True Marriage. True Freedom

Dallas Morning News Op-ed, Sunday June 15, 2008

The California Supreme Court recently ruled that people now have a right to marry, a “fundamental constitutional right” (stated nowhere in the state’s constitution) “to form a family relationship” with whom one desires. Polygamy would be protected under that definition.


This outrageous display of judicial activism – by four justices who disagreed with the vote of 4.6 million Californians – means anarchy rules California. And its chaos is about to be transported nationwide.


Thirteen state attorneys general, including Texas’ Greg Abbott, immediately asked the California court to stay the proceeding to avert the bedlam. Stay denied.


People from any state will now be able to get “married” in California under these four judges’ expansive redefinition and then demand recognition back home, bringing chaos in the courts and law in each state. New York’s Governor has already ordered all state employees to recognize this new marriage definition in his state, despite state law to the contrary.


And you can be certain that this forced morality will not stop at marriage. Colorado’s governor just signed into law an anti-discrimination bill covering the “transgenered.” Businesses who object to a man, who feels like a woman, using the women’s restroom are fined. No, I’m not kidding.


What is one to do with this coming chaos?  Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher, in a thoughtful piece two weeks ago, says that society is now embued with hyper-individualism, that youths are lost on the issue and that societal collapse will result. He thus encourages conservatives to retreat on this issue, to preserve traditional mores and religious freedom for the future.


I agree that our society is highly individualistic and that rejection of traditional marriage has severe consequences. But California voters had already addressed this concern – by allowing gay and lesbian couples to form sexual and committed relationships under their existing law. When that wasn’t good enough for a few dissenters, they asked the courts to overturn the people’s vote and redefine marriage for everyone else.


The truth is that the movement is inherently anti-freedom – both of religion and conscience. People come to their beliefs about sexual conduct and morality through their religious frame of reference – whether that is Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist or any other belief. For the government to tell people what beliefs they may and may not have regarding sexual morality is a direct attack on religious freedom and freedom of conscience.


“Sexual orientation” and “transgender” laws are exactly that. The government now will tell you your morality. Even if an exemption is provided for houses of worship, none is provided for religious individuals. Why?  That would nullify the law.


And that proves my point: These laws have an inverse relationship with freedom. Ask Elaine Huguenin. The New Mexico wedding photographer was brought before the state’s Human Rights Commission when she declined to shoot a lesbian commitment ceremony. The commission ruled in the couple’s favor, and Ms. Huguenin was forced to pay more than $6,600 in penalties.


So much for freedom of conscience.


Indeed, the very methods used by those trying to foist this redefinition of marriage reveal the movement’s opposition to true freedom. This argument was not won through the exchange of ideas and a search for truth in the democratic process. Instead, four activist judges overturned the vote of more than 4.6 million Californians – with the hope to force it on the entire country.


Marriage is between a man and a woman. Children deserve a mom and a dad. I don’t think now is the time to retreat. It is the time to speak up and to stand. Freedom is too important – and so is marriage, the foundation of our society.


Kelly Shackelford is president of the Free Market Foundation, “protecting freedoms, strengthening families” based in Plano.  Email him at



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: