Courage and Cowardice - Contrasting Characters


National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

A review of this week's news in the marriage movement presents a contrasting character study between cowardly careerists who sell out their constituents to the aggressive marriage redefinition lobby, and courageous defenders of the truth about marriage who are unafraid to stand up and speak on its behalf.

Nevada Folds a Good Hand

The first profile in cowardice is in the state of Nevada, where this week the Attorney General and the Governor withdrew their defense of that state's marriage laws against a legal challenge by gay activists.

The Democratic Attorney General, Catherine Cortez Masto, filed a brief opining that Nevada's present law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman — an amendment passed by the voters of the state in 2002 — is likely to fail before the bench of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Republican Governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval, then issued a written statement to the press saying that he agreed with Masto's analysis.

But they are wrong.

Masto cited as reasoning an earlier case decided by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit led by the notorious Judge Stephen Reinhardt. The previous case involved jury selection and the legality of peremptory strikes of homosexual jury candidates.

First off, it isn't even clear that that case applies here at all. Second, the Circuit's decision to apply strict scrutiny to homosexuals as a protected class is dubious, because of conflict with other standing legal precedent. But even if that higher scrutiny were applied here, Nevada still has an eminently winnable case. The fact is that, under Nevada law, marriage isn't discriminating against anyone on the basis of sexual orientation: rather, in Nevada's law marriage is in its very definition only the union of a man and a woman. It is biology, not bigotry.

Nonetheless, even though they had a good legal hand, Nevada's leaders folded and walked away from the table. Masto and Sandoval have not only turned their backs on their sworn oaths to protect Nevada's constitution, but they have committed a cowardly act of betrayal against Nevada's voters who chose to protect marriage just over a decade ago.

Legislature Fails to Pass the Ball to Hoosier Voters

In Indiana, while the process is still not complete, it looks like the people have been betrayed by weak willed politicians. Despite 80% of the voters wanting the right to vote on marriage and despite years of promises, the Indiana legislature chose to 'kick the can down the road' by not restoring the 'second sentence' to the proposed Indiana Marriage Amendment. Because of this, it is very likely that the earliest voters can have a say will be 2016. NOM will continue to partner with our allies in Indiana, exploring various options for still getting a vote in 2014 and, failing that, to hold accountable the Representatives and Senators who betrayed their constituents and denied them the right to vote on marriage this year.

In Kentucky, Fried Logic

A third profile of cowardice comes in Kentucky this week, where a federal judge handed gay activists a prize decision — and you might say it was gift-wrapped in a shredded copy of the Constitution.

The case involved four homosexual couples 'married' out of state — one in Canada — and the judge ruled that Kentucky must recognize these marriages even though Kentucky law only recognizes as marriage the union of one man and one woman.

NOM's Chairman, Professor John Eastman, summed up the problems with this decision in our press release Wednesday:

In Windsor, decided just last June, the Supreme Court placed great weight on the fact that States have primary authority for determining marriage policy. It therefore held that the federal government must respect New York's decision to alter the definition and purpose of marriage so that the institution encompasses same-sex relationships. Kentucky, as more than 30 other states have recently done, continues to further marriage policy that is tied to the unique procreative abilities of men and women. Yet this federal judge has, contrary to the strong federalism language in Windsor, determined on his own that Kentucky is not allowed to make that policy choice.

If the decision is upheld, Kentucky will have to recognize as marriages same-sex relationships that were given marriage certificates in other nations, but there is no reason to limit the ruling to same-sex relationships. Presumably, Kentucky will also be forced to recognize as 'marriage' polygamous and other marriages that were valid in the country in which they were performed. This drives a stake through the heart of Kentucky's profound policy judgment, and through the reasoning of the Windsor decision that instructed the lower courts to respect such state policy judgments.

Most shockingly, not only did this judge rule so poorly while ignoring clear legal precedents, he also took the time to malign pro-marriage people in a way that has become all too common, as he suggested legal distinctions preserving marriage must be motivated by animus or bigotry.

Ripped from the Headlines: Law(lessness) and (Dis)order

Over this past weekend, Attorney General Eric Holder attended an event for gay activists in New York City. Standing in front of the Human Rights Campaign logo, Holder announced some new policies for the Justice Department regarding same-sex 'marriage,' saying:

In every courthouse, in every proceeding and in every place where a member of the Department of Justice stands on behalf of the United States, they will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges, protections and rights as opposite-sex marriages under federal law.

In a subsequent memo to Justice Department personnel, Holder explained: "It is the [Justice Department's] policy to recognize lawful same-sex marriages as broadly as possible."

The irony was palpable: here was the Attorney General announcing a new lawless policy that further undermines states' rights to define marriage while standing in front of the logo of HRC — the organization to which NOM's federal tax documents were disclosed in a felonious act involving someone at the IRS, a crime which Holder's Justice Department has failed to investigate fully or prosecute!

Don't the American people deserve better from our nation's chief lawyer? Instead, we have a man unfit for his office, shirking his constitutional oath and his sworn duty, going out of his way rub elbows and shake hands with an elite special interest group linked to a criminal action he refuses to investigate!

But in the midst of all of this, and despite these failings by elected and judicial officials, we have reason to take heart: because there are some shining examples of heroic and courageous individuals who have been willing to stand up in defense of marriage. And we need to honor them.

Marriage's Courageous Heroes

This week, we're thanking Reince Priebus, the Republican party chair, for his continual support of the defense of marriage. Please click here to send a thank you to Reince today for his steadfastness in holding that he — and the Republican party under his guidance — believes in marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

We also owe thanks to two heroic allies in the Senate: Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas. On Wednesday, they introduced a key piece of legislation — the State Marriage Defense Act — and they had some strong things to say about its importance.

Senator Cruz explained:

I support traditional marriage. Under President Obama, the federal government has tried to re-define marriage, and to undermine the constitutional authority of each state to define marriage consistent with the values of its citizens. The Obama Administration should not be trying to force gay marriage on all 50 states. We should respect the states, and the definition of marriage should be left to democratically elected legislatures, not dictated from Washington. This bill will safeguard the ability of states to preserve traditional marriage for its residents.

Senator Lee echoed his sentiments, and condemned the Obama administration, which he said "finds the principles of federalism inconvenient in its effort to force states to redefine the institution of marriage."

Bravo to these wonderful Senators!

Around the country, others have been standing up in defense of marriage as well. For instance, just yesterday in Wyoming, the House of Representatives voted to preserve the right of the voters to protect marriage and rejected a proposal to redefine it:

House Bill 87... would have changed the law that says marriage is a contract between a male and female to marriage being a contract between two natural persons.

Forty-one representatives voted against the bill. Seventeen voted in favor.


"We cannot legislate such a colossal change in societies' families, lives, jobs and religions from a glass bowl," [Rep. Mark Baker] said.

And in Virginia, two Catholic leaders have spoken up strongly against a decision late last night by a federal judge to overturn that state’s marriage amendment. Bishops DiLorenzo and Loverde said that the decision "contradicts the wisdom and understanding of the ages" and "strips marriage of its intrinsic meaning." Please be sure to read their powerful statement in full.

Heroes in the US House Celebrate National Marriage Week

Finally, on Tuesday of this week several heroic and courageous members of Congress made use of their time to celebrate National Marriage Week USA.

Representative Bradley Byrne of Alabama made a one-minute floor speech to recognize the week. Here is some of what he had to say:

I rise today in recognition of National Marriage Week.

Every year, in the lead-up to Valentine's Day, we recognize the importance of the institution of marriage and the stability it brings to the American household. Married couples lead longer lives, have greater financial and emotional stability, and are healthier and generally happier than their unmarried counterparts.

Children who grow up in a two-parent household generally perform better in school, stay out of trouble, and are on track to live a healthier and happier life.


I believe promoting the positive benefits of marriage is important for the happiness, stability, and well-being of the next generation. I am proud to recognize National Marriage Week...

Later during the day, several members of the House spoke on behalf of marriage during a series of ordered speeches led by Representative Tim Huelskamp. He opened by saying:

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to visit with you this evening. I know many of my colleagues would like to visit about a very, very important topic; and that is the topic of marriage. We are currently in the midst of National Marriage Week, which is a global effort with 16 other countries to promote marriage. I think we are going to hear tonight, Mr. Speaker, some very important information on how important marriage is to our culture, to our families, to our society and, most importantly, in my mind, to our children.

Here are some highlights from the speeches that followed:

  • Marriage isn't a creation of Western civilization or of the United States of America. Marriage, as an institution, was created by none other than the Creator of mankind itself, a Holy God, the God of the Bible, and it is stated very clearly in the book of Genesis that after God created man and woman, He then created the institution of marriage, and He created it for a very simple reason: it is because God had a plan for man in the future, and that was through the propagation of the human race. — Michelle Bachmann (Minn.)

  • My colleague mentioned that being from California we do some strange things out there sometimes. But, you know... in California, two different propositions in the State of California passed, Prop. 22 and then Proposition 8, by the people of California, affirming that marriage is, indeed, one man and one woman. ... Indeed, an institution created by God, and it is supposed to be held up and respected by men and women. — Doug LaMalfa (Cali.)

  • I would submit to those of us who are following this and listening that marriage has been the strong foundation of our culture and our society. Our government recognizes marriage because of the benefits it extends to our society. A healthy marriage creates stability, and it creates security, Mr. Speaker. A healthy marriage ensures a committed relationship with a mom and a dad to raise, to teach, and to instill values in those children. — Randy Weber (Texas)

I reiterate how grateful I am to these courageous supporters of marriage. If you would like, you can read the rest of their remarks here. But in closing, I want to quote Congressman Huelskamp one more time, from his closing remarks:

This is an opportunity here in our Nation not only to talk about marriage, but talk about its impacts, talk about how its loss has hurt our society. I firmly believe that we could spend endless amounts of money up here, and occasionally we do that, but you cannot replace the family, you cannot replace daddy, you cannot replace mommy.

You see... that, friends, is why we fight.


Brian S. Brown

PS: Remember, your generosity is needed to keep us engaged in this fight. So much has happened, so quickly and on so many fronts as we've launched into the new year. As you can see from reading this newsletter, we are up against a powerful lobby that is intent on imposing its radical agenda on you, me and every American.

We need the support of tens of thousands of individuals just like you to continue the fight and answer the ongoing threats to marriage. We can fight back and win, but only if we have the resources to do so. Won't you please consider making a generous donation today to support NOM's work of defending marriage and the faith communities that sustain it?

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Copyright 2014