The ‘Disrespect of Marriage Act’: Democratic Bill Would Redefine Marriage
With economic pressures squeezing middle-class families tighter than any time in a generation, congressional Democrats have decided to ram through a series of laws that would write left-wing positions on social issues into law, including a national bill establishing same-sex marriage.
On Monday, Democrats in both chambers of Congress introduced a bill to redefine marriage in national law, which they have dubbed the Respect for Marriage Act. The bill would prevent any state from exclusively protecting the natural family in law, in the (unlikely) event the Supreme Court overturns Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 opinion which created the constitutional “right” to same-sex marriage.
“The far-right Supreme Court is on a rampage against the freedoms of the American people,” asserted Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), a democratic socialist who identifies as gay. “We will not sit idly by as Republicans and their activist judges take our country backward,” insisted Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who also identifies as LGBT. “I look forward to bringing it to the [f]loor for a vote this week,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (R-Md.) on Monday.
“It really should be the Disrespect for Marriage Act,” Quena Gonzalez, senior director of Government Affairs at the Family Research Council, told “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” Monday. The bill merely says that “an individual shall be considered married if that individual’s marriage is valid in the [s]tate where the marriage was entered into.” At no point does it limit marriage to two partners. Democrats plan to pass legislation preventing states from criminalizing interracial marriage or contraception, positions that have no political constituency in any state. This follows the House passing two bills to expand abortion nationwide last Friday, although one or both bills appears poised to die in the Senate.
Their colleagues on the other side of the aisle say scheduling show votes to placate their party’s extremists diverts necessary focus from the nation’s most pressing problems. “Wide open borders, massive inflation, economy hobbling to recession, and the Democrats choose to respond to Clarence Thomas’s concurrence by giving us a bill to codify gay marriage the day before we would vote on it with no hearing and no mark up,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) told The Washington Stand.
In his concurring opinion on Dobbs, Justice Thomas wrote that the Supreme Court had replaced judicial activism with constitutional restraint on abortion, and that it should do the same to other cases where he felt activist judges legislated from the bench. He called on justices to “reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence and Obergefell,” cases that involve contraception and homosexual relations. But the majority ruling said attempts to tie Dobbs to those cases were “designed to stoke unfounded fear that our decision will imperil those other rights.”
“It is that unfounded fear that brings us here today,” said Rep. Roy on the House floor Monday. “There is no threat. My colleagues are here for political messaging. … We’re here because my Democratic colleagues have no answer” to the nation’s economic woes. The move comes as part of an aggressively legislative push by congressional Democrats to set their view of hot-button values issues into stone, since it can no longer rely on the Supreme Court, which recently closed its most constitutionally-based session in 87 years.
Meanwhile, economic problems continue to metastasize under the Biden-Harris administration. The Consumer Price Index reached 9.1%, while 11.3% for the Producers Price Index, and the highest level of illegal immigration of any June in history. Rep. Robert Wittman (R-Va.) called on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to cancel the six-week-long August recess, which commences on July 29, to deal with a backlog of unpassed appropriations bills. “With so much work left to be done, it astounds me that Members of Congress feel justified in taking a month off,” he wrote.
Instead, Pelosi and Hoyer have served up red meat culture war issues for their grassroots in the Ivy League. Roy noted that the marriage legislation under consideration would not cement the opinions of either Obergefell or Loving into law but merely “force states to recognize marriages across state boundaries” and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). But Roy took the opportunity to “thank my colleagues for recognizing the importance of the democratic process — that we’re here as the people’s representatives having a debate about policy, rather than looking to the Supreme Court to make policy, suddenly now that the Court doesn’t issue an opinion that my colleagues favor.”
The reemergence of same-sex marriage demonstrates how far the Democratic Party has shifted to the left in the last handful of years. DOMA, which set the federal government’s definition of marriage as one man and one woman, earned the support of such Democrats as future President Joe Biden, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Steny Hoyer, and many others before being signed into law by President Bill Clinton shortly before the 1996 presidential election.
While the Democrats have slid into accepting the full agenda of the LGBTQIA+ movement, the Republican Party — which, from its foundation, has defended the natural definition of marriage — has remained steadfast on the issue of the family, and those who would undermine it.
“A critical threat to our country's constitutional order is an activist judiciary that usurps powers properly reserved to the people through other branches of government,” read the 2016 Republican Party platform. “In Obergefell, five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The Court twisted the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment beyond recognition.” The platform pledged that Republicans would “appoint judges who respect the rule of law expressed within the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, including the inalienable right to life and the laws of nature and nature’s God.”
Despite the GOP’s unequivocal language on the definition of marriage, the Democratic bill to redefine marriage has one Republican sponsor as of this writing: Senator Susan Collins of Maine.
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.