The House is poised to pass the Respect for Marriage Act after the Senate approved it last week 61-36. It purports to make same-sex marriages legal by repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Twelve Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues to push it past the 60-vote threshold necessary for approval. They are Sens. Roy Blunt of Missouri, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Todd Young of Indiana.
However, not only are same-sex marriages already legal, but the bill also goes far beyond merely legalizing such unions. It could impact the religious freedoms guaranteed under the First Amendment and ignores the well-being of minor children.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015) that the 14th Amendment guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry, thus nullifying DOMA.
Therefore, the Heritage Foundation concluded that "the only practical impact of the Respect for Marriage Act would be to put a giant target on the backs of institutions and people of faith."
Emma Waters, research associate at the Heritage Foundation’s Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family, expanded on that.
"The main flaw with the current bill is that it doesn’t provide any affirmative defenses for religious liberty in the text itself," she told Newsmax.
"The bill protects the belief in traditional marriage as a thing that’s worthy of respect, but simply the belief in it is not the issue," Waters explained. "The issue, especially as it comes to legal concerns, is the ability to act or speak or live out those beliefs in meaningful ways."
Including "in your personal life, your public life, or your business, or what have you."
Accordingly, "the current bill protects the right to have those beliefs, but it doesn’t actually, explicitly protect the right to speak and act according to those beliefs."
An amendment was introduced by Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Thom Tillis, R-S.C., that purported to correct the bill’s flaws.
It did not.
So Sen Mike Lee, a Utah Republican and constitutional scholar, introduced another amendment to the Act to protect faith-based people and organizations.
It failed to pass.
A similar amendment, introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., also failed.
As a result, the Respect for Marriage Act "doesn’t provide a single benefit for civilly married same-sex couples that they don’t already have," Waters observed. It only has the possibility of negatively impacting the rights of everyone else.
Waters also addressed what is probably the most problematic issue, and one that most lawmakers are missing — the children.
"What we’re talking about here is not only repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, but then affirming in our national law that children don’t need both a mother and a father," she said.
"The most recent GOP platform affirms that every child has the right to a mother and a father. And yet the 12 Republicans who voted to move the Respect for Marriage Act ahead violated that by saying that a child can be raised by a same-sex couple and that’s perfectly fine," Waters explained.
And indeed, studies have shown that children fare much better in traditional households with the love and protection of both a mother and father.
Waters noted that the problems extend beyond mere single-parent households.
"When it comes to children raised in same-sex homes, or any other family structure besides a married mother-father home, they do far worse emotionally and behaviorally, and even educationally growing up," she said.
"And the outcomes are not equal to say the least."
That would appear to negate a sentiment often made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — to "think of the children" when considering legislation.
"You know, everything I do is about the children," said the California Democrat on MSNBC. Yet Pelosi is a strong proponent of the Respect for Marriage Act.
But what of the 12 GOP senators who voted for the bill and pushed it over the 60-vote filibuster threshold? Waters wouldn’t speculate on their motives, but said "this wasn’t just a disagreement over policy.
"This seems to be a clear and intentional shift at how these Republicans view marriage and gay rights in America. And it seems like these decisions are being made for the sake of an ideology at the expense of the well-being of our children in a way that I think is deeply concerning."
Apparently that "think of the children" sentiment only goes so far.
When it butts heads with a far-left congressional agenda, the kids come out as America’s biggest losers.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.