That’s not a typographical error. I’m not mistaking the Democratic platform’s definition of all things progressive. I’m not misapplying the Obama campaign’s slogan: Forward.
Froward is admittedly an archaic word, but it’s a very good one. It describes what is actually happening in that Democratic platform with respect — or should I say with disrespect? — to marriage.
“Froward” is defined by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary as “habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition.”
When Democrats convene today in Charlotte, North Carolina, to formally adopt their platform, they will be giving in to disobedience and opposition. Voters in the Tar Heel State strongly endorsed true marriage just last May. Like voters in 31 other states, the people are saying loud and clear: Don’t mess with true marriage.
But the party bigs are defiant, determined to shove counterfeit marriage down the throats of the people.
North Carolinians rejected former President Bill Clinton’s advice to evolve beyond the position he took when he signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law in 1996. They voted instead to affirm the eloquent voice of Rev. Billy Graham.
Rev. Graham said: “At 93, I never thought we would have to debate the definition of marriage. The Bible is clear: God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman.”
The 61% vote in North Carolina for true marriage belied the claims of the marriage-enders that polls prove Americans are ready to move on. Even Tom Jensen of the liberal Public Policy Polling firm admitted: “Hate to say it, but I don’t believe polls showing majority support for gay marriage nationally. Any time there’s a vote, it doesn’t back it up.” That’s right, polls are not votes.
Author Matt Kaufman’s excellent article in Citizen Magazine sums up the campaign for true marriage in North Carolina. Kaufman quotes pro-marriage organizer Tami Fitzgerald, who explains the campaign’s success this way: “We blanketed the entire state with ads, and we had one of the best social-media campaigns I’ve ever seen.”
And as Fitzgerald emphasizes: North Carolina’s black voters backed true marriage by a margin of two to one.
Black voters have been a mainstay of the Democratic Party nationally, and certainly in North Carolina. Yet in North Carolina — as in every state of the Old Confederacy — black voters provided the winning margin for marriage.
What can Democratic Party delegates in Charlotte be thinking? How can they imagine that ending marriage as we know it is a good posture to take in the teeth of such determined opposition from their most loyal group of supporters?
Progressives bent on ending marriage will find they have stirred a hornets’ nest of opposition that unites black and white voters, Hispanics and Asians. North Carolina’s Marriage Amendment passed in 93 out of 100 counties! It stimulated a huge turnout in rural areas. Do those progressives really want to do this?
To understand how radical, how unprecedented Bill Clinton’s new position on marriage is, we should remember the overwhelming passage of the Defense of Marriage Act in Congress in 1996. That bill passed by 342 votes in the House of Representatives; it passed by 85 votes in the Senate. That powerful bipartisan vote was a veto-proof majority. The Defense of Marriage Act was passed by a Republican Congress, it is true, and sent to a Democratic president for signature. But the Defense of Marriage Act would have passed Congress if there had been no Republicans sitting in either body.
That is how strong the bipartisan consensus for true marriage was just 16 years ago.
I can attest to the strength of commitment on this issue. I was Ohio’s secretary of state in 2004. Ohio voters cast a half million more votes that year than they had just four years earlier. George W. Bush won Ohio in 2004 by just 100,000 votes. Clearly, the marriage amendment carried him to victory.
Now, it should be clear to all that true marriage is no issue to avoid. Those who support true marriage should not give it just a passing reference. Studies suggest that the breakdown of marriage is one of the sources of our economic problems. Far from being a “distraction,” support for true marriage is a necessary foundation for restoring America’s economic vitality.
For Democrats now to reject all of that, to stiff-arm voters in 32 states, to ignore the strong beliefs of black Americans and other minority voters, and to refuse to acknowledge women’s support for true marriage is unwise in the extreme.
It is, in a word, froward.
Ken Blackwell was the vice chairman of the 2008 GOP platform.