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  • Writer's pictureShane Caraway

The Respect For Marriage Act Isn't

The so-called Respect for Marriage Act, or H.R. 8404, markets itself as a dual-pronged defense for marriage between homosexual and interracial couples. Neither of these practices are currently under threat. The entire premise for the Act is an utter and complete falsehood. The bill is simply another weapon in an ever-expanding aresenal of administrative state overreach and political regulation.

The alleged impetus for this Act was the opinion delivered by Justice Clarence Thomas in the Dobbs decision in June of 2022. In his opinion, Justice Thomas challenged the judicial doctrine of “substantive due process” that allowed the courts to function as de facto legislative bodies. Substantive due process—which ignores the text of laws and especially Constitutional formalism—He did not call for the reversal of Obergefell (2015), the decision that legalized same-sex marriage, nor did he call for the reversal of Loving v. Virginia (1967) that provided formal recognition for interracial marriage. While some have insinuated that Justice Thomas’ omission of Loving from his opinion was predicated on nefarious self-interest, himself married to his wife, Ginny Thomas, definable as an interracial union. In reality, Justice Thomas did not mention the Loving decision because it was not relevant or applicable; contrary to Democrat propagandists, “race” and sexual or gender identification are not fungible or relative no matter how often and how hard they beat their beloved drum of false equivalency. The history, design, and purpose of the Reconstruction Amendments justifies Federal action to defend interracial marriage; no such justification exists for homosexual unions.

That interracial and gay marriage is not under assault because of Justice Thomas’ opinion is a fact readily demonstrated by the RMA’s omission. In his decision, Justice Thomas challenged the application of substantive due process in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) and Lawrence v. Texas (2003) that dealt with a presumed right to contraceptives by married couples and the right to engage in private sexual activity. If Thomas’ opinion filled Democrats—and some New Whig Republicans—with the urgency to protect his referenced cases through legislation, they completely ignored both of these. Of course, a single quotation from the opinion renders these false, sensationalist concerns irrelevant: “The Court today declines to disturb substantive due process jurisprudence generally or the doctrine’s application in other, specific contexts. Cases like Griswold v. ConnecticutLawrence v. Texas…and Obergefell v. Hodges…are not at issue.” He clarified further that the court’s abortion cases were “unique” and not otherwise applicable to prior decisions. Instead, Justice Thomas’ arguments implied that those decisions should grounded on steadier ground than the dreaded “substantive due process” that defended slavery in Dred Scott (1857).

Recognizing then that the premise for the proposed Act is either the product of malicious, selective sensationalism or profound ignorance, the Act itself is a Trojan Horse for a litany of liberty-crushing avenues for the administrative state, including the Democrat-expanded IRS and their additional 87,000 agents.

The Act allows the government to impose physical boundaries on the free exercise of religion. Feeble attempts to protect religious liberty—including amendments in Section 6a and 6b—are wholly insufficient, vague, and contrary to individual civil liberties. Religious liberty is effectively redefined under this Act was a subjective category subordinate to the whims of Federal authority. Individuals are completely ignored with only a basic nod to organizations.

Far from offering protections, the Act could be used to file civil lawsuits against any faith-based organization that does not “recognize” homosexual marriage. The Act allows for the revocation of non-profits status for any institution that exercise their religious liberty. Any non-profit that evinces any viewpoint contrary to gay marriage could be redefined by the IRS as non-“charitable” and thus not legally able to receive 501c3 status. It is not a coincidence that a vast majority of such organizations are aligned against the Leftist political ambitions of the Democratic party; this Act allows them an additional avenue to indirectly assault their political opposition by targeting their community outreach institutions. The IRS was once used to great effect to target the political opponents of the Obama regime under the knowing guidance of Lois Lerner; this Act provides an environment where much of the same can be pursued under legislation.

It also adds new weapons to the ongoing Leftist permeation into cultural issues, a program identical to Gramscian or cultural Marxism. Through this Act, litigation is made possible against any adoption or social service agencies that exclude same-sex couples, continuing the erosion of the nuclear family.

Religious schools would also be targetable. Thus, any school that might dare to prioritize math or English, two areas where American students are failing horribly on the world stage, could be subject to litigation for omitting LGTBQ alphabet curriculum. That this Act will be expanded or interpreted to apply to transgender militantism is all but guaranteed. Transgenders latch onto the homosexual movement that has had its teeth sunk deep into the flesh of the civil rights movement for decades. One need look no further than the Respect for Marriage Act to see this parasitism on full display.

The ambiguity of the language and its potential (inevitable?) outcomes were best expressed by President Joe Biden in a Tweet that he did not write but nonetheless donned his official account: “Love is love and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love. Today’s bipartisan Senate vote gets us closer to protecting that right. The Respect for Marriage Act protects all couples under law – I urge Congress to send the bill to my desk so I can make it law.” The text of the Act draws on this same arbitrary subjectivism. Marriage is defined as any “marriage [that] is valid in the State where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any State, if the marriage is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a State.”

According to this language, any state the defined marriage between multiple people (polygamy), incestuous marriage, or marriage between an adult and a child would be Federally recognized as a legally-binding union and contract. Federal force and coercion would be used to compel all other states in the Union to recognize them also. Any marriage law in one state is thus applicable to every other state regardless of the will of its citizens. Legislators in California are thus enabled to enact marriage legislation in Oklahoma by proxy through the Federal government.

But, as our esteemed President Biden so articulately explained: “Love is love.”

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