The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

What to Expect from President-Elect Obama on Same-Sex Marriage and Homosexuality in 2009

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While sitting before a live audience with Chris Matthews on their college tour of Hardball, President-Elect Obama was asked by a student where he stood on gay marriage.  In response to this question, he said, “I’m not in favor of gay marriage, but I’m in favor of a very strong civil union” (Click here for video). 

Not only was his position on marriage questioned here, it was also brought up by Rick Warren during this year’s Saddleback Forum.  When asked by Pastor Warren how he defines marriage, President-Elect Obama responded, “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman.  For me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union.” 

In following up to his response, Rick Warren further asks, “Would you support a Constitutional Amendment with that definition of marriage?”  In response. President-Elect Obama said no, because this matter has been settled by the states, and not the Federal Government.  He goes on to say that he “doesn’t promote same-sex marriage,” but believes in Civil Unions (Click here for video).

Does President-Elect Obama really “not support gay marriage?”  How solidified is his belief that the institution of marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman?  Does he really believe that each state should settle the matter themselves?  If so, what is he doing to ensure that this is the case? 

Let’s consider his position on this issue and what he has previous vowed to do as he steps into the Presidency on January 20th.  From here, we will consider what to expect in 2009 and beyond.     

President-Elect Obama on the Defense of Marriage Act

For those of you unfamiliar with DOMA, it is a piece of federal legislation that “defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws, and provides that states need not recognize a marriage from another state if it is between persons of the same sex” (Legal Resources and Information).  What this means is that the Federal Government is inhibited from recognizing same-sex unions as marriages and individual states do not have to treat a same-sex union as a marriage, even if it is considered one in another state. 

DOMA was passed by Congress and signed into law by then President Bill Clinton on September 21st, 1996.

According to what President-Elect Obama told Rick Warren about states having the right in settling the issue of marriage themselves, it appears that DOMA would be a perfect form of Federal Legislation for him.  However, this is not the case at all.   

During his candidacy for the Illinois State Senate, President-Elect Obama had the following to say about DOMA:  “For the record, I opposed DOMA [ the Defense of Marriage Act ] in 1996.  It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor.  I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying.  This is an effort to demonize people for political advantage, and should be resisted …”  Not only does he oppose it, he went on to say that DOMA itself is “abhorrent” (Windy City Times). 

This is why no one should be surprised in 2009 to see President Obama encourage Congress to overturn DOMA.  When this occurs, same-sex marriage that is accepted in one state will have to be accepted in another state.  Why will states such as West Virginia be required to accept and endorse same-sex marriages from other states?

The reason why states would be required to accept and endorse same-sex marriages from others states is due to Article 4, Section 1, of our Federal Constitution, which is titled “Each State to Honor all others.”  This clause is known as the Full Faith and Credit act, and reads as follows: 

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof (U.S. Constitution).

When DOMA is overturned and rolled over-the-hill as a proverbial snowball, it will roll and pick-up speed and size until ever state is required to approve and endorse same-sex marriage. 

President-Elect Obama on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

In regards to Federal sexual orientation laws, President-Elect Obama previously vowed, that “as president, I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity” (Equality is a Moral Imperative).  In a general gist, President-Elect Obama desires for hate crimes and employment nondiscrimination to include a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity (see below for details).   

If a person merely glances over hate crime and employment nondiscrimination ordinances without delving into the depths of their implications, they may come away with the notion that they are not bad forms of legislation and will have no personal bearing on them whatsoever.  Is this really the case?  Is the expansion of legislation in these two areas innocent in nature? 

No, this is not what you think.  The expansion of hate crime and employment nondiscrimination ordinancesare not innocent in nature.  They do not create tolerance and equality.  If we simply take these matters skin deep we will overlook the cancer that lies beneath.  There are a number of issues raised with these matters and need to be considered before allowing anyone to put the weight of their administration behind them.  

Here are 5 for us to consider.    

One, the expansion of hate crime legislation to cover a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity will lead to making statements against homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage via any means legally liable.

Consider these two international examples:

Bill Whatcott was fined 17,500 Canadian dollars by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission in a complaint by four homosexuals who charged he “injured” their “feelings” and “self respect” in pamphlets denouncing the “gay lifestyle” as immoral and dangerous (World Daily).

Ake Green, pastor of a Pentecostal congregation in Kalmar, Sweden, was sentenced to one month in prison on a charge of inciting hatred against homosexuals. Pastor Green was prosecuted for his sermon in a January hearing, where he was found guilty of “hate speech against homosexuals” for a sermon preached in 2003 (Criminalizing Christianity).

Proponents in favor of expanding hate crime legislation may argue that such instances will not occur here in America.  They will point out that Section 8 of H.R. 1592 contains the following verbiage: “Section 8 Provides that nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit expressive conduct or activities protected by the First Amendment” (Library of Congress).  Although this is the case, there are two points to be made.

First, under Section 7 of the same bill, which is titled Prohibition of Certain Hate Crime Acts, contains the following clause:

OFFENSES INVOLVING ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED RELIGION, NATIONAL ORIGIN, GENDER, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER IDENTITY, OR DISABILITY (Library of Congress, bold mine).

What we see is that a crime against a person doesn’t actually have to be committed, it simply has to be “perceived” by the victim.  With such language included within the same bill, how can anyone rightfully say that a person’s First Amendment Rights will be protected? 

Consider the following example made by Jeremy Dys, our President and General Counsel, from his comments upon a similar bill presented to the West Virginia State Congress, “the language ‘whether actual or perceived’ within its definition of ‘sexual orientation’ may lead to lawsuits based on no overt action whatsoever.  It is sufficient that one merely perceives discrimination.  Thus, the following scenario may be true: a religious employee, while on her lunch break is silently reading her Bible in the corporate break room.  A homosexual employee witnesses this and because he perceives the Bible as discriminatory towards homosexuality can sue the company under the state’s Human Rights Act” (White Paper on the Implications of S.B. 600).

Do you see how the expansion of hate crime legislation to include sexual orientation and gender identity would impede First Amendment Rights and Religious Freedom?   

Second, the expansion of the Federal Hate Crime Law of 1969 to include sexual orientation and gender identity is simply extending special legal protection to a specific segment of the population that lessens the protection of many Americans (ACLJ).  People should be prosecuted based upon the actual crime committed, regardless if it is a crime against a heterosexual or homosexual.  If this expansion occurs a hierarchy of victims will be created with crimes committed against self-identified homosexuals taking precedence over every other person, regardless if they are a man, woman, or child. 

Two, employment nondiscrimination ordinances will inhibit non-profit organizations, small business owners, private practices, and corporations alike.  Consider the following examples on how this will create additional liabilities:

Non-Profit: The Boy Scouts of America were sued and brought before the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2000 to explain why they had “violated” New Jersey’s law against discrimination against homosexuals.  Though the Scouts won by a razor-thin 5 to 4 margin, the writing on the wall was clear: homosexual activists have pressured local and state governments into giving homosexuals special legal protection instead of securing the inalienable religious and associational rights of private organizations (Daniel Garcia and Rober Regier, Homosexuality is Not a Civil Right)

Small Business:  In New Mexico, a Christian-owned studio was fined more than $6,000 for refusing to photograph a lesbian commitment ceremony (see The Family Research Council).

Private Practice:  In Georgia, a counselor was fired because she referred a woman in a same-sex relationship to another counselor for relationship advice. The second counselor provided service that the woman herself characterized as “exemplary.” Yet she still demanded—and obtained—the first counselor’s termination for her lack of moral approval (Austin Nimocks).

Large Corporations:  A former employee of Shell Oil Company was awarded $5.3 million in actual and punitive damages after the company terminated his employment for leaving in the copy room copies of sexually explicit materials detailing “house rules” for “safe sex” practices at a homosexual party he had hosted the previous weekend (Collins v. Shell Oil Company,1991 Cal.App. LEXIS 783 (1991).

Corporations will be inhibited from enforcing dress codes that require men to dress like men and women to dress like women.  Call me crazy?  Well, consider this.  In Northern Indiana a small business owner is in court defending the termination of one of its employees that failed to abide by the company dress code that did not permit men to dress as women (Creed v. Family Express).

Not only is this the case, but corporations and other organizations will find it difficult to determine men and women restrooms and locker rooms.  You see, a court in Pennsylvania said a company violated the Pennsylvania Nondiscrimination Ordinance by to refusing to permit a male employee to go to work in a dress and shower with his female co-workers (See www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005/aug/05081602.html).

I imagine there are many hormone-driven teenage guys that can’t wait for this bill to pass.   

Three, the expansion of such legislation will lead to the removal of the Military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.  Therefore, the military will be forced to accept and embrace homosexual behavior, regardless of the implications involved.  

Four, full adoption rights will be granted to same-sex couples and every organization will be required to provide them services, even if it is contrary to their religious beliefs. 

Consider that Catholic Charities in Massachusetts refused to place children with same-sex couples as required by Massachusetts law.  After a legislative struggle — during which the Senate president said he could not support a bill “condoning discrimination” — Catholic Charities pulled out of the adoption business in 2006 (NPR). 

Five, many believe with that the blurring of the definition of marriage will serve as the first step to including other forms of relationships, such as polygamy and pedophilia (see Robert Gagnon). 

In the End…

The overturning of DOMA and the expansion of hate crimes and employment nondiscriminatory ordinances will lead to the normalization of homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage throughout every sphere of society.

From an article entitled, “What Same-Sex Marriage has done to MA, we see how this will be the case:

In 2006 the Parkers and Wirthlins filed a federal Civil Rights lawsuit to force the schools to notify parents and allow them to opt-out their elementary-school children when homosexual-related subjects were taught.  The federal judges dismissed the case.  The judges ruled that because same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts, the school actually had a duty to normalize homosexual relationships to children, and that schools have no obligation to notify parents or let them opt-out their children!  Acceptance of homosexuality had become a matter of good citizenship! (What Same Sex Marriage has done to MA, bold mine).

Once homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage is endorsed by the government, both Federal and State, Robert Gagnon argues that these practices will receive the “ultimate governmental and cultural seal of approval.”  He goes on to observe that,

All newspapers will have to post “gay weddings.” Any time the subject of marriage is taught in schools or institutions of higher learning “gay marriage” will have to be embraced as the law of the land and as equal in all respects to male-female marriages. Churches that allow couples to use their buildings to get married will have their tax-exempt status put at risk for not allowing “gay marriages.” Those who believe in a male-female prerequisite for marriage are immediately institutionalized civilly and cultural as bigots. American society is not likely ever, this side of heaven, to return to the view that homosexual unions are intrinsically immoral (Obama’s Coming War on Historic Christianity over Homosexual Practice and Abortion).

The reason that such events will occur is because the government will be required to enforce the moral approval of homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage.  In the words of Austin Nimock, “moral approval goes well beyond fairness or tolerance.  It requires you to look upon the homosexual behavior of another and say to yourself and others, ‘That’s a good thing.’  Moral approval means that you plan to teach it to your kids as righteous and true, and not just as something that other people do (and then secretly pray that you never find your kids doing)” (Townhall). 

Although President-Elect Obama said that he “does not” support gay marriage and that individual states should settle their own position, it is clear through his previous affirmations and present vows that he has contradicted himself on both of these points. 

Further Food for Thought:

President-Elect Obama and the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA)

From Tolerance to Intolerance:  How the Normalization of Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage WILL LEAD to the Suppression of Freedom

Settling the Issue:  Same-Sex Marriage IS NOT a Civil Right

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Written by Jesse Wisnewski

December 30, 2008 at 6:31 pm

6 Responses

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  1. […] What to Expect from President-Elect Obama on Same-Sex Marriage and Homosexuality in 2009 […]

  2. […] What to Expect from President-Elect Obama on Same-Sex Marriage and Homosexuality in 2009 […]

  3. […] What to Expect from President-Elect Obama on Same-Sex Marriage and Homosexuality in 2009 […]

  4. […] what we can expect from President-Elect Obama on Same-Sex Marriage and Homosexuality in 2009 (click here for the post).  When specifically addressing his position on sexual orientation and gender […]

  5. […] We must also consider where President Obama stands on current marriage protection legislation. […]

  6. I noticed that this is not the first time you mention the topic. Why have you decided to touch it again?

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    April 15, 2009 at 5:44 pm


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