Cover Story > Cover Story Sidebar

FRC: Define marriage in the U.S. Constitution

Issue: "Unholy matrimony," Feb. 13, 1999

What tactics should conservatives use to counter these? The FRC's Robert Knight says state-level Defense of Marriage Acts are important, even if the federal DOMA law falls.
So far, 28 states have DOMA laws. Utah was the first to pass one, in 1995. The other states are Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington. California will see a ballot initiative in March of 2000.
These laws are important, but they're not unbreachable defenses. State-level DOMA laws will be systematically challenged as soon as one state (in this scenario, Vermont) legalizes same-sex marriage. Even state constitutional amendments (such as the one in Hawaii and those being considered in Mississippi and Oregon) will be challenged, just as Colorado's Amendment 2 was challenged (that was a "no special rights for homosexuals" amendment, passed by voters in 1992, but struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1996). The DOMA laws are "our Maginot Line," says Mr. Knight, referring to the line of defense France established along its border with Germany prior to World War II.
"We can't let ourselves get comfortable, thinking we're well-protected. The Germans simply went around the Maginot Line, through Belgium, and walked right into Paris. Vermont is our Belgium."
Ultimately, the only real defense will be an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, contends Mr. Knight. It must state clearly that marriage must be between one man and one woman.
(Can't be too careful with that wording. One objection to same-sex marriage is that it would open up the door to all kinds of mixed-up matches, such as polygamous unions. Lest anyone think that threat is overstated, the Christmas Eve episode of Ally McBeal had the short-skirted lawyer arguing for legal recognition of a "marriage" of one man and two women.) "I think it's time to seriously pursue such an amendment," Mr. Knight says. "Marriage deserves constitutional status. It wasn't needed 200 years ago, and the founders had no idea the family would come under such a sustained and vicious attack."

We see you’ve been enjoying the content on our exclusive member website. Ready to get unlimited access to all of WORLD’s member content?
Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.
(Don’t worry. It only takes a sec—and you don’t have to give us payment information right now.)

Get your risk-free, 30-Day FREE Trial Membership right now.


You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading


    Power campaigns

    The GOP is fighting to maintain control of Congress…


    Troubling ties

    Under the Clinton State Department, influence from big money…