f The Wittenberg Door: Defense of Marriage Act and Same-Sex Marriage

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Defense of Marriage Act and Same-Sex Marriage

From The Wittenberg Door archives . . .

The Obama administration recently announced that it will no longer legally support the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The act, signed into law by then President Bill Clinton, defines marriage as between one man and one woman. It also stipulates that a same-sex union considered a marriage in one state does not have to be recognized as such in another.

In order to advance the ball put into play by the Obama administration, House and Senate Democrats will be drafting legislation both to repeal DOMA and to replace it with something more palatable to their sensibilities.

In this post we’ll consider the reasons put forth as justification for overturning DOMA.

(Quotes below are from the Huffinton Post.)

State Interest

"The president's move is another step in the increasing realization that there is no conceivable justification for DOMA, that it is motivated, was motivated, purely by irrational considerations and fear and that there is no rational basis that will stand up to a constitutional challenge," said Nadler [Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), a senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee]. "Hopefully, that will make it somewhat easier to pass legislation in Congress."

DOMA defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Rep. Nadler, instead of advancing an argument to substantiate his claim, simply resorts to motive questioning: those who don’t agree with him are motivated by irrationality and fear. Furthermore, he claims “that there is no rational basis that will stand up to a constitutional challenge.”Again, no reason is given. He just makes a claim.

Unlike Rep. Nadler, I will make a case for my side, and I’ll do so without questioning his motives. I’ll let the reader be the judge as to whether or not what follows is irrational.

The State’s only interest in marriage is that it is the best way for it, the State, to perpetuate itself. Mommies and daddies are from where the next generation of citizens will come. And the best environment for the raising of responsible citizens is a married, monogamist, heterosexual household. Married and monogamist because that brings stability to the home; heterosexual because both the mother and the father bring something in particular to the childrearing enterprise.

This unit is the best way to secure society’s future. Therefore, the State has an interest in favoring and protecting marriage between a man and a woman. It has no such interest in same-sex unions

All You Need is Love

"As a Member of the Judiciary Committee, it is my intention to introduce legislation that will once and for all repeal the Defense of Marriage Act," [Sen. D-CA] Feinstein said in a prepared statement. "My own belief is that when two people love each other and enter the contract of marriage, the Federal government should honor that. I opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. It was the wrong law then; it is the wrong law now; and it should be repealed."

Sen. Feinstein’s comments bring to mind the Beatles’ song, All You Need is Love. Great song; bad social policy. Is it true that we can marry anyone we love and with whom we enter into a “contract”? Can I marry my two neighbors' wives as long as we love each other? Can I marry my sister if we stipulate that we wouldn’t breed? Can I marry myself (if I likewise promise not to breed)? We could go on-and-on with scenarios, but I think the point has been made: love is an insufficient reason to redefine marriage.

Another point is that the state isn’t interested in whether or not the happy couple love each other. On a marriage form there is no “Check Here to Swear That You Love This Person.” Why? Because the State doesn’t care. They care about the union for the reasons above, not about our emotional commitment to one another.


For all of recorded history marriage has been between men and women—never between the same sex. There have been variations on the theme of marriage, but the theme remains. Consider, though, the amazing chutzpah of the Senator and Congressman: They and their compatriots on the Left are morally superior to all religious leaders of all times, and to all generations that preceded this one. (I suppose Sen. Feinstein can teach Jesus a-thing-or-two about morality.)

If the Congressman and the Senator take truth, intellectual honesty, and the fabric of society seriously, then they’ll offer something more substantial than “all you need is love, and if you disagree it’s because you’re irrational and fearful.”

--The Catechizer



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