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Running for President While Running from Marriage

At the next presidential debate, some savvy reporter should ask each of the candidates the following question:

“Imagine it is 1857 rather than 2007. The Supreme Court has just released its ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford, upholding slavery. Would you support a federal constitutional amendment to prohibit slavery, or would you leave it to each of the states to decide whether white people can own black people?”

How long would any “top-tier” candidate remain in the top tier if he or she responded with the same lame, “federalism–states rights” response they give to the marriage amendment question?

Somebody needs to ask Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama why the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution, ending slavery and providing constitutional protection for black Americans, don't offend their idea of federalism but a marriage amendment does.

And why does anybody who considers himself qualified to be president of the United States think there's a conflict between amending the U.S. Constitution and preserving states rights?

Congress alone cannot amend the U.S. Constitution. Any amendment passed by two-thirds of Congress needs ratification by three-fourths of the states. The amendment process depends upon and respects state sovereignty.

A federal amendment is the only means to secure the sovereign right of states to define marriage that will withstand usurpation by federal and state judges and acts of Congress and state legislatures.

Do the top-tier tap dancers think the very bedrock of civilization isn't worthy of constitutional protection? The media need to make them take a clear position on whether marriage should be limited to one man and one woman.

In the 19th century, Congress was so concerned about preserving the institution of marriage from bigamy, one of the “twin relics of barbarism” along with slavery, that it enacted statutes that made bigamy a federal felony, denied statehood to federal territories that permitted bigamy, denied public office and jury service to bigamists, and disenfranchised and denied the right to vote to anyone who was a bigamist, polygamist or living in unlawful cohabitation with more than one person.

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to a statute for the territory of Utah that conditioned the right of suffrage on prohibiting bigamy. In Murphy v. Ramsey (1885), the Court reasoned:

For certainly no legislation can be supposed more wholesome and necessary in the founding of a free, self-governing commonwealth, fit to take rank as one of the coordinate States of the Union, than that which seeks to establish it on the basis of the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guaranty of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement.

Some might say that Congress acted with a very heavy hand when it conditioned a territory's fitness to become a state on its marriage law, and denied those who practiced polygamy a right to participate in any political process by disenfranchising them, not just on the issue of marriage, but on all issues in all elections. As a result, Utah made bigamy and polygamy illegal in 1896 in order to be admitted to the Union.

There is nothing heavy-handed, however, about amending the federal Constitution to protect the institution of marriage from the perversion of allowing two men or two women to marry. Those who support a federal amendment to preserve marriage are facilitating the right of the state legislatures to express their sovereign will by voting on the amendment. The federal territorial statutes effectively eliminated such a choice in Utah.

As predicted, the press for legalizing homosexual marriage has resurrected the push for legalizing polygamy. Both make a mockery of the “holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization.”

The enemies of America are plotting its destruction. History teaches that great civilizations like Rome collapsed from within because their foundations were destroyed by their own moral decay. It will happen to us unless we heed the admonition of the One who established the marriage union.

“When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3. “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Hebrews 13:5.

Any Presidential candidate unwilling to support a constitutional amendment to preserve “the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony” doesn't belong in the race.  The media is responsible for letting us know where the candidates really stand.

Jan LaRue, Esq. is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Culture and Media Institute.