At first blush, the Respect for Marriage Act seems reasonable and fair—even needful. After all, its decency is in its name. What’s in a name? In this case, everything. When you read the bill, you’ll realize its name smacks of a marketing trick, a Machiavellian ruse.
In truth, the Respect for Marriage Act will federally force respect, not for marriage, but for the redefinition of marriage, created by the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalizing gay marriage .
In their rush to rush to codify gay marriage federally and force states to recognize same-sex marriages, the bill’s backers fundamentally disrespect the institution. Worse, they further fray the tenuous fabric of the family, which will surely hurt children the most.
The Respect for Marriage Act, known as the RFMA, was named and written to assure quick passage before democrats lose the House of Representatives. Its disingenuously clever nomenclature makes it more difficult to vote against. After all, if one does, isn’t he or she disrespecting marriage?
Apparently, 12 republican senators considered this question and chose to support the bill. To be fair, they may actually think the RFMA is fair and needful legislation and that it respects marriage. Does it?
Is marriage respected when one of its most essential functions is removed? If one views marriage as simply a way to seek happiness and not necessarily for procreation and family building, a redefinition makes sense logically, but not practically—or morally.
This is not all the Respect for Marriage Act gets wrong—or right—depending on one’s cultural goals.
The RFMA green lights litigation against virtually anyone who opposes the redefinition of marriage. For example, photographers, cake makers, church leaders, and faith-based nonprofits who refuse to participate in same-sex weddings can be sued despite their conscientious objections.
Concerning nonprofits, those that operate based on traditional marriage values stand to have their tax exempt status revoked for discrimination.
What about states that do not accept any other definition of marriage other than between men and women? When this bill becomes law, they could face federal repercussions because the RFMA requires that all states recognize same-sex marriages regardless of their positions on traditional marriage.
The RFMA also endangers faith-based social-service organizations that work with the federal government. If they challenge provisions of the act in court, the hill to winning their he cases based on religious freedom and free speech will become that much steeper.
Additionally, objections need not be faith-based. A secularist can respect several millennia of precedent for traditional marriage, based on common sense and the complimentary natures of men and women, and consider same-sex marriages far less beneficial to society. Is this disrespect for marriage?
What the RFMA is not
The Respect for Marriage Act is not a codification of Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Supreme Court invented a constitutional “right” to same-sex marriage—as they did for the “right” to abortion in Roe v. Wade.
Backers of the bill portray it as such in order to ensure smooth sailing through the house and senate. They hold that the Obergefell decision settled the argument. It did not. Many Americans, as with Roe v. Wade and abortion, are not in favor of same-sex marriage.
Because the constitutionality of same-sex marriage is founded on a phantom, the issue isn’t any more settled than the right to abortion was. If it is indeed settled, why the rush? The RFMA is being whisked through congress out of fear that the Supreme Court could overturn Obergefell.
Who will suffer most?
Children. Eons of human history bear witness to the essential importance of traditional family for the healthy development of children. Science, common sense and millennia of experience unequivocally show that children do best with fathers and mothers.
The family is vital to any healthy society. Is it any wonder that crime, drug use, poverty, and now gender confusion—virtually any and all relatively recent ills of American culture—stem from the denigration of the family?
The undeniable truth is that a man and woman, designed and created with complimentary strengths, give children the best shot to grow and develop into healthy, happy adults. All one need do to affirm this self-evident truth is to honestly contrast and compare the health of society from decade to decade.
Sadly, the Respect for Marriage Act is a further slide down the slippery slope. It’s dishonest and destructive. A more apt and respectful name would be the Redefinition of Marriage Act.
No matter its name, if the RFMA becomes law, its provisions will endanger those who hold traditional marriage values and deeply hurt families and children. It’s is simply a misguided attempt to ensure “fairness” based on yet another redefinition of an institution that underpins all healthy societies.