A ‘States’ Rights’ Victory On Marriage Will Be A Hollow Victory For America

John-Henry Westen Co-Founder, LifeSiteNews.com
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Later this week, the U.S. Supreme Court could make the definitive ruling on marriage in America. One option available to the Court is to leave marriage up to each state — a decision that would respect America’s long tradition of allowing each state to address marriage as its citizens see fit.

While many social conservatives would cheer such a decision, they would be celebrating a small battlefield victory even as the war continues to be lost. With the stripping of First Amendment rights across the country, as well as newly-created federal policies that provide special benefits to same-sex couples, states’ rights would be a token victory, nothing more.

This is quite a change from 11 years ago, when many states began passing marriage protection laws as bastions for protection against marriage redefinition. Today, that bastion is on life support, relevant only because so many Republican politicians consider it a compromise to avoid the label of “bigot” without losing support among the GOP’s socially conservative base.

The effective cultural and legal undermining of states’ rights is taking place almost daily. Under President Obama, the federal government has denied religiously-affiliated groups that respect marriage the opportunity to compete for federal grants to help the poor. In the military, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been overturned, and a Christian chaplain faces severe punishment for promoting traditional values in relationships.

In perhaps the most egregious domestic act by the Obama administration to undermine marriage, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder flatly told state Attorneys General that they could ignore state laws on marriage, which many did in violation of their oaths of office.

Overseas, the Obama administration is making humanitarian aid dependent upon redefining marriage — something a states’ rights Court ruling does not affect. Evidence also suggests that U.S. aid to fight the terrorist group Boko Haram has been withheld because of Nigeria’s laws criminalizing homosexuality.

At the state level, GOP governors in Indiana and Arkansas were recently blackmailed by politicians, corporations, and activists into caving on religious liberty laws. Likewise, many states and localities have made freedoms of property, religious, and speech illegal when it comes to same-sex relationships, as seen in Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, and elsewhere.

Republicans are complicit in the destruction of states’ rights, as well. Just this year, the GOP-controlled Senate backed benefits for same-sex couples — and eight GOP senators backed marital-level benefits for veterans in same-sex relationships. One Republican, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, even admitted that the reason he supported providing federal benefits to same-sex veteran couples is because federalism gets in the way of some couples receiving state benefits.

Billionaire Republican donors regularly push the party to accept redefining marriage, as well as to back laws that would deny employers freedom in choosing who to hire. And while it is to the credit of party chairman Reince Priebus that he publicly defends marriage, he also admits to being gun-shy about doing so.

And there are many good reasons to support real marriage. Social science shows is best for children, same-sex couples cannot bear children except through the assistance of immoral practices like IVF, and promoting same-sex relationships as equal to heterosexual marriage whitewashes the devastating damage of same-sex relationships to persons in them, including horrific rates of HIV/AIDS.

However, none of these arguments are being made, and daily we see marriage and liberty undercut by a governments that should want to support better public health, stronger youth, and more liberty. Therefore, no matter what decision the Supreme Court comes to before the end of June, states’ rights on marriage is effectively dead, and along with it, much of what was once marriage in America.

John-Henry Westen is a co-founder of Voice of the Family, an influential international coalition of pro-life and pro-family groups which defends life and family in the media. He is also a co-founder of LifeSiteNews.com, a leading daily news website on life and family issues.