The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Marriage: Where did the right come from?

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In today’s edition of the Charleston Gazette, the editors once-again spill a considerable amount of ink on the topic of same-sex “marriage.”  Let me quote to you the latest barb shot at people like you and me who arrive at our understanding of the definition of marriage from a Judeo-Christian worldview:

Currently, some gay-hating fundamentalists want to change West Virginia’s constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage. . . . Undoubtedly, Bible Belt hostility to gays would be strong enough to pass an amendment and revise the state constitution.  However, this is another type of personal freedom that ultimately won’t be decided by voters. . . . Holding an election to resist inevitable cultural change is a waste of time.  Elections don’t decide personal freedoms, in the long run. [emphasis added]

If you want, you can read the rest of the Gazette’s editorial here.  And read my guest editorial that the Gazette has thus far refused to print.

I quickly recognize that this name-calling is merely a symptom of a clash of worldviews, but the Gazette is right about one thing: “Elections don’t decide personal freedoms.”  But they are wrong to conclude that marriage is  cultural, that it is an “inevitable” change, and most assuredly they are wrong that self-governance would be “a waste of time.”

Personal freedoms aren’t decided by elections.  That was settled long ago when, in the words of our Declaration of Independence, our rights – personal and otherwise – were “endowed” to us (not government) “by our Creator.”  Don’t miss the depth of that common quote.  You see if you believe, as the Gazette appears to, that the government by stroke of the judicial pen or vote of the legislator can create personal rights and freedoms, then that same government can quickly remove them as well.

But if you believe, as I do, that personal rights and freedoms were given “by our Creator” to you and me individually, then the only being that can remove those rights is “our Creator.”  The genius of this great American experiment in self-governance is that the citizens of the United States hold all the rights.  Some of those rights we have given to a central agency to govern, but even those, we never fully relinquished.  In fact, it is by the use of the electoral process and participation in an open form of government that we have the ability to steward those rights first entrusted to us by God himself.

Viewed in that light, the only legitimate body to decide the definition of marriage that we consent to be governed by is the people of these United State – specifically, West Virginia voters.  Recall the words from Article I, Section 2-2 of Constitution of the State of West Virginia, “The powers of government reside in all the citizens of the state and can be rightfully exercised only with their will and appointment.”

The Gazette suggests that this change is inevitable.  It is not.  Thirty (30) states have allowed voters settle the legal definition of marriage in their states.  Still, it is clear from the experience of several states that there is a coordinated effort to redefine marriage nationwide.

West Virginia is no exception.  Fairness West Virginia and the ACLU of West Virginia is working to counter our efforts to let the people vote on the definition of marriage.  Two days after the legislative hearing on marriage, the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest same-sex lobbying arm – explained on their blog, HRC Back Story, that they were working closely with Fairness West Virginia to redefine marriage.  They proudly said“HRC worked with Fairness West Virginia on preparing testimony, including providing background research and message development.”

In other words, we were right when we suggested that there is a nationwide effort to redefine marriage and that effort has West Virginia targeted.  No doubt, we can expect multiple millions of dollars to infuse Fairness West Virginia and the ACLU of WV in the coming months by those who would redefine marriage – just like the $294,000 recently invested by such groups in Vermont.  (Interesting note: Vermont Freedom to Marry spent $294,286 to purchase the legislative redefinition of marriage in Vermont.  The combined total expenditures by traditional marriage proponents spent a mere $41,769.  I did the math for you, pro-marriage groups were outspent by $252,517.)

Thankfully, the Family Policy Council of West Virginia is advancing, defending, and equipping West Virginia’s families.  We are meeting Fairness West Virginia and the ACLU head-on in this battle for marriage in West Virginia.  Through your calls and emails to our state legislature and our continued presence in the press, at the legislature, and online, we form an invaluable, and formidable, partnership for marriage in West Virginia.

There’s an old saying in the law, “When you case is strong on the facts, pound the facts.  When it’s strong on the law, pound the law.  When it’s strong on neither, pound the table.”

The Gazette appears to be pounding the table.

Register for the Family Policy Council of West Virginia’s upcoming “Family Dinner” held at Stonewall on August 15. Click here to register online.


Written by Jeremy Dys

July 29, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Posted in Marriage

Tagged with , , ,

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