in Oregon, clearly resonated with our readers. The couple were not only forced out of business due to legal action brought by a lesbian couple whose wedding celebrations they declined to take part in, but they were also saddled with a $150,000 fine for supposedly violating Oregon's public accommodations law!
Amidst their trials, though, the Kleins served as an inspiration and an example of the courage we need to face the radical same-sex ‘marriage' agenda and its hostility and intolerance. The couple's appearance at Values Voter Summit was a highlight of the event, and gave a sympathetic face to those who suffer discrimination and bullying due to their pro-marriage values.
On their Facebook page, they posted this eloquent paragraph, a bit of wisdom that many more in our society need to understand and take to heart:
Our culture has accepted 2 huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone's lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. Second is that to love someone means that you must agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don't have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.
Recalling the Kleins' struggle mustn't get us down or discourage us, though. Indeed, when we look back on this year, their story may well be part of a story about how 2014 was the year Christians and others began to stand up and say "enough is enough."
We rang in the new year of 2014 celebrating the reinstatement of Phil Robertson to the hit A&E reality show Duck Dynasty after the network had removed him for publicly expressing his Biblically-based values. We have seen, more recently, an outpouring of support for the Duggars of 19 Kids and Counting after they were targeted by bullying activists for their own faith-based beliefs.
And when activists helped persuade the World Vision ministry to announce that they would welcome same-sex "spouses" among their ministry, a huge outcry from the grassroots resulted in a near-immediate reversal of course, and an apology to faithful Christians for having made such a mistake by stepping away from a core belief. The lesson from the World Vision episode is not that a renowned ministry was led astray in an attempt to accommodate the culture, but that they were so forcefully called to account by a Christian community that continues to embrace the truth of marriage.
Most heartening of all to recall is the huge groundswell of support for the "Houston 5"—the pastors who stood up to the Houston mayor when she tried to subpoena their internal church communications as part of a campaign of intimidation and harassment. Once again, the reaction from the grassroots forced the mayor to completely capitulate and abandon her ill-advised attack on these pastors.
We live in a time when those who wish to redefine marriage and their sycophants in the media miss no opportunity to tell us that the battle is essentially over, that history is on their side and that the views of the citizens have changed. This is a future that these activists hope for, but it is decidedly not the future they will encounter. The reason we know this is because whenever they put their version of the future to the test, it is rejected by the American people.
I am encouraged by the victories and the bright moments of the past twelve months as we head into 2015, because they remind me that the cause of marriage is still very much alive, and we have good reason to hope for even more successes in the new year!
With that reminder then, please accept my wishes for a happy and blessed new year for you and your family, and my thanks for continuing to work with NOM to defend marriage and family in 2015!
Brian S. Brown
P.S.: If you did not have an opportunity to make your year-end gift to NOM, please do so today. It will still be counted towards the matching gift, giving us a nice boost to start 2015.
This message has been authorized and paid for by the National Organization for Marriage, 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006, Brian Brown, President. This message has not been authorized or approved by any candidate.