Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
An expert on the legal issues of marriage and family is accusing President Obama’s administration of knowingly sabotaging marriage in America by ignoring the foundation for the nation’s laws and instead citing “politically motivated” claims from special interests.
The accusation comes from Mathew D. Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, which advocates for religious and civil rights and traditional American values including those belonging to the Judeo-Christian heritage.
It came in response to this week’s ruling from District Judge Joseph Tauro in Massachusetts that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The ruling now holds in Massachusetts only, but it could be expanded if the decision is upheld on appeal.
Tauro contended, “Congress undertook this classification for the one purpose that lies entirely outside of legislative bounds, to disadvantage a group of which it disapproves. And such a classification the Constitution clearly will not permit.”
Liberty Counsel said the decision came about partly because the Obama administration has deliberately chosen to weaken the arguments for traditional marriage.
The Family Research Council also was critical of Tauro and Obama, for “the [administration's] deliberately weak legal defense of” the act.
Liberty Counsel said Tauro’s characterization of Congress’ decision to define marriage for federal purposes between one man and one woman as an “irrational” desire to “punish” homosexual duos because of “animus” was “unfounded, far-reaching, and should be reversed on appeal.”
The worst part, however, is the “fact that the Obama administration is intentionally sabotaging” the act, Liberty Counsel said.
The organization explained that in arguments submitted by the Obama administration in the case, the government “expressly disavowed the purposes set forth by Congress in passing” the act.
“In particular, the administration stated in a September 2009 memorandum that ‘the government does not rely on certain purported interests set forth in the legislative history of (the Defense of Marriage Act), including the purported interests in “responsible procreation and child-rearing” – that is, the assertions (1) that the government’s interest in “responsible procreation” justifies limiting marriage to a union between one man and one woman and (2) that the government has an interest in promoting the raising of children by both of their biological parents,’” Liberty Counsel said.
“Not only did the administration disavow these important legislative justifications for (the act), but it relied on various politically motivated statements by medical and social-science organizations for the proposition that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as likely to be well-adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents,” Liberty Counsel said. “Having disavowed Congress’s stated purposes for (the act), the administration argued that Congress passed (the act) to maintain the status quo.”
“President Obama has been actively promoting an agenda to undermine the nation’s marriage laws,” said Staver, who also is dean of Liberty University School of Law. “When you weaken the family, as President Obama is doing by his policies, you weaken society. Children fare best when raised with a mom and a dad. Redefining marriage to something it was not intended to be weakens the family and is not in the best interest of children or society. President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder must defend the nation’s marriage laws. The Obama administration must defend (the act), not sabotage the law.”
According to reports by ABC News, in 2004 Obama claimed to support the Defense of Marriage Act, telling independent voters in Illinois that he favored the law.
But shortly later he started complaining how hurtful the law was to his friends.
As a candidate for president Obama called the act “an unnecessary imposition on what had been the traditional rules governing marriage.”
Five states, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts now authorize same-sex “marriage,” mostly by legislative or judicial fiat, but in almost three dozen other states voters have approved state constitutional provisions against it.
Officials in the Justice Department say they have not determined whether Tauro’s decision will be appealed.
An attorney representing supporters of Washington state’s traditional-marriage referendum said he’s confident a lower court will decide to protect their names and addresses.
James Bopp Jr. of the James Madison Center, who represents the Protect Marriage Washington campaign in the dispute, has been trying to protect the 138,000 people who signed Referendum 71 petitions from homosexuals who publicly have stated they want to post personal-contact information on the Internet so activists can find them for “uncomfortable conversations.”
“We’ve got affidavits from more than 60 people who were targeted, harassed. There are newspaper reports of more cases. This seems to be a concerted campaign … to attack and stifle the opposition through harassment,” Bopp told WND in a recent interview.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled it would not issue a blanket ban on the release of signatures on petition documents. The high court, however, explained its decision did not prevent the Washington state petition signers from gaining an exemption from public disclosure at the lower court.
Bopp originally was successful at the district-court level, obtaining an injunction preventing the public disclosure of any petition signatures “because the court found there was a First Amendment right that protects signing these petitions.”
“The evidence of harassment that we submitted regarding the Washington initiative and [California's] Proposition 8 gave sufficient rise to concern that these rights were going to be violated, people chilled from signing petitions,” he said.
Voters rejected the referendum to overturn the legislature’s granting of marriage rights to homosexuals. The homosexual activists then demanded as part of “public records” the names and addresses of citizens who signed petitions to put the issue on the ballot.
The demand generated alarm because of the intimidation that already had occurred in Washington and in California, where some supporters of Proposition 8 suffered egregious attacks. The successful California voter initiative overturned the state Supreme Court’s decision to establish same-sex marriage by amending the constitution to limit marriage to one man and one woman.
“We should fight! We should fight!” screamed one protester as the woman, identified as Phyllis Burgess, stood calmly with a reporter waiting to be interviewed.
Bopp said he’s already documented death threats, vandalism, people losing their jobs and other “quite nasty attacks” on those who advocate for traditional marriage.
He noted that in California, traditional marriage supporters even were targeted on websites that posted maps directing people to their homes.
“Some of the same people that did that in California were the ones who wanted the petition signatures and addresses in Washington,” Bopp said. “They were quite open they were going to post these on the Internet.”
He said the “technique” of intimidation has been effective, causing supporters of traditional marriage to abandon their support.
Bopp said the U.S. Supreme Court did recognize that the First Amendment right to sign petitions could be undermined in certain circumstances by harassment and intimidation.
He said the goal now is to demonstrate to the lower court again that there is a possibility of that kind of retaliation if the names are publicized.
“We believe that we have ample evidence that would justify protecting from disclosure the supporters,” he said.
The district judge hearing the Washington case had ruled in favor of the First Amendment privacy of petition signers, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned it, despite evidence from California’s fight that saw a sport utility vehicle painted with hate messages in front of a Mormon family’s home.
In that dispute, the worst attacks were online. A blog commentator known as “World O Jeff” wrote, “Burn their f—ing churches to the ground, and then tax the charred timbers.”
Another contributor to the website said, “I supported the Vote No, and was vocal to everyone and anyone who would listen, [but] I have never considered being a violent radical extremist for our equal rights. But now I think maybe I should consider becoming one.”
Added another at the time of the California fight, “I swear, I’d murder people with my bare hands this morning.”
Matt Barber, director of cultural affairs for Liberty Counsel, at the time called the statements “hate crimes” for their intent to create violence against someone based on their beliefs.
“This is not just a matter of some people blowing off steam because they’re not happy with a political outcome. This is criminal activity,” he said. “The homosexual lobby is always calling for ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity’ and playing the role of victim. They claim to deplore violence and ‘hate.’ Here we have homosexuals inciting, and directly threatening, violence against Christians.”
Two other comments from another homosexual website: “Can someone in CA please go burn down the Mormon temples there, PLEASE. I mean seriously. DO IT” and “I’m going to give them something to be f—ing scared of. … I’m a radical who is now on a mission to make them all pay for what they’ve done.”
And another: “Remember, I’m angry. And I’m strong from my years at the gym and really am ready to take my frustration out on someone or something.”
Yet another listed the addresses of Mormon facilities: “I do not openly advocate firebombing or vandalism. What you do with the information is your own choice.”