The Federal Marriage Amendment: What’s the Point?
There are many conservatives and Christians alike who have greatly praised George W. Bush’s endorsement of a federal marriage amendment. I am indeed content that Mr. Bush has endorsed the passage of such an amendment but am rather worried and confused concerning the following statement that was made by him. He said: “The amendment should fully protect marriage, while leaving the state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage.” My question to Mr. Bush is this: what exactly do you wish to protect? Is it the institution of marriage, or is it simply the word marriage? There is indeed a great, yea monumental, distinction and gap between the concept of the rights, privileges, duties, and responsibilities that are contained therein and the mere existence or usage of a word.
The statement made by our president leaves room for much ambiguity. Would the president find it acceptable if we were to honor homosexual civil unions but cease to place the word “marriage” upon such unions? Suppose we were to redefine the concept of marriage and call it, for the sake of exaggeration, a “Fred.” Would the president find it acceptable for a homosexual couple to “Fred” one another and to obtain a “Freding” license from the government? It seems to me that the importance of the institution of marriage has been undermined for the sake of politically correct rhetoric and for playing semantic and syntactical games with the word “marriage.” What engenders so much confusion is the fact that our president made the preceding statement directly after he said:
Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society. Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all. Today I call upon the Congress to promptly pass, and to send to the states for ratification, an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife.
Is the president simply stating that the word “marriage” has cultural significance or that the institution of marriage has cultural significance? What strikes me is the fact that, on first glance (I could be wrong), it appears that the president is carefully maneuvering over the actual issue at stake here. It is good that Mr. Bush desires to protect marriage, but we must be extremely careful here, for the stakes are high. Friends, it is not the word “marriage” that bears any cultural significance. It is the institution of marriage that bears cultural significance.
With the issue of semantics and syntax addressed, I would like to consider some of the more fundamental problems that have facilitated such an attack on the institution of marriage. Perhaps it would be a mere understatement for me to point out that our nation is no longer influenced by our founding documents as it is by current and trendy pop-culture and ideology. To paraphrase Robert Bork, one is more apt to predict the outcome of a case simply by knowing the names of the judges rather than the applicable legal doctrines. Bork’s assessment of the situation is, I believe, absolutely correct inasmuch as predicting the outcome of a case is a spectator sport that depends solely upon which “special interest” groups have more power and who is hearing the case. Appellate Court and Supreme Court justices only care about legality, so long as it does not contradict their own philosophical ideologies. Otherwise, their own amalgamation of opinions is deemed superior to what law itself would suggest; and when such occurs, one ceases to be legal scholar and implicitly becomes a domestic enemy of law, a tyrant ruling without regard to or for law. The Constitution has become a political scapegoat for its abusers; these individuals simply take it out of its textual or historical context, asserting that it is a “living document” and subject to revision time after time. Such is not law. Nay, such techniques are characteristics of tyrants who pervert law and implicitly claim that a given document is ambiguous to the point of being arbitrary so that there is “room” within a given legal framework (or lack thereof) for modification.
Before I proceed to inquire about the legal issues involved with a federal marriage amendment, I would like to make three brief comments. First, many folks, including many of our appellate court judges, have expressed their concerns regarding the so-called legislation of morality. I believe this is merely a diversion and a delay tactic to move folks away from the fundamental philosophical and epistemological issues at stake. The statement “morality is legislated” is necessarily a tautology. Robert Bork made the following comment:
Economic inequality being beyond reach, the attack turns to “lifestyle” inequalities, to a demand that we cease judging people and their actions according to the traditional moral scale. Traditionalists denounce this approach as moral relativism, but it is not that at all. Cultural socialists have their own moralities, often enforced with a fierceness unknown to upholders of the old moralities. The fanaticism is manifest in what we call “political correctness.” “Nonjudgmentalism” is the first step toward a harsh judgmentalism in the service of a different morality.
Thus, philosophically speaking, epistemology always influences law. I am grateful that our Founders deeply rooted law within the Bible and not merely on some decision of man, which history has shown to lead to corruption, exploitation, and murder.
Second, I wish to address the claim that will most undoubtedly be thrown at me by objectors, namely, to suggest that Biblical moral law has a place in the public square in no way implies religious theocracy. To make such a statement is to misunderstand what theocracy is and to confuse the fact that our Founders intended this to be a representative republic. There is a stark difference between a republic and a theocracy. In fact, our Founders formed this nation partly to escape religious persecution from a theocracy. Perhaps Patrick Henry can aid us as we seek to understand such a difference. He wrote:
It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom to worship here.
It is, by its very nature, Christian charity that allows for such asylum to be afforded to those who may not be Christians and hence the purpose of religious liberties and freedom. The notion of a theocracy was anathema to our Founders.
Finally, the very root of this problem stems from the total corruption of men, in the sense that just about anything and everything is tolerated within the public square—everything, of course, except for Christianity. In fact, it was homosexual lobbyists who pressured the American Psychological Association to remove the notion of homosexuality from its list of psychological disorders in the early seventies. There is currently a movement to remove pedophilia from such a list. Whence will such chaos cease? The question concerning morality never depends upon “consent” as some would have you believe. Samuel Adams was correct when he wrote:
[N]either the wisest Constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend of the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue.
Thus, we must point out that our Constitution fails to work and fails to secure liberty because the governed fail to exercise self-government. This is a fundamental presumption of American government. This is why so many seek to abandon a government whose only purpose is to secure God given rights and, in its place, institute a government that is the architect of civil rights; yet the folly of such government is that it may arbitrarily usurp rights and liberties.
This is clearly evident by the cultural left, who only desire a form of government that secures promiscuous sexual rights and a right to sodomy. All other legitimate freedoms and privileges such as the right to bear arms, the right to own property, the right to be free from government intrusion of any kind, and the right to educate ones children as one sees fit are slowly dissolving away. Now, those who refuse to bow to the altar of humanism, atheism, human reason, and the gods of promiscuous sex and radical environmentalism are ridiculed and labeled as “radical.” Humanistic and atheistic governments despise such liberties because the mere existence of them poses a serious threat to the very proliferation of such governments and does not allow for tyranny.
Now let us apply this to the current state of marriage. I am most certainly in favor of preserving this sacred, God ordained institution. Yet, suppose for instance that our Constitution was amended to include such protection. And, while I am being optimistic, let us also suppose that this protection protects the institution as well as the word “marriage.” I would then submit to you that such Constitutional protection is useless because we cannot even get the judiciary to acknowledge the First, Second, or Tenth Amendments. Why does anybody think that the judiciary will acknowledge an amendment that is contrary to the false legal presumptions that reside there? Mr. Bush believes that this is a states rights issue but state sovereignty is something that has long since died. In fact, it was the blatant disregard for state sovereignty that led to the Constitutional “right” to sodomy to begin with. The Tenth Amendment does not even exist in the minds of our so-called legal “scholars” except when it suits their fancy to advance their own wicked unconstitutional agendas. Why do we suppose that we can attack the symptom of the problem, without first attacking the root of the problem?
Folks, the reason we need to amend our Constitution originates from the fact that the judiciary won’t acknowledge our Constitution. We are merely attacking the symptom without attempting to remedy the disease itself. Moreover, this problem is becoming terminal; with the legalization of homosexual sodomy, the next logical step is to redefine marriage. This latter task has nearly been accomplished. Now, all that remains is to see how many more perverted, wicked acts we can legalize in the process, and how many more God given rights we can usurp. What measures are there to protect our children from pedophilia or from becoming property of the “state” at conception? None. Only the arbitrary will of un-elected tyrants. Many will object by reason of consent but I disagree; perhaps one should observe the mere existence of homosexual pedophilia groups such as the North American Man-Boy Lover Association. One may say to me that nobody takes NAMBLA seriously but, then again, there was a time when nobody took the homosexual lobby seriously.
No, I believe that more serious measures are needed. Yes, it would be a good idea to amend the Constitution. However, before we become happy and gay (pun intended), perhaps we should consider the arduous task of drafting the numerous articles of impeachment required to eliminate the real problem.
March 16, 2004
Matt Gamel is graduate student at Texas A&M and eventually desires to go to seminary to study to be a Biblical scholar. He may be reached for comment here.