Dear Friends of Marriage,
Do politicians have a right to strip you of your constitutional right to vote?
Now there's a real burning civil rights question, and it was front and center this week in D.C., both inside and outside the federal courthouse doors.
Outside the courtroom of the D.C. Court of Appeals, we pro-marriage forces rallied under the leadership of Bishop Harry Jackson. "This is the new civil rights movement!" I told a crowd of 250 enthusiastically cheering marriage champions!
Inside the courtroom, Alliance Defense Fund attorney Austin Nimocks was awesome! The D.C. charter, Austin told the full nine-judge panel assembled before the packed courtroom, clearly states, "electors of D.C. may propose laws (except laws appropriating funds)." "The council cannot undermine a right that's expressly granted in the charter," Nimocks said outside. "The people's right to vote is granted in the charter."
Yet local D.C. courts had rejected the people's right to vote for marriage, so now here we were in federal court, asserting core constitutional rights on behalf of the people of D.C.
Finally the press, which has been trumpeting the usual message of despair and inevitability, has begun to notice: There's something very, very peculiar about the political establishment claiming they can, by their vote, amend their charter and take away the people’s right to vote. (See, for example, the Fox News video below.)
We've been saying that for months, but the press finally had to notice--because the Chief Judge Eric Washington certainly did. When the lawyers for the D.C. City Council made their argument--a D.C. statute had been passed saying the city’s human right code could not be amended by a vote of the people, and that meant the rights laid down in the charter do not apply here--the Chief Judge pointedly asked: Isn't that "a back door way of amending the Charter, putting a restriction on people's rights?"
Well, yeah! It will probably take a Supreme Court ruling to affirm the civil rights of the citizens of D.C. on marriage. But we are in this fight to win!
Here's what you may not know: You were there in the courtroom that day, and at that rally. Your support for NOM is one of the things that made this day possible.
The National Organization for Marriage is one of the main funders of the court battle now underway. So thank you, for the privilege and honor of this great day.
NOM recognized the importance of the District of Columbia early on. It's the nation’s capital. We knew the city council, whose politicians are funded by a powerful pro-gay-marriage network, would vote for gay marriage.
We did not know those same politicians would dare to stand in front of the election booth, blocking the door to all citizens in this majority African-American city. But when we found out, we knew we had to help D.C. citizens fight back!
The only civil right more important than the right to vote is the right to life. D.C. citizens are granted by their charter--their constitution--the right to overturn legislation or to pass new legislation via a referendum process: Collect enough signatures, it goes to the ballot, the people decide.
How dare a bunch of urban machine political hacks claim the "civil right" to block the people's right to vote?
The African-American pastors leading this rally were passionate about both points, the good of marriage and the core civil right to vote, and it was a very proud moment for me to be standing with them (and so many other great leaders from groups such as the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America) to defend these core American values.
Speaking of civil rights, NOM's founding Chairman of the Board, Prof. Robby George was in Poland this week to receive a major award, "the Honorific Medal for the Defense of Human Rights of the Republic of Poland." The medal was established by the President of the Republic of Poland and was to have been bestowed by the Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection, Dr. Janusz Kochanowski, who tragically died in April in the plane crash that also took the lives of the President and First Lady of Poland.
Robby wrote to us:
"The medal [was given] at a ceremony in the Hall of the Senate of the University of Warsaw. In attendance were about 150 people, including the Chief Justice and several other Justices of the Polish Constitutional Court and other government and university officials. After the ceremony, I had the honor to give the 2010 Petrazycki Lecture in legal philosophy on the subject of 'Natural Law, God, and Human Dignity.'"
In making the human rights award to Prof. George, Professor Zubik noted that Poland recognized the importance of intellectual as well as political work in defense of human rights, and praised Prof. George's contributions to our understanding of the foundation of human rights in the inherent and equal dignity of the human person. He noted Prof. George’s prominent and courageous defense of the sanctity of human life in all stages and conditions and the importance of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife.
Here's a photo of Prof. George receiving Poland's human rights medal for his defense of life and marriage:
Take that, Human Rights Campaign!
Back in the political world, Tom Campbell is reeling from new jabs at him from the left and the right, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Sarah Palin endorsed Carly Fiorina this week (Chuck DeVore's many fans must be unhappy about that), but I'm bringing it up because in her endorsement Palin picked up the theme of NOM's groundbreaking "Two Peas in a Pod" issue advocacy ad campaign.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle: "On Thursday, Campbell got whacked from the political right.
"Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed Fiorina, a nod that analysts say will help establish the rookie candidate's credibility with conservatives who see Palin as a rock star.
"In the endorsement, posted on Palin's Facebook page, the failed vice presidential candidate referred to Campbell without naming him as 'a liberal member of the GOP who seems to bear almost no difference to Boxer, one of the most left-wing members of the Senate.'"
The Chronicle called it "one of the hardest shots Campbell has taken from the right since March, when the National Organization for Marriage began funding 30-second TV ads criticizing Campbell for opposing Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California."
The election season is underway and if you care about marriage, where are you going to go to figure out what the election results mean for marriage? On Wednesday of this week, after Tuesday's primaries in Ohio, North Carolina and Indiana, we launched NOM's Marriage Election Watch 2010. Go here to read the first edition. And pass it along to friends!
The mainstream media is not going to let you in on the news. Even conservative media sometimes hesitate to take on this issue, even though the majority of the American people have made it clear they are on our side on this one! So we're launching NOM Election Watch 2010 to fill an important gap. To steal a line from Fox News founder Roger Ailes, we've found an underserved market niche--more than half the American people!
Certainly the Washington Post is not going to keep you informed on marriage. That became clear this week when Post reporter David Weigel--the man assigned to the "conservative" beat--actually tweeted this comment: "I can empathize with everyone I cover except for the anti-gay marriage bigots. In 20 years no one will admit they were part of that."
He later apologized for using the word "bigot" but made matters worse by explaining how incomprehensible he finds the position of the majority of the American people and the common wisdom of humanity, not to mention the special wisdom of Genesis.
The heart of bigotry is a close-mindedness that breeds first incomprehension and then hatred.
Bigotry is a failure of empathy that begins in the head and spreads to the heart, and then closes the doors of communications (which are the doors to conversion, as well as tolerance and pluralism in the public square). Bigotry was what we saw on display this week in the District of Columbia--people so certain of the righteousness of their one single point of view they would twist the rule of law, and strip the right to vote in the name of civil rights.
David Weigel's own bigotry was on full display this week, and sadly, he doesn't even recognize he has a problem. He's projected his own hard-heartedness onto the majority of Americans who disagree with him.
People who care about the Washington Post have to be concerned that the paper appears to be unconcerned about applying its own journalistic standards to this man. That's the mainstream media's problem, not yours and mine.
To David I'd like issue a challenge: Let's have an open, honest and public debate in which you can explain why you hate marriage advocates so much you can't even sympathize with them a little and instead descended into embarrassing public name-calling unbecoming to a reporter. And I can explain to the world why you are wrong.
In twenty years, or fifty years, or one hundred years from now there will be Americans willing to stand up for the great truths about the human person: We are made male and female, men and women are made to give themselves to each other, putting their bodies and souls, hearts and bank accounts, into the service of creating and caring for life.
God bless you and keep you this week. Thanks for giving us the courage, the encouragement and the support that makes this fight possible!
"With God, all things are possible."
National Organization for Marriage
20 Nassau Street, Suite 242
Princeton, NJ 08542
P.S. NOM relies on your support to defend marriage, in Washington DC and across the country. Can you help us today? Whether you can give $50 or $500--or maybe a monthly donation of just $15--every dollar makes a difference in the great endeavor of protecting our marriage traditions.
NOM in the News
"Appeals Judges Sharply Question City on Referendum Ban"
My FOX DC
May 4, 2010
"This case is about the people's right to legislate," declared ADF attorney Austin Nimmocks. "What the Council did here is inconsistent with the charter."
"Right, Left Batter Campbell on Social Issues"
San Francisco Chronicle
May 7, 2010
Still, it is one of the hardest shots Campbell has taken from the right since March, when the National Organization for Marriage began funding 30-second TV ads criticizing Campbell for opposing Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California.
"Pill at 50 Still Gets Hot Flashes of Debate"
May 6, 2010
Even the best kinds of contraception can and do fail, said Mrs. Morse, whose institute is part of the National Organization for Marriage. The best advice for men and women, even in the post-pill era, is to treat any act of sexual intercourse as potentially creating a child, she said. "Sex is not a sterile activity."
"NH Gov. Defends Gay Marriage 'Legacy'"
The New American
May 4, 2010
The Hopkinton Democrat, who recently announced he will be seeking an unprecedented fourth consecutive two-year term this year as the state's Governor, has been targeted for defeat by the New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage. NOM recently ran "Lynch Lied" ads on New Hampshire TV stations, reminding voters that Lynch had said he was opposed to "gay" marriage before he changed course and signed the bill. The ad also claimed "Lynch lied to us" about not raising business taxes, cutting spending, and balancing the budget. Speaking to reporters after a recent Executive Council meeting, Lynch called the ads "disgusting" and knocked the out-of-state group for "meddling" in New Hampshire politics.
"Both Sides Should Support Same-Sex Divorce Legislation"
On Tuesday, the same-sex divorce bill came before the House Judiciary Committee. Christopher C. Plante, executive director of the Rhode Island chapter of the National Organization for Marriage, wrote to the committee, saying a vote for the same-sex divorce bill “is a vote for homosexual marriage” because “you cannot divorce/dissolve something without recognizing it to be valid in the first place. Across the country, proponents of homosexual marriage have used a myriad of devices to gain political and legal leverage at the state level, and this bill is nothing more than that: a Trojan horse.”
This communication has been paid for by the National Organization for Marriage and has not been authorized by any candidate.