Opinion

Op-ed: Supreme Court should stay out of Obama's war on marriage

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Opinion,Op-Eds

President Obama and I apparently hold very different views on what comprises a family. Mine remains the Judeo-Christian paradigm that every other major world religion has also prescribed: one man, married to one woman, with so many children as God should see fit to entrust to their care through birth or (as in my own family) adoption.

This model has been sanctioned and favored by secular and even pagan governments for millennia as the most efficient, secure and effective organizational unit of human society. Today it is under assault.

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on constitutional challenges to two legal attempts to protect traditional marriage -- California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Liberals resort to the courts when they know their agenda is not shared by the great majority of Americans. In more than 40 states, the legislatures or even the people themselves have gone on record in support of traditional marriage. DOMA enjoyed huge majorities in both houses of Congress before being signed by President Clinton.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the congressional resolution that established Mother's Day. In the century since, every president (including President Obama) has issued his own statement rightly pointing out, in one way or another, that motherhood is unique, and supplies to any family virtues and nurturing and exemplars that simply cannot be reproduced or supplied by any man. Would any thinking person deny this, or that fatherhood is similarly unique and irreplaceable? Biology, experience and common sense all tell us our presidents are right when they speak of motherhood and fatherhood this way. So do the sacred writings of many faiths.

The Obama administration's brief attacking California's Prop 8 takes the other side. It argues that motherhood is not really all that unique, and that its virtues can actually be supplied by, well, any dude. Ditto fatherhood. But four years before he flip-flopped on homosexual marriage, it was Barack Obama (then a senator) who proclaimed the singular importance of fatherhood: "We know the statistics -- that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it."

Sen. Obama was right; President Obama is dead wrong. Religious beliefs aside, there is overwhelming social science evidence to corroborate the benefits to children of being raised in homes with both a mother and a father. Government has a legitimate and defensible interest in ensuring that, when possible, children conceived by a mother and father are raised by both.

None of that will matter once the nine robed jurists hear these cases. Their lifetime tenure means they can do as they please; they can embrace the collective judgment of strong majorities of the American people, or they can thwart that good judgment, and the clear intentions of our Founding Fathers, as (unfortunately) they have already done so many times before.

I urge justices not to place the selfish desires of adults above the needs of America's children, and thereby reduce holy matrimony to little more than an emotional union. I further beg them to remember the limited role they play in our constitutional system, and to have the humility to subordinate their own notions of political correctness to the clear will of the American people -- and the wisdom of the ages.

Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp represents the 1st District of Kansas. As a state senator, he authored the Kansas Marriage Amendment, which was approved by 70 percent of voters in 2005.

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