Time to Amend

Next week the House of Representatives will be voting on the Marriage Protection Amendment, which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. Our opponents say there is no need for this amendment because the states will do it, and they cite last week’s New York Court of Appeals decision supporting heterosexual marriage as evidence. Well, they’re wrong. Yes, the Court of Appeals in New York did uphold New York’s law limiting marriage to one man and one woman. But in holding that there was a “rational basis” for this, the New York court is swimming against the tide of recent Supreme Court decisions in the area of gay rights. This “tide” makes it virtually certain that when state statutes or constitutional provisions barring gay “marriage” reach the Supreme Court, they will be struck down. Let me tell you why: In Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992, Justice Kennedy affirmed the right of abortion by defining “liberty” as the right to “define one’s own concept of existence, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” As Justice Scalia noted in his dissent, such a definition could embrace anything. Scalia is right. In Romer v. Evans a few years later, the Court struck down a democratically enacted referendum in Colorado denying special civil rights based on sexual orientation. Kennedy rejected the idea that there could be a “rational basis” for such a provision. Instead, he wrote that the vote was the product of “animus,” that is, bigotry, against homosexuals. Then in 2003 in Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law banning sodomy. In his majority opinion, Justice Kennedy again, instead of making a straightforward equal protection argument, cited his opinions in Casey and Romer. He ruled that in legislating against homosexual behavior, the state was guilty of bigotry or prejudice. Once again Justice Scalia in dissent pointed out where Kennedy’s logic would lead us: “Today’s opinion,” he said, “dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted the distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions . . . ” He argued that Lawrence effectively outlawed all legislation concerning morality. If you take Kennedy and Scalia seriously—as we must—we have to conclude that the Supreme Court will declare any law restricting the right of homosexuals to marry unconstitutional. It can’t rule otherwise, not without disregarding its own precedents. There’s already a Nebraska case making its way through federal courts in which a judge threw out a statute banning gay “marriage.” Within two years this will be at the Supreme Court, which has already shown that it dismisses state judgments on matters like this. This is why this House vote is so important. Yes, we lost in the Senate, but we have to keep going to show our leaders that we are serious about protecting the sanctity of traditional marriage. We need to let them know that, like William Wilberforce in his campaign against slavery, which took twenty years, we are in this battle for the long haul. Those who thought that the Senate’s action was the last word on the subject couldn’t be more wrong. Call your congressman today please. Tell him how strongly you feel about protecting traditional marriage—then urge him to vote for the Marriage Protection Amendment. You can find his phone number below, along with information about the amendment. Take action: Call your representative today and urge him or her to vote FOR the Marriage Protection Amendment. The vote is expected to take place next week. The Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121, or learn your representative’s direct line by visiting  
For Further Reading and Information
  Today’s BreakPoint offer: Call 1-877-322-5527 to request the free Marriage Amendment Information Packet, which is filled with articles, fact sheets, and booklets to help you articulate a winsome defense in favor of traditional marriage and passing the Marriage Protection Amendment. Anemona Hartocollis, “New York Judges Reject Any Right to Gay Marriage,” New York Times, 7 July 2006. “Excerpts from the Ruling,” from the majority opinion written by Judge Robert S. Smith, New York Times, 6 July 2006. BreakPoint Commentary No. 060605, “The Die Is Cast: Why We Need a Constitutional Amendment.” Roger Severino, “Good Fences: Marriage and Religious Freedom,” BreakPoint WorldView, June 2006. Read more articles and commentaries on BreakPoint’s marriage debate page.


Chuck Colson



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