Republican strategist Ralph Reed, founder and chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, tells Newsmax that Americans who believe in traditional values of marriage are "under assault" by the government and the courts.
He also asserts that the Supreme Court is an activist court that is legislating from the bench, and says the nation is in the grips of an "immoral legal regime" of abortion on demand.
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Reed is the former head of the Christian Coalition. He founded the Faith & Freedom Coalition in 2009.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, and handed down a ruling on Proposition 8, thereby allowing gay marriage to continue in California.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Wednesday, Reed says he is "profoundly disappointed" by the court's rulings.
"If you look at the ruling in the Defense of Marriage Act, they ruled that the state, not the federal government, should be allowed to define marriage for purposes of that state's customs, laws, and traditions. They ruled the states were more powerful in making this decision than the federal government.
"And in the California marriage case where the state defined marriage as between a man and a woman and a federal district court overturned that ruling, they ruled that that decision would stand.
"It's really a case of jurisprudential incoherence. On the one hand they're saying that state law takes precedence; on the other hand they're [disallowing] a state law – not just any state law but a law in which the people of California voted not once, but twice to keep marriage defined the way it has been defined for over 160 years in California, which is as between a man and a woman."
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Judge Antonin Scalia, in his DOMA dissent, called the Supreme Court's judicial supremacy over Congress and the president "jaw-dropping."
Asked if he is concerned the justices are rewriting American laws or the Constitution itself, Reed responds: "I'm very concerned. This is the same kind of judicial activism that conservatives have been arguing against for decades. It's legislating from the bench.
"The Defense of Marriage Act was passed by a margin large enough to pass the constitutional amendment in both the House and the Senate on a broadly bipartisan basis, and was signed into law by Bill Clinton, a Democrat. Since then, neither party and no one in Congress or in the White House has so much as attempted in any tangible way to modify or repeal that law. The Supreme Court does it in one judicial fiat," Reed says.
"It's been an activist court for decades. Right now there are four conservative votes and four liberal votes. Anthony Kennedy is the swing vote, and in this case he came down on the side of judicial activism," he adds.
Reed says the opposition to gay marriage and the Supreme Court's rulings come from "those who believe the traditional, two-parent household with children present in that home is the social ideal. It is the best for acculturating and socializing children. It is the best progenitor of values. And it is entirely appropriate for public policy at every level of government to protect, defend, and strengthen that family.
"In a free society people are free to live together and love whoever they want, and they do so every day. There are many states, including California, where those of the same sex who want to live together can have a civil union. The only thing we were saying was that public policy should strengthen [traditional marriage], and because of today's court decision, we now know the federal government can't do that," Reed says.
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Reed's Faith & Freedom Coalition and other conservative groups that promote traditional marriage will be pushing Congress to create new laws to protect marriage, he tells Newsmax.
"It's going to be difficult as long as you have a Democratic Senate, but it's possible.When we had our conference in Washington two weeks ago, we had hundreds of activists and pastors and leaders who fanned out all over Capitol Hill and met with their senators and their members of Congress and said look, in the event that we get an adverse decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, we need remedial legislation. We need to do whatever we can to save whatever benefits might be available for marriage as traditionally defined.
"I can't tell you today what form that's going to take. But I can tell you this: When we passed a federal ban on partial birth abortion, initially the Supreme Court struck it down. We went back to the drawing board, we redrew the legislation [and] repassed it; it was re-signed by the president, went back to the court, and it was upheld. So it was possible to do and we're not giving up," Reed tells Newsmax.
As to whether the court's decisions will fire up the conservatives, Reed observes that "they were already fired up. They came out in 2010 in record numbers — 31 percent of the entire vote, the highest ever recorded in an off-year election. In 2012, they turned out at 26 to 27 percent of the electorate."
"They voted against Barack Obama in part because of his extreme social agenda, and they're coming again. And they were going to come regardless of this decision. But what this decision does is, it makes it undeniable that those who believe in these kinds of traditional values — of marriage, of the sanctity of innocent human life, of the foundational importance of the family — they are clearly under assault by their government, by the federal courts, by the media, and they have to stand and fight," Reed says.
This week, the House of Representatives approved the most restrictive abortion bill to come out of Congress in at least a decade.
Asked if he sees this legislation going anywhere, Reed observes: "Not as long as Harry Reid is majority leader of the U.S. Senate, but it was a very important thing to do. It's the first time we've passed a federal ban on later-term abortions, abortions in which the child feels pain in the womb, the point at which many children can survive outside the womb, and if a child can survive outside the womb or can feel pain, they are worthy of protection under our Constitution. We're going to keep coming back and coming back until we get it passed.
"With these late-term abortion bans, we're continuing to work under a very difficult and immoral legal regime of abortion on demand. We are protecting as many lives as we can, saving as many children as we can, and creating what Pope John Paul II called a culture of life."
Addressing the immigration reform legislation in the Senate, Reed said he was "encouraged" by the Senate passage of the Corker-Hoeven Amendment, which adds an additional 20,000 border patrol agents and 700 more miles of fencing along the southern border.
"The thing that we support the most in the Senate bill is giving greater priority to the minor children and the spouses of legal permanent residents of the United States. I'm not talking about second cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers. I'm not talking about chain migration. We need to end that, and this bill does that.
"Having said that, the border security provisions are too weak. I'm hopeful we can get a House bill that can go to conference committee and strengthen this and we can support something on final passage."
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