The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. It had broad support from both parties including then-senator Joe Biden. DOMA prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage for the purpose of federal laws or programs. More recently, President Joe Biden signed into law the Respect for Marriage Act, which overturned DOMA. Specifically, it holds that states must recognize same-sex marriage across state lines and that federal laws and programs apply equally to same-sex couples. This followed Obergefell v. Hodges, decided June 26, 2015, in a split 5-4 decision (Anthony Kennedy joined with the four liberal justices), which determined that same-sex couples had a fundamental right to marry based on the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
With the overturning of Roe v. Wade in the recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization opinion, the Supreme Court ended the recognition of a constitutional right to abortion and returned the matter to the states, where it belonged. After Dobbs, it became reasonable to reconsider the Obergefell decision, as Justice Clarence Thomas alluded in his concurring opinion in the Dobbs decision. The passage of the Respect for Marriage Act complicates matters but both will have to be addressed if we are ever to restore a proper definition of marriage.
In Obergefell, as in Roe, unelected lawyers in black robes, functioning as a supreme legislature, acting against our nation’s history, culture, and traditions, imposed upon the land, the fifty states and their democratically elected legislatures, and more than 300 million people, a mandate to redefine the most fundamental institution in society. What was at issue here was not due process or equal protection, which our Constitution guarantees, but redefining an institution that in five thousand years of human history, has always required sexual complementarity. The decision undermined all notions of federalism, states’ rights, the constitutional order, and basic democratic practice. The nature of marriage is not mentioned in the Constitution. Deciding its definition is not a power of the federal government. It is left to the states and the people. This is not government by law or democratic process but by judicial decree.
No body of five unelected lawyers, regardless of the status of that body should have the power to decide and redefine for a nation the nature and definition of an institution, especially one so unalterably crucial to that society.
“Gay marriage” is not a “right” but a distortion of a sacred and critical institution, that of marriage. Beyond that, the notion of “gay marriage” is irrational, an oxymoron. Gays cannot marry because they are sexually the same. Whether they love one another and plan to spend the rest of their lives together does not matter. Marriage cannot be twisted, bent, or folded to suit personal preferences. A proper understanding of marriage falls outside the realm of “rights,” for it is a descriptive term, a matter of logic, natural law, and biology.
From marriage and the marital act comes the world and all that is within it: civilization, history, culture, science, and so on. Without the marital act, there are no children, and the universe of relationships that arise from it. It is through the institution of marriage that total strangers are joined to form new families and relations. It is how the two houses of humanity, male and female, unite to bring children into the world.
The traditional, married family is the domestic unit upon which society depends; without it, society cannot function and will eventually collapse. New life cannot issue from the “union” of individuals of the same sex; it is for this reason that traditional marriage is sanctified and given special legal and moral status.
To recognize gay marriage (and all other “models” that would follow) blurs the significance of traditional marriage, desanctify and weaken it, and render it just another lifestyle choice. Already a battered and weakened institution, marriage should be bolstered and upheld, privileged and elevated. While gays enjoy the right to free speech, due process, and equal treatment before the law, there is no “right” to transform fundamental institutions to suit elite tastes or enhance gay self-esteem. Society must tolerate gays but is not obligated to endorse their activities or goals.
But leftists support gay marriage. They see society as an oppressive, patriarchal, “heteronormative” oligarchy and seek to tear it down. Traditional married families, furthermore, are autonomous islands that generally perform well enough without government assistance; as such, they thwart the leftist agenda. Furthermore, they seek to reduce the population for various “environmental” reasons such as “climate change,” and weakening the institution of marriage serves this goal.
Liberalism thrives on social failure and collapse. It feeds on broken families and dysfunction. The destruction of the family has been a longstanding project of the left: the sexual revolution, feminism, gay marriage, and now, of course, transgenderism, are tools to overturn the traditional family and the civil society in general.
But with the Left and its media appendage, it is always about narratives, long-term goals, and the seizing of power. Beneath the smiling patina of the charming news host or glib politician, the façade of tolerance and broad mindedness, leftists pursue their radical agenda with grim singlemindedness, censoriousness, and, when necessary, violence. Indeed, the homosexual agenda (along with its counterpart, “feminism,” and, more recently, transgenderism) is but another arrow in its quiver by which to undermine society, to fracture and uproot its time-honored institutions, and, particularly, to chip away at that great bulwark against collectivism, the traditional family.
Obergefell and now the Respect for Marriage Act are assaults not just Christianity but all faiths, our culture, and on American civilization, which is based on the Judeo-Christian tradition. They are attacks on common sense, federalism, separation of powers, and the constitutional order. We live in a post-constitutional age, under attack by the progressive (regressive) Left that seeks to flip our culture on its head, and to undermine the two great impediments to centralized government, the traditional married family and the church. These are the twin pillars of the civil society, which stand between the individual and the central government.
Obergefell and the Respect for Marriage Act are additional salvoes of the sexual revolution and its war on the family and Christianity. Abortion, radical feminism, gay marriage, and now transgenderism are all of piece.
But five leftist judges and the federal government cannot redefine marriage. It remains a union between a man and a woman, an organic institution based on nature and biology that precedes the political order. Its purpose is to civilize the mating process and to provide the best environment for children to grow in. It is about creating new life. It is not about validating the adult relationship of your choice or satisfying elite opinion.
We must defend traditional marriage. It is time to overturn Obergefell, repeal the Respect for Marriage Act, and reinstate DOMA.
Dr. Moss is a practicing Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon, candidate for Congress in 2016 and 2018, author, columnist, local investor, and small businessman, residing in Jasper, IN. He has written A Surgeon’s Odyssey and Matilda’s Triumph, available on amazon.com. Find more of his essays at richardmossmd.com. Visit Richard Moss, M.D. on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, Gettr, GAB, TruthSocial, and Instagram.
Image: Jan Van Eyck