Opinion

Op-ed: 'Powerless' claim of gay-marriage advocates is dishonest

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Opinion,Op-Eds

In their recently filed brief before the U.S. Supreme Court, advocates for redefining marriage argued that "gay men and lesbians are a suspect class" and thus need special judicial protection of the "politically powerless."

But making claims to be a minority in need of special judicial protection while simultaneously enjoying the patronage of some of our country's most powerful people, corporations and political entities is disingenuous.

For instance, the 2012 Democratic Party platform embraced same-sex marriage and called for its legalization. Numerous speeches at the convention highlighted that commitment, and most Democrats in politics today support the redefinition of marriage.

They control the White House, the U.S. Senate and many governor's mansions and legislative chambers across the country. But more than that, many of them, including the president of the United States, have determined that promoting same-sex marriage is politically beneficial.

Some of President Obama's most supportive undertakings include directing the Department of Justice to not only refuse to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act, but to file a brief with the Supreme Court arguing for its unconstitutionality. This kind of political backing can hardly be said to make a group "politically powerless."

During his second inaugural address, the president again publicly stated his support for the redefinition of marriage, going so far as to elevate the effort to redefine marriage to the level of the civil rights movement.

This is an unfortunate comparison because the continued endeavor to parallel these two movements in fact only underscores just how dissimilar they are, particularly the treatment each movement received by those in power.

Unlike African-Americans, who struggled for full recognition and participation in society, homosexual activists and their goals are lionized by practically every powerful cultural institution and center of wealth in America today.

Their political and social war chest -- which includes the backing of Fortune 500 companies and other well-known businesses, politicians and celebrities -- is a far cry from the batons, fire hoses and tear gas that black Americans faced.

And just recently, one activist group's email in support of redefining marriage noted that the voices of those who have affirmed their position "nationwide are growing stronger and stronger."

The email unwittingly provides additional, powerful examples that negate the claim of "powerlessness" and "discrimination," including the support proponents of redefining marriage have from "over 130 prominent Republicans" and "100 American companies, including Apple, Estee Lauder, Facebook, Nike, Tiffany & Co. and Xerox."

And beyond all the political, moral and financial support, those in favor of redefining marriage were victorious at the ballot box in four states in November, further demonstrating that they are capable of winning political battles without special judicial protection.

In light of these examples of political ability and backing, telling the Supreme Court that people engaged in homosexual behavior are a powerless minority in need of special protection from the judiciary is dishonest.

In the ongoing discussion about what marriage is, let's at least approach the debate honestly.

Kellie Fiedorek is litigation counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, a nonprofit legal organization that advocates traditional marriage.

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