Project 21 New Visions

 

Niger Innis

Obama Can Protect or Destroy Marriage


by Niger Innis (bio)

President Barack Obama's personal triumph over the generational legacy of black broken homes has the power - by virtue of example - to heal and strengthen marriage in America.

But the nation's first black president could allow great harm to be inflicted upon the future of marriage by aligning himself with those who falsely invoke the legacy of "civil rights" to radically redefine marriage.

An emboldened, radical congressional leadership and its allies in the media are pushing President Obama to help repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) - the legal underpinning of state marriage amendments hat have been approved by voters in 30 states.

In the absence of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, DOMA provides federal statutory protection against activists seeing to use the federal courts to force destructive judicial decisions on the public in states such as Connecticut and Massachusetts.

This statutory protection is now more important than ever, as witnessed by the rapacious lawsuits of radical activists in California.  Without DOMA at the federal level, state marriage laws stand to be overturned by activist federal judges.

In May 2008, for example, the California Supreme Court used a civil rights argument to void the votes of 4.6 million Californians who democratically approved Proposition 22 - California's DOMA - in 2000.

In response to this egregious act of four judges overruling more than 4 million voters, Californians passed a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in November of 2008.  The amendment, known as Proposition 8, passed with over 70 percent of the African-American community voting to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

But, like the movie "Groundhog Day," the very same four judges who voided Proposition 22 last May will similarly decide the fate for Proposition 8.  Throwing out the will of the people on marriage a second time would surely mark the beginning of the end for democracy in America.

The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), one of America's "Big Four" historic civil rights groups, believes the most important fundamental freedoms is the peoples' right to govern themselves.  Once this simple ideal is realized, other necessary freedoms will manifest themselves.

Abolishing the right of the people to govern themselves - such as voting - is only a first step toward destroying civil rights.  Because, wherever marriage has been redefined, freedom of religion, association and conscience are similarly being trampled upon in the name of a brave new social, cultural and legal norm that denies the importance of mothers and fathers in a child's life.

When a Massachusetts court created "same-sex" marriage, Catholic Charities in Boston was forced to shut down its adoption services program because it refused to alter the program's 100-year-old mission of placing children in homes with both a mother and father.

This Massachusetts case is simply a taste of what may happen everywhere - with or without state constitutional amendments - if the federal DOMA falls.

That's why the Congress of Racial Equality has partnered with the Alliance for Marriage to launch ProtectDOMA.org - to protect marriage for the future of our children and grandchildren.

While concerns over the state of the economy may cause some to ignore the battle to preserve the federal DOMA, its outcome will undoubtedly leave a legacy for future generations well beyond the nation's financial meltdown.

Western Europe's wholesale embrace of a radical cultural chic - and its simultaneous rejection of traditional marriage - has led to the demographic crisis in which it is currently embroiled.  Europe's population is expected to decrease from 728 million now to 658 million by 2050 due to declining birth rates.  The strain this trend will have on its largesse social welfare system and economy is overwhelming.

President Obama truly stands at a crossroads.  Rather than destroy marriage, he can be its great protector.  At the moment, however, it may be America's job to convince him of what is right.

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Niger Innis is a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network, advisory board member of Alliance for Marriage and national spokesperson for the Congress of Racial Equality.  Comments may be sent to [email protected].

Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21 or the National Center for Public Policy Research.


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